PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
Following his first rookie minicamp last weekend, Ravens top draft pick Courtney Upshaw told reporters that he wants to drop a little weight before the start of the season.
“I definitely will be going down,” Upshaw said. “Just getting myself prepared is the reason why I want to get down.”
The 6-foot-2 outside linebacker played last season at 272 pounds, which is about what he weighs right now. He would like to lose about 5-10 pounds.
He feels like he’s in good condition, but trimming some weight could also give him a little more speed and flexibility that he’ll need to make the transition to the NFL.
“I’ve been running well and maintaining throughout practice, but it’s just something where I feel I’d be able to move better, cut, turn and run with receivers, tight ends and running backs,” Upshaw said. “This is a fast league. In college you got guys that you can run with, but here it’s a whole other level.”
Upshaw played the rush linebacker position last year at Alabama, which is similar to what Terrell Suggs plays for the Ravens. With Suggs likely to miss time because of an Achilles tendon injury, Upshaw could move into that role, where he’ll need the speed to get past offensive lineman.
Suggs (6-foot-3) played last season at about 260 pounds.
The other possibility for Upshaw is to play the SAM linebacker position on the opposite side, which Jarret Johnson (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) played last season. In that role, Upshaw would have to drop into pass coverage at times, so losing the weight could help give him the speed to run with tight ends and running backs.
Overall, he’s not looking for any drastic change, but just wants to put himself in the best condition to compete for a starting job this fall.
“It’s something I want,” Upshaw said. “It’s definitely to be in better shape. I don’t want to be a slack in the defense. I want to be 100 percent.”