Baltimore Ravens’ defensive end Brent Urban became the 17th and latest player to be placed on injured reserve. With the Ravens’ luxury of having an excess of talent on the defensive line, who should replace the third year player and first year starter?
Urban suffered a Lisfranc fracture last Sunday in that laughing stock of a blowout to the Jacksonville Jaguars that still depresses me. A Lisfranc fracture is where one or more of the metatarsal bones in the foot are displaced from the tarsus. Head coach John Harbaugh has said this is a type of injury that takes a long time to recover from, so sadly we will not see Urban until the 2018 season.
The two players who have the most chance in replacing Urban are second year man Bronson Kaufusi and rookie Chris Wormley. Both players have been healthy scratches for the first three weeks, but both could get playing time this Sunday against Pittsburgh. Kaufusi, who broke his ankle in training camp last preseason, came back bigger and stronger and had coaches rave about his high motor, talent, and work ethic. Kaufusi was in the running for the starting defensive end position, but Urban played out of his mind to win the spot.
Wormley, the rookie defensive tackle out of Michigan is also a candidate for the spot. Although he is a tackle and not a defensive end, Wormley was compared to 2016 starting defensive end Lawrence Guy but better. Guy was a one of those players that played just good enough that if he did not play, it would affect the line but not greatly. Wormley is behind both Brandon Williams and Willie Henry on the depth chart at defensive tackle, so depending on how healthy Williams is, he may get some snaps at the tackle position.
If I had to choose, I would play both, but have Kaufusi get more snaps. Keep Wormley fresh enough just in case something happens at the defensive tackle spot and let Kaufusi finally have his NFL debut. The Ravens had high expectations for Kaufusi when they drafted him in the third round, and what better way to start your career than in the NFL’s best rivalry.