Massive nose tackle Terrence Cody from Alabama was the Ravens' second pick (57th overall) on Friday night, a move that places a 354-pound anchor in the middle of the team's vaunted defense and solidifies a run defense that uncharacteristically lapsed at times last season.
Pairing Cody with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata should cause concern for NFL running backs, but it caused elation in the Ravens' draft room. Some believed Cody could have been the Ravens' choice in the first round.
Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said before the draft that Cody is a first-round prospect "from an ability standpoint."
"He's a guy who is a force on first and second downs," DeCosta said earlier this month. "He's the kind of guy Baltimore has typically played with on their defensive line. He's got the right demeanor. It wouldn't shock me at all if he gets picked in the first round."
Cody, who recently visited the Ravens, is expected to compete against Kelley Gregg for the starting nose tackle spot. This could be a time to make a transition away from Gregg, a starter for the past nine seasons who is 33 and had surgeries (knee and shoulder) the past two seasons. At the very least, Cody provides depth to a line that lost Justin Bannan, who signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent.
Another reason why Cody was undervalued is because of his limitations. A nonfactor as a pass rusher, he would only play on first and second downs.
The concern for most teams is Cody's weight (which ballooned to 400 pounds during his community college days). He reported to the Senior Bowl in January at 370 pounds and then weighed in at the NFL Combine in February at 354 pounds. At his Pro Day last month, he was 348 pounds. Cody, though, has athleticism for a nose tackle and claims he can dunk a basketball.
But Cody makes sense even for a defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards per carry (3.4) last season. The Ravens allowed three 100-yard rushers (Cincinnati's Cedric Benson twice and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson) after not allowing one in 39 straight games.