Florida State's Tank Carradine is one of 2013 NFL draft's many interesting pass rushers

April 18, 2013|By Matt Vensel

The Ravens replaced pass rusher Paul Kruger with a three-time Pro Bowler in Elvis Dumervil. They are open to trying out defensive end Pernell McPhee at rush linebacker. Courtney Upshaw could improve his pass-rushing prowess before his second NFL season. And Terrell Suggs should have four fully-functioning limbs this fall.

Will that keep the Ravens from drafting another pass rusher next week, possibly even with an early pick?

This draft class boasts a mysterious but talented group of edge rushers, led by LSU’s Barkevious Mingo, Oregon’s Dion Jordan, Florida State’s Bjoern Werner, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, and BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah.

Another pass rusher who could be selected in the first round will hold his pro day Saturday. That is Florida State’s Tank Carradine, who has been rehabbing since tearing his ACL in November.

Carradine is on the radar of the Ravens, who hosted him for a visit last month even though he wasn’t at full strength.

Before making that visit, he told my colleague Aaron Wilson in a phone interview that he would “feel great” about joining a loaded outside linebacker group that included Suggs and Dumervil.

"I would fit right in with those guys because they're impact players,” the 24-year-old Cincinnati native said. “I can be that guy who has ability and can learn from those guys and bring a lot to the table.”

After recording 5.5 sacks in his junior year, Carradine had a breakout senior season. He racked up 11 sacks in 11 games, including one and a half in a blowout win over Maryland the week before he blew out his knee against Florida.

The injury likely hurt Carradine’s draft stock, but not too much. He is considered a first-round or second-round prospect and a team picking before the Ravens at No. 32 could bet on his potential.

"Tank is interesting. If he was 100 percent healthy and didn't get hurt at the end of the year, I think we're talking about someone who is more than likely a top-15 pick,” NFL Network Daniel Jeremiah told me two weeks ago. “And I wouldn't be shocked if he still doesn't end up being a top-15 or a top-20 pick.”

Jeremiah likes Carradine’s size (he is 6-foot-4 and 276 pounds), his arm length (just under 35 inches) and says he has natural pass-rush abilities. Carradine also pounded out 32 bench press reps at Florida State's pro day (that's all he did there).

“I like him. I gave him the same grade I gave Werner, but Tank is bigger, stronger and a better run defender,” Jeremiah said. “Werner's maybe got a little more juice getting off the line as a pass rusher. They're both very good players, but I wouldn't be shocked if Carradine ended up going before his teammate."

The other edge rushers I mentioned above are expected to be long gone by the end of the first round next Thursday. But Carradine could still be there -- and maybe he will be among the top-rated players remaining on the Ravens’ draft board.

Right now, Carradine could be considered a luxury for the Ravens with Dumervil on board and Suggs back to being himself. But as we learned last season when Suggs was working his way back from a torn Achilles, you can never have too many pass rushers.

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