As the Baltimore Ravens’ second-round draft pick in 2010, things haven’t panned out as expected for Terrence Cody. "Mount Cody" was supposed to replace Kelly Gregg as a behemoth anchoring the Ravens defensive line for the foreseeable future, but his dominance at Alabama has yet to translate to the pros.
Last season he lost his starting job to a 33-year-old Ma’ake Kemoeatu, but both Kemoeatu and Cody were manhandled by opposing offensive lines.
Perhaps his poor play can be attributed to nagging injuries, and he recently underwent hip surgery in April. Perhaps he’s just not up to the task of being a starting nose tackle in the NFL.
Regardless, the Baltimore Ravens will not wait much longer to figure out why he hasn’t blossomed into a dominant defensive force alongside Haloti Ngata. Cody’s rookie contract expires at the end of this season, and if he doesn’t pick up his play, the Ravens may not bring him back to Baltimore.
GM Ozzie Newsome added a number of players who should improve the defensive line considerably. Chris Canty had a phenomenal training camp, and it looks like he will get a ton of playing time. The Ravens also signed veteran Marcus Spears to be a run-stuffing presence.
In addition, the Ravens spent a third-round pick on Brandon Williams, a Division II nose tackle who is eager to prove that he belongs on the big stage.
The defensive line has been transformed from a liability to the strength of the defense. The unit is so deep that Cody may wind up being the odd man out.
His two main competitors at nose tackle are Ngata and Williams. Ngata is so versatile that he can line up at all three spots on the 3-4 defensive front, but he prefers to play on the inside of the line. The newly acquired depth should allow Ngata to spend more time at his preferred position, but defensive coordinator Dean Pees likes to mix up his schemes, and Ngata will still get snaps at the other positions.
Ultimately, Cody’s future may be dependent on the development of Williams. Williams played Division II football due to academic reasons, and he has more than enough talent to make it in the NFL. He is also a much bigger threat to rush the passer than Cody, which will give him an edge in passing situations.
Hopefully Cody develops into what the Baltimore Ravens thought he would become. If he doesn’t, however, the Ravens have other options to turn to. If he wants to stay in Baltimore, Cody will need to turn in an impressive season that showcases his ability to plug up running lanes and control the line of scrimmage.