There have been myriad of interesting things that have transpired for the Baltimore Ravens since the offseason began, but one of the more under-the-radar moves has been Pernell McPhee‘s transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. McPhee, a fifth-round draft pick from Mississippi State in 2011, finished strong as a rookie with six sacks (second-most on the team), two defended passes and a forced fumble. He struggled with injuries throughout his sophomore year, however, totaling only one and a half sacks in twelve games.
Despite his poor play during the regular season, McPhee delivered several big plays in the Baltimore’s postseason run to Super Bowl XLVII. He sacked Peyton Manning and forced a fumble in the Ravens’ double-overtime win against the Denver Broncos in the Divisional round. He then tipped two of Tom Brady‘s passes — one of which resulted in an interception — the following week in the AFC Conference Championship.
Now with a Super Bowl ring on his finger, a trimmer physique and the 2013 season ahead of him, McPhee has a new role on his team: rush outside linebacker. While it may seem a puzzling move to some, it makes a lot of sense and could ultimately prove to be a better fit for the 6-foot-3, 280-pound defender. Though his ability to disrupt the quarterback is clearly one of his strengths, tackling has never been something he has excelled at. He posted 23 tackles his rookie year, just two more than his disappointing sophomore campaign.
Although McPhee will be behind Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil on the depth chart, he’s sure to see some pass-rushing action and make an impact in Dean Pees‘ blitz-happy defense.