Can nose tackle Brandon Williams follow a path to the Pro Bowl similar to former Ravens star Haloti Ngata?
Williams is entering his fourth NFL season. Ngata was in his fourth season when he made the first of five Pro Bowls with the Ravens.
When the Ravens traded Ngata to Detroit in 2015, they did so confident that Williams would step up his game. Williams did exactly that, and many believe he was the team’s best defensive player last year, often facing two blockers at once, but still excelling as one of the NFL’s best run-stoppers.
With the Pro Bowl moving to Orlando from Hawaii next season, can Williams make the leap from solid player to Pro Bowler? It won’t be easy.
There is tough Pro Bowl competition for Williams at defensive tackle. Let’s start with the six defensive tackles who made the Pro Bowl last season - Geno Atkins of the Bengals, Calais Campbell of the Cardinals, Fletcher Cox of the Eagles, Aaron Donald of the Rams, Gerald McCoy of the Buccaneers, and Kawaan Short of the Panthers. Then add a few that didn’t make it like Mike Daniels of the Packers, Linval Joseph of the Vikings, and Ndamukong Sug of the Dolphins.
Meanwhile, the Ravens finished 5-11 last season, which certainly didn’t help Williams’ case. If the Ravens return to being a winning team in 2016, it will improve Williams’ Pro Bowl chances.
Williams does the dirty work in a 3-4 defensive scheme where stopping the run is his first priority. Williams had a career high two sacks last season, but defensive linemen who get more sacks simply get more attention.
Despite never having more than 5 ½ sacks in a season, Ngata eventually reached the point where his Pro Bowl talent was recognized. Both the Ravens and Williams hope his career is headed in that direction.
On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.
The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School.
In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.
17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon.
Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.
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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.
“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.
The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.
Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.
The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.
This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.
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