Spears could turn out big for Ravens

Spears could turn out big for Ravens
April 9, 2013, 12:15 am
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Defensive lineman Marcus Spears is 6 feet 4 and about 300 pounds, so it’s hard to believe he can go undetected in any fashion. But Spears is the pick by ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley as the Ravens’ under-the-radar acquisition thus far this off-season.

“The addition of Spears didn't generate much buzz because he never reached expectations of a first-round pick with the Cowboys and ended his time in Dallas as a backup,” Hensley writes.

However, with the Ravens, Spears will fill a vital role — though by performing a somewhat thankless task. He’ll be expected to grab the double teams from opposing offensive lineman, giving other Ravens, particularly fellow D-lineman Haloti Ngata, more room to operate.

“The Ravens' defensive line won't wear down as it did last season,” Hensley says, “because Spears gives Baltimore experienced depth.”

As for the rest of the AFC North, he names the following as under-the-radar pickups:

*Bengals: linebacker Aaron Maybin. “Maybin was a first-round bust in Buffalo, but the Bengals have had success with reclamation projects (see safety Reggie Nelson).”

*Browns: linebacker Quentin Groves. He’ll play a key role in helping the Browns switch over to a 3-4 defense being installed by new defensive coordinator Ray Horton after having played for Horton last season in Arizona.

*Steelers: Linebacker Larry Foote. “All of the Steelers' moves fall into the under-the-radar category because they don't have the salary-cap room to make any other kind.” For the cap-strapped Steelers, retaining their leading tackler from 2012 was a key transaction.