Ravens to give Pernell McPhee a shot at rush outside linebacker

The Ravens intend to take a long look at defensive end Pernell McPhee at rush outside linebacker behind former Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.

McPhee is a 6-foot-3, 280-pounder who dipped to 1 1/2 sacks last season after finishing second on the defense with six sacks as a rookie two years ago. McPhee is on the mend from offseason groin surgery, playing through the injury last season after undergoing a pair of arthroscopic knee surgeries last year.

"We’re kind of a hybrid, 4-3, 3-4 team, so we’re going to emphasize Pernell a little bit more at outside linebacker in Terrell Suggs’ spot and see how he does out there," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "But he’ll still bounce. He’s an outside linebacker that can play defensive end, and he’ll be a defensive end-pass rusher in our even fronts, in our pass-rush scheme."

McPhee was limited to 21 tackles in 12 games with six starts last season.

“I think he’s a good player, and I think he’s going to help us whether he plays defensive end, defensive tackle or rush linebacker,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He’s a motivated guy, plays really hard and I think he’s going to have a great year.”

Meanwhile, the Ravens are pleased so far with defensive tackle Bryan Hall's transition to inside linebacker. Hall is in the process of getting into linebacker shape.

"Bryan has done a great job," Harbaugh said. "He’s already lost 20 or so pounds. He looks really good. He he played linebacker in high school, and he’s excited about it."

An all-state linebacker growing up in Paducah, Ky., before becoming an  All-Sun Belt Conference selection at Arkansas State -- where he recorded 125  career tackles, 27 1/2 for losses and 17 sacks -- Hall lined up at inside  linebacker in a preseason game last summer against the St. Louis Rams.

Listed at 6 feet, 291 pounds last season, Hall is diligently exercising and dieting and says he's down to roughly 275 pounds.

"I keep chopping weight and working hard and preparing myself," Hall recently told The Baltimore Sun. "One of the biggest things is special teams. Me being at this weight opens up  more opportunities there. I just want to do whatever to help this team. This  team is incredible. ..

"The more things you can do to help the team, the better off you are. It's a  dream come true. In high school, if you had told me I'm going to play linebacker  for the Baltimore Ravens, I would have said, 'That's crazy,' and now it's  happening. I'm blessed."

awilson@baltsun.com

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