Timmy Jernigan may be gone from Baltimore, but plenty of young talent still remains in the form of nose tackle Michael Pierce,. He proved he could throw his weight around with the best of them, despite being an undrafted rookie free agent out of Samford. Since the moment he landed in Baltimore, Michael Pierce showed that the Ravens’ faith in him was not misplaced: he finished the 2016 season with more total tackles (35) than Timmy Jernigan (31) and was also one of only two Ravens rookies to finish in the top five among the team leaders in sacks.
Michael Pierce’s performance last season shouldn’t have come as a big surprise to any Ravens fan that was paying attention during the preseason because all they have to do is remember back to the final preseason tune-up against the New Orleans Saints when Michael Pierce recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. This is the first glimpse that Ravens fans had of his athletic ability. It’s this athletic ability that makes head coach John Harbaugh enthusiastic about the future combination of Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce at nose tackle.
“They’re not just two big guys,” Harbaugh said. “They’re two big guys, but they’re two big guys that are really excellent athletes. They’re in great shape. They’re powerful. They’re explosive. They play hard. They use their hands really well. They can get off blocks. It’s two really good football players who are pretty powerful guys.”
With the 2016 season as a firm foundation upon which to build, Michael Pierce has every chance to be in the spotlight along the defensive line for the Baltimore Ravens in 2017.