The Baltimore Ravens were ecstatic last year when they traded out of the first round and still landed former Texas linebacker/defensive end Sergio Kindle with their top pick in the second round. Baltimore believed it finally found another outside pass rusher to pair with Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs.
But those hopes came to an abrupt end last summer when Kindle fell down two flights of stairs and fractured his skull, which ended his 2010 season before training camp began. Kindle's career also was in doubt. But one year later the Ravens are pleased with his progress and believe he is on the road to recovery.
There have been no official announcement that Kindle has been medically cleared, but recent reports out of Baltimore suggests it could happen soon. Head injuries are serious and the Ravens have taken careful precaution.
Kindle could bring a number of things to Baltimore's defense when healthy. College scouting reports described Kindle as a player with great closing speed and flexibility, which helped him get 16 sacks as a junior and senior at Texas. Kindle also can stand up as a linebacker and put his hand in the ground as a defensive end, which fits well in Baltimore's varying defenses.
With a serious head injury and a year away from football, Kindle has to shake off the rust and earn a role with the team in training camp and preseason. Baltimore likely would be very happy if Kindle develops into a viable pass rusher off the bench on third-down in what is essentially his rookie year. If the Ravens get more out of Kindle, it would be considered a bonus.
But getting back on the field and healthy again in 2011 should be Kindle's biggest priorities.