The Ravens likely won't have linebacker Terrell Suggs for the 2012 season after the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year tore his Achilles' tendon, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. One source told Schefter that Suggs suffered the injury playing basketball, but another source wasn't positive that Suggs tore his Achilles tendon that way. Another source told Schefter that Suggs thinks he could be back in October.
However long Suggs is out, it will be a challenge for the Ravens to replace him. He's the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He's been to five Pro Bowls. He's the franchise's leader in sacks (82.5).
While the initial reaction is to say the Ravens' first-round draft pick, Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, will step into Suggs' spot, he is the replacement for Jarret Johnson. Upshaw is expected to set the edge against the run.
Here are the top candidates to take over for Suggs:
Paul Kruger: He's been looking for a spot in the starting lineup since he was selected in the second round in 2009. Kruger stepped up in the pass rush last season with a career-high 5.5 sacks. At this point, he would be the leading candidate because of his experience.
Sergio Kindle: The Ravens had high expectations for Kindle when they made him their top pick in the 2010 draft. But he fractured his skull after falling down two flights of stairs before his rookie training camp and he's only played two games since. Teams officials have said it's their "mission" to get Kindle on the field in what will be his first full offseason in the NFL.
Michael McAdoo: He is a raw yet intriguing prospect from North Carolina who was ruled ineligible in 2010 for academic fraud. The Ravens signed him to a deal in August 2011 and kept him on injured reserve as a redshirt season. At 6-foot-7, 245 pounds, he is an athletic and rangy pass-rusher who projects to be a 3-4 outside linebacker. His challenge will be to bulk up.