Dec 21, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks with linebacker Zach Orr (54) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens have a rich history of sifting through the undrafted free agent pile to uncover talent. They also have a linebacker roster rich with talent. But while we debate the roster prospects of Arthur Brown and look forward to the sophomore campaign of C.J. Mosley, there is a dark horse rising from the pile – second year UDFA Zach Orr.
Orr came out of nowhere (well, North Texas actually) last offseason to make the final roster. Orr played a key special teams role, racking up seven tackles across 17 games. But the biggest surprise came during this year’s mandatory minicamp, when he was taking reps with the starters. Granted, Mosley is still recovering from wrist surgery, but it’s still an eyebrow raiser.
Much of the progress Zach Orr has made on both defense and special teams comes from the mindset he has forged as a former undrafted free agent, as he pointed out during minicamp.
“My mentality is that I’m still fighting for a job,” Orr said. “Last year, making the team wasn’t enough for me. I feel like as an undrafted free agent they’re always trying to bring someone in to replace you. That just keeps me motivated and I want to keep approaching things the same way I did last year.”
“I embrace whatever role they set out for me,” he said. “I’m still hungry as an undrafted free agent. That title never leaves you and it’s a good thing.”
But is there really room on defense for Orr, with C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith holding down their respective starting jobs? It may take an injury or two before we see him take the field. After all, he played a total of four snaps on defense last season, all of which came in week 6 against the Bucs.
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Luckily for Orr, it doesn’t appear that he has much competition. With Arthur Brown seemingly on his last chance (and not playing special teams), he has only fellow special teams maven Albert McClellan and UDFA Andrew Bose to worry about.
Whether or not he makes an impact on defense in 2015, it’s a pretty safe bet that Zach Orr will continue to grow as a player. And the worst case scenario is that he remains an integral part of special teams, which is a strength for this Ravens squad. Either way, the Zach Orr hype train is picking up steam this offseason.