Michael Pierce: The next great Ravens nose tackle
From undrafted nose tackle out of Samford to staple on Baltimore’s defensive line, Michael Pierce is headed for all-time great status for the Ravens D-Line.
Last year, I wrote an article about how Michael Pierce was a breakout candidate for 2017. I’d feel pretty confident in saying I was right about that. But that’s not good enough for me, and it’s certainly not good enough for Pierce.
Pierce shattered expectations. So rare is it for an undrafted player to make the final 53-man roster. On a position group as deep as Baltimore’s was/is on the defensive line, it was that much more impressive that we saw Pierce make the final cut. With stalwarts like Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan manning the nose tackle and 3-Tech spot respectively, odds were against Pierce to even see the field.
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Pierce eventually found his way onto the field and never looked back. Pierce only started one game in 2016, but appeared in all 16 games. But Pierce was so impressive in the flashes he presented, the team felt comfortable enough to deal Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The rest is history. Pierce would go on to start 13 games in 2017 (played in all 16), and notched 49 tackles and a sack from his nose tackle position. That’s right, nose tackle. Pierce was so well regarded that he replaced Brandon Williams at nose tackle, kicking Williams out to Jernigan’s now vacant spot at 3-Tech.
Now headed into 2018, Michael Pierce will look to continue improving his game and proving doubters wrong. But that shouldn’t be enough for him. Hell, being a Pro Bowler isn’t enough. Making his mark in Baltimore Ravens’ history should be though.
Pierce will be a Restricted Free Agent following the season and as long as the Ravens opt to tender and sign him, he could become a Ravens fan favorite.
From undrafted to all-time great?
Pierce’s play is top-notch and stacks up well against most nose tackles around the league. What Pierce is asked to do is stuff the run and eat up blocks, both tasks he excels at. Honestly? Pierce brings back memories of other great Ravens nose tackles. Tony Siragusa. Sam Adams. Haloti Ngata. Maybe one day we’ll add Michael Pierce to that list.
But what exactly does he have to do to get there? Well, at this point he just needs to have a long career doing what he’s doing. Pierce doesn’t need the Pro Bowls that Ngata had or the ring the other three have. All Pierce needs is a long, successful career.
Would either of those two hurt? Heck no! But those two accolades aren’t the most defining attributes to a successful career at nose tackle. Pierce’s story itself is inspiring, but the man that Michael Pierce is speaks even greater volumes.
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A class act off the field, a dominant presence on it. Michael Pierce brings to the table everything you want in a Raven. In two short years he’s already one of my current favorite Ravens. Heck, since following the team back in 2009, Pierce is already one of my favorites I’ve gotten to see. The man is still so young and could blossom into something truly amazing.
Keep your eyes on Pierce, Ravens Flock. We are truly experiencing greatness at nose tackle from Mr. Michael Pierce.