The Baltimore Ravens found a gem when they signed former FCS standout Patrick Ricard as an undrafted free agent back in 2017. Four years later, the team might be working with their next future two-way star in Kahlil McKenzie.
Ricard, of course, made a name for himself as both a defensive lineman and fullback with the Ravens. And although he now only finds himself playing the latter, the Ravens know they can count on him in a pinch to play a little defensive end.
McKenzie is looking to follow in the footsteps of his teammate and play both sides of the football. The practice squad member has been working with the coaching staff and practicing both at defensive tackle and along the offensive line.
Head coach John Harbaugh spoke to the media on Friday and revealed that this decision may have been inspired a little bit by some advice from McKenzie’s uncle, Raleigh McKenzie, a former NFL offensive lineman.
“He actually has played on the offensive line in his career – in college and a little bit in the NFL, in some of the practice places he’s been. His uncle obviously was a pretty fair offensive lineman. He even told me his dad kind of thinks he should be an offensive lineman. So, we’re going to start working him over there a little bit – cross training him. We’ve got some time with him. He played already on the defensive line this year, so we might need him there. But that’s a thought – absolutely.”
The Ravens might have the next Patrick Ricard in Kahlil McKenzie
Signed to the Ravens’ practice squad in early September, McKenzie is a former five-star defensive tackle recruit who attended Tennessee. So perhaps his background is a bit different than Ricard who received limited interest coming out of high school.
Nonetheless, McKenzie’s career never took off at Tennessee, but he was still able to be drafted in the sixth round in 2018 by the Kansas City Chiefs.
He’s since spent time with both the Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals as well as the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL, and he’s played both sides of the football along the way.
McKenzie was promoted to the active roster and made his Ravens debut in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions, playing 15 defensive snaps and recording a pair of tackles.
The Ravens seem to like him as additional defensive line depth on the practice squad, but it’s telling that they’re also letting him practice on offense. The team clearly has a plan for him.
The Ravens could use the extra offensive line depth with Ronnie Stanley now out for the year along with recent waiver claim Brandon Knight.
Is Kahlil McKenzie the next Patrick Ricard? It might be hard to follow in the footsteps of one of the most successful two-way players of the modern era.
But at the very least, he certainly has an excellent mentor to turn to.