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Terrell Suggs in Prime Position to Become Ravens’ Next Defensive Leader

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In the Ravens 35-7 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs topped Peter Boulware’s record as the franchises all-time sack leader. Suggs’ three sacks Sunday now gives him 71.5 sacks for his career.

(Photo By: Nick Wass / AP)

With inside linebacker Ray Lewis in his 16th season, and safety Ed Reed in his 10th, it’s just a matter of time before the Ravens find another face to that vaunted defense. Suggs holds the 36-year-old Lewis in high regard and Lewis has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon, but Suggs appears to be the heir to Lewis’ throne.

However, when Suggs first came to Baltimore after being drafted in the top 10 of the 2003 draft he was a hot mess. He was just 20, and despite breaking team rules, Suggs managed to win NFL Defensive rookie of the Year award honors by amassing a career high 12 sacks.

Then, in 2009, Suggs hit rock bottom when collected just 4.5 sacks. That year he appeared out of shape, overweight, and was plagued by injuries. After the season ended, Suggs apologized to the Ravens organization and said that it would never happen again.

To this point, Suggs has been a man of his word.

(Photo By: Larry French/Getty Images)

Now, at the ripe age of 28-years-old Suggs has come full circle and is seemingly just entering the prime of his career.

After being drafted out of Arizona State as a defensive end, Suggs made the transition to outside linebacker almost flawlessly. Suggs can outwork and out muscle most offensive tackles and has added more speed and agility to his game. He is quick enough to drop back into pass coverage, and big enough and tough enough to stop the run.

Just one year ago, in 2010, Suggs earned pro bowl honors for the fourth time in his young career. Suggs is already off to a hot start, if he earns another Pro Bowl trip this season, it would mark the first back to back Pro Bowl appearances in his career further showing why he should be the next in line to take the torch.