Two years ago, Cameron Wake was playing for the Canadian Football League's BC Lions.
Today, Wake has 6.5 sacks for the Dolphins, tied for 8th-best in the NFL, and has become one of the more feared pass rushers in the league.
Ask about Wake around the Ravens locker room and you'll hear accolades tossed out left and right. Guys call him relentless, say he's got a great motor, and praise his agility.
But right tackle Marshal Yanda, who will see plenty of Wake on Sunday, says that what makes the Dolphins outside linebacker so tough to stop is his quickness.
"His speed off the ball has got to be up there with the top [pass rushers] in the league," Yanda said. "That's what's really winning him the battles, is he's getting off the ball so fast. Tackles, if you don't get off with him, you're going to be chasing him, you're going to be behind the block and then he can get ya. Even if you set up square, he can still get you, though.
"Even if he gets blocked up, he's going to keep coming and keep coming until the play's over. His get-off is really what helps him. He's really quick off the ball."
Wake, a Beltsville, Maryland native, is 28 years old, which is significantly older than most second-year NFL players. After four years at Penn State, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Giants back in 2005. He got cut by New York, then ended up in the CFL, where he starred as a defensive end during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
He signed with the Dolphins prior to the 2009 season, and posted 5.5 sacks last year in his first NFL action. This year, he's playing as more of an every-down outside linebacker, and Miami head coach Tony Sparano has seen positive results.
"Last year Cameron was really just a third down pass rusher for us, played with his hand in the ground most of the time as we were trying to make this conversion to him standing up," Sparano said on a conference call with the Baltimore media. "Right now he's probably playing, he's easily playing about 75, 80% of the game. We try to get him off the field a little bit here and there just to get him a blow.
"He's done a nice job in making the transformation into the outside linebacker spot from a coverage standpoint. Rushing isn't his issue; it's always been block recognition and the coverage end of things because that was so new to him. He's done a good job with that as of right now."
The Dolphins flip Wake from side to side, so both Yanda and left tackle Michael Oher will have to deal with him on Sunday. Oher, who is known for his quick starts right at the snap, knows he'll have a battle with Wake lines up on the right side of the defense.
"Oh man, the guy is very fast, has a motor that doesn't stop for some reason," Oher said. "He gets after it. He loves the game."
If the Ravens' tackles have one edge over Wake, it's size. Wake isn't lacking in that department at 6-3, 250, but Yanda and Oher each have over 60 pounds on the outside linebacker, which will be to their advantage.
Still, quarterback Joe Flacco will have to keep an eye out for Wake, and be aware that he'll be flying off the edge the majority of the game.
"He's definitely been disrupting some of the pass rush, some of the timing and things," Flacco said. "We'll have a plan for him, and I think I'll just have to have trust in my offensive line that they're going to get the job done like they've been doing all year."