Impressive players at the combine

February 24, 2008 |

I will recap later about the whole experience here in Indy, it has been a very enjoyable experience and I would put it up there with one of the top events that I have ever been to. Now we in the media do not get inside the RCA Dome to watch the players work out, our only interaction with them is when they are brought into the media room and made available to the media. Some of the players look like they are overwhelmed, while others look like they have been in situations like this their entire life.  Here are a couple of guys that stood out to me that I have had a chance to listen to them speak:
Chris Long: Va Tech (DE) – very articulate well spoken did not bite on any one trying to dig on if any team had showed a lot of interest in him. He is a guy that you could build your defense around.
Matt Ryan : Boston College (QB)– handled the media like he was a 10 year NFL vet. Everyone that was in the room when he spoke was very impressed with how he handled it and came away even more impressed with this young man. I do not buy this talk that he is going to slide down the draft board. I do not think there is anyway that he will be sitting around after the number 3 pick. He will be the face of the rebuilding process in Atlanta for new head coach Mike Smith.
Vernon Gholston (Ohio State)(DE) – very impressive young man, very articulate said all the right things while meeting with the media. Many people who have watched him play say that he does not even realize how good he could be yet, and has a tremendous upside.
Philip Merling (Clemson)(DE) – a very quiet guy who does not do a lot of talking. Pointed out that the reason he chose to leave Clemson early is because he has a young daughter and fiancé that he wants to take care of. Lot of talk here that he is moving up the draft boards quickly and his not that far behind Gholston and Chris Long.
Keith Rivers (USC) (LB) – impressive guy that was a very engaging guy to talk to. Talked about wearing the number 55 and how he has met several guys in the league that are players he respects that wears #55. Wonder what number he would wear if he was to be a Raven? Would Suggs be willing to give up 55 for a price?
Erin Henderson (Maryland)(LB) –  spoke about what he has learned from his brother and other Terp alumni that are playing in the NFL. Admitted that he has thought about what it would be like to play for the Ravens, but did not get the chance to pick the brain of his teammate Keon Lattimore’s brother Ray Lewis. Thinks playing at a school like Maryland and for a coach like Ralph Friedgen will help him at the next level.
Sedrick Ellis (USC) (DT) – while I did not get a chance to listen to him for a very extended amount of time due to him and Coach Harbaugh speaking roughly around the same time, he was a guy that stayed impressed several people in the media with him answers and not being phased with questions being thrown his way at a rapid pace. There are several people here that think he might be a perfect fit for the Ravens although I am not such a believer in that theory.
My impressions with the past two days is that I am still sticking with barring Matt Ryan falling into the Ravens lap at the #8 spot, that they are not taking a quarterback in the first round and that he would be the only guy that they would select at the #8 spot on the offensive side of the football
The day was ended with John Harbaugh meeting with the m
edia for about 15 minutes at the podium and then for another 15 minutes off to the side in an informal type setting (both of which you can listen to by clicking on them in the Toyota live web box). This was my first real up close and personal interaction with Coach Harbaugh and I was very impressed with him I think Ravens fans are going to like Coach Harbaugh and his style of football. It is interesting also that when you talk to different media members, scouts, front office people, and coaches that not one person has said anything bad about Coach Harbaugh or that he was a risky hire.