There’s still no labor peace in the NFL, but NFL Draft season continues on as we inch closer and closer to Radio City Music Hall in New York at the end of April.
This week featured another round of Pro Timing Days, including a controversial stop at Georgia’s Pro Timing Day in Athens, where league scouts were forced to watch WR AJ Green workout on TV screens due a strange rule surrounding the lockout.
Since Green will be off the board before the Ravens select at 26th, I won’t bore you with further details.
Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.
QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jake Locker (Washington), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Andy Dalton (TCU)
FB-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (Connecticut), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State), Mark Ingram (Alabama)
WR-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii), Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union), Jerrel Jernigan (Troy), Niles Paul (Nebraska)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)
G-Danny Watkins (Baylor)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal), Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
DE-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Dontay Moch (Nevada), D’Aundre Reed (Arizona)
LB-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State), Colin McCarthy (Miami), Martez Wilson (Illinois), Kelvin Sheppard (Louisiana State),
S-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami), Brandon Harris (Miami)
If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.
Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 4, 5 & 6-Previews of players ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis
Part 7-A look back at players who made in impact at the National Football League Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium
Part 8-A look at players who participated in the first week of Pro Timing Days
The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…
1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
6. Inside Linebacker
9. Running Back
Here are ten more prospects whose schools have already held their Pro Timing Days.
Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.
DE Aldon Smith (Missouri)
There was a time when the former Mizzou pass rusher was believed to be available for the Ravens at 26.
As Draft season has continued, that can no longer be considered a certainty.
Smith is a 6’4″, 263 pound beast who combined for 17 sacks over the last two seasons for the Tigers despite missing three games last season with a broken leg.
Smith played just those two seasons in Columbia, opting to depart after his redshirt sophomore season for the Draft.
There’s plenty to like about Smith. He ran a 4.74 in the 40 yard dash while in Indy, and has shown his versatility in different defenses. His wingspan was measured at an astounding 84 inches.
He also told reporters at Pro Day he can do a standing backflip-but we haven’t seen that yet.
The Ravens have scheduled a workout with Smith and will find themselves in an interesting position should he be available at 26. He’s clearly a talent, but he’s probably still a bit of a project at this point.
The Ravens desperately need a pass rusher on the edge. The demise of Trevor Pryce has left them in a bad spot. If they think the presence of Smith can generate a better rush (along with LB Terrell Suggs), he’d almost certainly be on his way to Charm City.
C Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock)
Quick-does anyone know where Slippery Rock is located?
If you said Butler County, Pennsylvania you’re a big winner.
A four year starter for The Rock, Fusco has been a steady riser throughout his career and now into Draft season.
He’s a 6’4″, 316 pound solid player who has shown off his athleticism after moving from tackle to center. He even made a catch (for nine yards) during his senior season.
The Ravens will be looking for center depth in the Draft. Matt Birk has said he’ll come back this season, but they’ll have to work with the expectation that Birk could be entering his final season. Chris Chester is still in the mix (he’s expected to be back as a restricted free agent), but is likely better served at guard than moving back to center.
It’s not a very deep draft at the position, but Fusco could be an option in the later rounds. He put together a solid Pro Day (although it was held at Lehigh) and has likely guaranteed himself a Saturday selection.
CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)
In one sentence, I think Dowling would be labeled as “obvious talent with obvious injury issues.”
Dowling is an impressive 6’1″, 198 pound corner who posted eight interceptions, three forced fumbles and a sack over his first three seasons with the Cavaliers. He posted an impressive 4.40 40 at the Combine.
Unfortunately, Dowling played in just three games during his senior campaign in Charlottesville, as he battled a broken left ankle, right knee issues and a lingering hamstring problem.
After all of that, he pulled up with another hamstring issue during the Combine.
Dowling actually WASN’T able to participate in the Wahoos’ Pro Day due to his injuries, he’ll instead delay until April 3rd-when he’ll hold his own individual Pro Day.
Cornerback is an issue for the Ravens. Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are unrestricted free agents. Domonique Foxworth is coming off a torn ACL.
They’ll have to address the problem somehow, whether in the Draft or later.
Dowling will be intriguing. He was an arguable first round talent a year ago. He’s clearly no longer a first round guy. But how soon would a team like the Ravens be willing to consider snapping him up to join Chuck Pagano’s defense? That much we don’t know yet.
DT Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)
It has been a bit puzzling to keep seeing Wilkerson’s name linked to the Ravens in mock drafts.
The reality is that the Ravens have an anchor in the middle of their defensive line (Haloti Ngata) and have plenty of depth behind him at the position (Terrence Cody, Brandon McKinney, Lamar Divens, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones).
This could really test General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s steadfast “best player available” policy in the Draft. National Football Post reported the team will work out the former Owls big man this week, and could face a serious decision should he be available at 26.
On paper, Wilkerson LOOKS like a Raven. He measured in at 6’4″, 315 pounds in Indianapolis and tallied 10 sacks from the interior in 2010.
He doesn’t appear to be the type of player who could move to the outside and become a natural rush end, but the Ravens could certainly benefit from having another player on the field who is capable of pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
Wilkerson stood on most of his Combine numbers, posting only a 29 inch vertical at his Pro Day in Philadelphia.
He’s a late first round/early second round type of player. The only question will be whether or not he’s a true fit for a Ravens team that doesn’t really have a need for him.
QB Jeremiah Masoli (Mississippi)
In draft season, he’s been known as Jeremiah “Red Flag” Masoli.
We all know the history of Masoli’s transgressions.
In 2005, Masoli was forced to spend time in juvenile hall for his participation in a robbery. After transferring from City College of San Francisco to Oregon in 2008, Masoli kept his nose clean for a short time. That came to a halt when plead guilty to second degree burglary in March 2010. After a later arrest for marijuana possession in 2010, Masoli was dismissed by Ducks coach Chip Kelly but managed to catch on at Ole Miss.
Beyond his transgressions, Masoli showed himself capable of being a solid player at times. In three years of playing time, Masoli put up 5,930 yards passing and threw for 42 TD’s. He also ran for 1,930 yards and 29 TD’s. At his Pro Day this week in Oxford he worked out as both a quarterback and as a running back, with the thought being that teams could choose to use him as a Wildcat option at the next level.
The Ravens have historically (mostly) stayed away from players like Masoli. But after cutting Troy Smith following the 2010 Training Camp, they were left without a mobile QB on the roster-and had to use position players in practice to replicate opposing mobile QB’s. It would be safe to assume they’d like to get a mobile QB on the roster somehow.
It’s also no guarantee that Masoli gets drafted at all. In fact, the chances are probably no greater than 50-50 at best. The likelihood of Head Coach John Harbaugh considering a player like Masoli would go up if the team could add him as an undrafted free agent instead of using a pick on him.
Of course, UFA’s can’t be signed this year until a new labor deal is in place-but let’s worry about that another day.
My guess is that Masoli doesn’t end up in Purple and Black…but he’s certainly an interesting player to discuss between now and the end of April.
DE Adrian Clayborn (Iowa)
The Ravens had an obvious presence at the Hawkeyes’ Pro Day in Iowa City, giving additional evidence that the team is legitimately considering using an early pick on the Clayborn to bolster their D-Line.
Clayborn is an impressive 6’3″, 281 pound specimen who electrified the Big Ten with 63 tackles and 11 sacks in 2009. Those numbers dropped off in 2010, as the big man managed just 52 tackles and only four sacks. The drop-off was particularly alarming considering Clayborn did not miss any time due to injury.
Clayborn’s size and speed (4.78 40) as well as a solid week at the Senior Bowl have kept him in the conversation as a first round pick-perhaps a player who could go off the board even before the Ravens select at 26.
D-Line coach Clarence Brooks needs outside help. Clayborn certainly appears to be the type of player capable of creating pressure on his own. That might very well make him a perfect fit in Baltimore.
FB Shaun Chapas (Georgia)
AJ Green may have been the star of the Bulldogs’ Pro Day, but there were other players working out who were worth paying attention to as well.
Chapas could be intriguing to the Ravens whether or not FB Le’Ron McClain departs as an unrestricted free agent.
Chapas is a 6’2″, 247 pound bruiser who was clocked with a 4.87 40 time in Indianapolis. He’s not likely to be an explosive Chris Cooley-type of H-Back; but instead is expected to play a natural fullback role.
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron appears to be in the market for that exact type of player right now.
Making the case more compelling for Chapas, he received the types of honors during his time in Athens that the Ravens would like to see.
“At team’s annual awards Gala, earned team’s Coaches Leadership Award for Special Teams, the Leon Farmer Award for dedication to the strength and conditioning program and the David Jacobs Award as the player who by example portrays courage, spirit, character and determination.”
Sounds like someone Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company would be interested in if you ask me. As the Draft goes deeper into Saturday, he would almost have to be a consideration.
LB Alex Wujciak (Maryland)
I will admit that I was quite surprised when the former Terrapins standout did not receive an invite to the Combine.
He certainly did everything necessary during his ACC career to earn an invite. He tallied 354 tackles over three seasons in College Park, mixing in three forced fumbles, four interceptions and two touchdowns.
Wujciak certainly doesn’t lack the size (6’3″, 250 pounds) to play an Inside backer position at the next level. Teams might want him to be a bit quicker (his 40 time was 4.79), but he’s never appeared slow in coverage.
Wujciak comes from an athletic family, as his father (Alan Wujciak) was an OL for Notre Dame while his younger bother (Connor Wujciak) plays for Boston College.
At this point most projections have Wujciak as a late round pick at best. The Ravens need inside backer help. Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain have been not quite good enough to lock down a position and Ray Lewis is getting no younger.
Alex Wujciak is no Ray Lewis.
But he’s certainly deserving of an opportunity to prove himself at the next level.
(Wujciak joined Thyrl Nelson and myself last Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST-you can hear the conversation in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.)
CB Richard Sherman (Stanford)
Continuing the trend of “intriguing prospects”, there are few players in the Draft more intriguing than Sherman.
Fact: Sherman’s 6’3″, 195 pound frame and 4.54 (40) speed are solid if not ideal for a NFL CB prospect.
Other fact: Sherman has played corner for just two seasons in Palo Alto, and his skills (despite 6 interceptions in his Cardinal career) are still considered to be raw.
He’s going to be a later selection if he’s selected at all. The Ravens will have at least some familiarity with him as Harbaugh’s brother (Jim Harbaugh) coached him at Stanford before accepting the head coaching gig with the San Francisco 49ers.
He’s obviously not “the answer” for the Ravens secondary; but he could be a project worth taking a shot on as the Ravens will continue to face big receivers in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns are expected to be in the market for the aforementioned Green, which would give the division one more matchup problem.
RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)
The Ravens are expected to part ways with RB Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain may be on the way out as well.
That would leave the team with just Ray Rice & Jalen Parmele (and Curtis Steele, Matt Lawrence and Jason McKie for what it’s worth) in their backfield.
They’re going to need to upgrade somehow.
Williams could very well be an option. His size is more similar to Rice (5’9″, 212 pounds) with pretty good speed (trimmed his 40 time down to 4.53 at his Pro Day in Blacksburg).
Williams had an explosive season in 2009 (1,655 yards rushing and 21 TD’s), but a hamstring injury cost him four games in 2010. His numbers were trimmed to 477 yards rushing and nine TD’s as he split time with fellow Hokies back Darren Evans.
The Ravens will have to pay extra close attention to the injury-but they’ll also have to determine if Williams would be a fit behind Rice. He’ll likely be a Friday night pick-and might end up coming off the board to early to be the choice in Baltimore.
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…