We’re starting to learn more about the players the Ravens (and the rest of the teams in the NFL) are interested in as we move towards Radio City Music Hall on April 25. We are learning more about which teams are interested in which players; as we see who teams are inviting to private workouts or traveling to meet with. The Ravens took Joe Flacco with them to College Park to work out Darrius Heyward-Bey; and have also scheduled visits with Kenny Britt (Rutgers WR) and Sean Smith (Utah CB-joined Drew Forrester on The Comcast Morning Show just yesterday). I’ve been breaking down the players the Ravens might be interested in since January; and you can read my first 3 breakdowns by clicking (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Here are the players I’ve introduced you to so far….
CB’s Sean Smith (Utah), Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest), D.J. Moore (Vanderbilt), Vontae Davis (Illinois), Darius Butler (UConn), Jairus Byrd (Oregon)
WR’s Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland), Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina), Kenny Britt (Rutgers), Percy Harvin (Florida), Derrick Williams (Penn State), Kevin Ogletree (Virginia)
LB’s Clint Sintim (Virginia), Clay Matthews (USC), Larry English (Northern Illinois), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State), Darry Beckwith (LSU)
TE’s Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State), Chase Coffman (Missouri), Travis Beckum (Wisconsin)
K Graham Gano (Florida State)
DE Aaron Maybin (Penn State)
OT Eben Britton (Arizona)
C Edwin Williams (Maryland)
I haven’t suddenly developed any sort of life; so while we continue to schedule Draft prospects on The Comcast Morning Show; it’s time to take a look at another batch of prospects the Ravens likely have on their board…. (Thanks to NFLDraftScout.com for many of the numbers in the breakdown; as well as the Carroll County Times for information on who the Ravens are reportedly interested in)
Jared Cook (TE, South Carolina)-Cook met with the Ravens at the Combine; but there is a question as to how much the Ravens will be interested in a Tight End in the Draft. They are 3 deep at TE right now with Todd Heap, L.J. Smith and Quinn Sypniewski; but they could upgrade their depth and look for a Tight End of the future in the Draft; with the long-term future of Heap and Smith in doubt. Cook is a very big Tight End (6’5″, 246); but is also very quick (4.49 in the 40). He’s not projected to be a first round pick; but could very well wind up going in Round 2. Cook was the star of the Combine amongst Tight Ends; but never put up particularly strong numbers with the Gamecocks (just 7 career TD receptions). Steve Spurrier thinks particularly highly of him; but he also thought highly of Danny Wuerffel.
Brian Hoyer (QB, Michigan State)-The Ravens have reportedly been interested in Hoyer; presumably to be the 3rd QB behind Troy Smith and Joe Flacco. This would be a bit strange; as adding a rookie would give the team no QB with more than 2 years of prior NFL experience. The interest may have more to do with the fact that Hoyer shares an agent with Flacco (Joe Linta); and Linta may need a team to show interest to get other teams involved. Hoyer took a step back in my book when he forgot to call The Comcast Morning Show; but I will try to forgive him. Hoyer is expected to go anywhere from the mid-rounds of the Draft to undrafted; and is coming off a season where he threw 9 TD’s and 9 INT’s for the Spartans.
Pat White (QB, West Virginia)-Maybe the most interesting prospect in all of the Draft; the Ravens are reportedly now going to work out the former Mountaineer. White went into “Draft Season” more likely to be a Wide Reciever in the NFL than a Quarterback; but things have changed since then. White put together a VERY impressive performance in a Mobile homecoming at the Senior Bowl; then chose only to work out at QB at his own Pro Day. At this point, it appears as though the thoughts of White playing at the WR position are slim to none. White never lost a bowl game during his career in Morgantown; including a Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma in 2008. He is projected to go somewhere between the 2nd and 4th round by many prognosticators; with his stock continuing to rise. White is clearly more of a running QB; and that athleticism (combined with the ability to catch passes) could benefit teams using the “Wildcat” offense; including the Ravens’ “Suggs formation.”
Louis Delmas (S, Western Michigan)-In a Draft without many siginificant safety prospects; Delmas is considered to be probably the best available; but likely not to be picked before the 2nd round. The Sports XChange says scouts are concerned about Delmas’ ability in run coverage; but he has the physical capabilities to be a solid Free Safety in the NFL. He’s 6’0″ and 202 pounds; and ran a 4.52 40 yard dash at the Combine. He obviously played a lower level of competition in the MAC; but will benefit from the lack of talent at the safety position in this year’s class. The Ravens are also reportedly interested in Delmas.
Alex Mack (C, California)-As I mentioned when discussing Edwin Williams in a previous blog; Matt Birk may answer the Ravens’ need at center for now, but they still need a long term option. Mack will reportedly visit Owings Mills, but is projected by almost all Draft analysts as a first round pick; which would likely be too early for a team merely looking for depth at the position. Reports about Mack are absolutely glowing, with some scouts considering him amongst the best Center prospects to hit the Draft in years. He’s certainly a physical specimen, measuring in at 6’4″ and 307 pounds. He’s a clear talent, but I don’t think his status matches the Ravens’ current needs.
Deon Butler (WR, Penn State)-While teammate Derrick Williams is the more appealing Draft prospect; former Nittany Lion Butler was the more productive Wide Receiver when both were in State College. Butler finished his time in Happy Valley as Penn State’s caree receptions leader; and posted a blazing fast 4.31 time in the 40 yard dash at the Combine. Those are the types of things that would likely make many prospects projected to go in early rounds; so why is Butler believed to be a mid to late round pick; with the possibility to go almost completely undrafted? His 5’11″, 182 pound frame is the biggest concern for scouts. But while a target might not look as good in tights; his on-field capability and heart can make him a legitimate NFL player (i.e. Derrick Mason). The Ravens could still be players for Torry Holt, but they might need to try to find multiple receivers in Draft if not.
Lawrence Sidbury (DE, Richmond)-Suddenly a fast riser; Sidbury has gone from a projected mid-round selection to a likely first day pick; with some mock draft sites (including the noted NFL Draft Bible) now projecting him as a first round pick. Sidbury has very good size (6’3″, 266); and wowed scouts with a 4.57 40 at the Combine. Sidbury continued to impress scouts with solid position drills at Richmond’s Pro Day. Sidbury’s size and ability will again be questioned due to the level of talent he matched up against playing CAA football with the Spiders; but for a team like the Ravens with a bit of a question mark in Trevor Pryce’s future, Sidbury could be the type of sleeper pick that pays off.
Louis Murphy (WR, Florida)-Not as highly thought of as his teammate Percy Harvin; Murphy possesses some pretty solid traits himself. He has pretty good size (6’3″, 203 pounds); and posted a 4.32 40 yard dash at the Combine. He has a bit of a red flag having undergone a minor knee procedure after the season (causing him to miss the Senior Bowl); but looked good in position drills at his Pro Day in Gainesville; helping his case. He is believed to be a late first day or early second day pick; but (much like Harvin) will not benefit from the struggles of many Gators WR’s drafted in recent years. Murphy posted 655 yards receiving and 7 TD’s in 2008; impressive considering he was not the team’s top option. He again could fit into the Ravens’ picture if they address their WR need before April 25 and don’t take a first round receiver; or if they enter the Draft still needing more than one addition at the position.
Kevin Barnes (CB, Maryland)-Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta was sitting right behind at Byrd Stadium last September when Kevin Barnes became an internet sensation thanks to a PUNISHING blow leveled on Cal RB Jahvid Best. Barnes must hope that hit is DeCosta’s lingering memory of the former Terrapins DB; and not the shoulder injury that caused him to miss the last 6 games of his career in College Park. Barnes impressed scouts at the Combine and with his Pro Day efforts; including a 4.45 run in the 40 at his Pro Day. Barnes’ stock is rising towards the upper half of the Draft; likely making him an early 2nd day prospect. He is a bit undersized (6’0″, 187 pounds), but his ability to make a hit (see Youtube) will certainly help improve his status.
-Drew will be talking to many of the prospects I have profiled in the coming weeks; and I will try to update this list at least once a week between now and the Draft.