INDIANAPOLIS, In. — Greetings from LucasOil Stadium, where we are in attendance for the NFL Scouting Combine. Here are a few notes from a busy Saturday in the media center…
-Believe the hype surrounding Mount Union WR Cecil Shorts. At least believe the hype that the Baltimore Ravens are interested in the Division III prospect; which was confirmed by Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta.
Shorts told me Saturday he met with the team’s entire coaching staff in a formal interview setting Friday night. General Manager Ozzie Newsome was also involved in the interview according to the 6 foot receiver.
Shorts also played cornerback and even some quarterback during his time at the small Ohio college, but made the strong statement to reporters Saturday that “wide receiver is the position I’ll be playing.” Shorts was part of the Raiders’ 2008 National Championship team.
I’d expect to hear more about Shorts in my next Draft preview column.
-The BIGGEST star of the day was Auburn QB Cam Newton. Most of this year’s quarterback class in the NFL Draft met with reporters Friday, but Newton came in Saturday and received the type of attention usually saved for someone like Paul McCartney. My colleague Nestor Aparicio offered this picture via Twitter (@WNST)…
Honestly, it was crazier than that. Of course, Newton sparked that fire in commenting that he “wanted to be an icon” after recently announcing a partnership with Under Armour. Newton read a prepared statement to clarify those comments when he reached the podium in Indy.
As exciting as the arrival of the Heisman Trophy winner and BCS Champion was, Newton is almost certainly not on the Ravens’ radar.
Other players generating a buzz upon making an appearance in the media center included Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett, North Carolina DT Marvin Austin, Georgia WR AJ Green and Oregon LB Clay Matthews.
-Matthews was one of a number of players who confirmed to me Saturday they had met either formally or informally with the Ravens this weekend.
Texas DE Sam Acho, Virginia Tech DL John Graves, Georgia FB Shaun Chapas, Oklahoma DE/LB Jeremy Beal, Southern Arkansas DE Cedric Thornton and Oklahoma State LB Orie Lemon were amongst a group of players who confirmed they had met with scouts or position coaches.
Tennessee WR Denarius Moore and North Carolina State WR Owen Spencer both confirmed meetings with Ravens WR Coach Jim Hostler.
A number of players told me they hadn’t yet met with the Ravens but believed they would Saturday evening or later in the weekend; including Texas A&M DE Von Miller.
Other players were more coy about who they had met with, including Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn and California DE Cameron Jordan.
-A common theme amongst the Linebackers in the room Saturday? They all look up to future Hall of Fame Ravens LB Ray Lewis. Lemon and Illinois LB Martez Wilson in particular pointed out they admired the perennial Pro Bowler and hoped to shape their careers in similar ways.
West Virginia RB Noel Devine told reporters his role model was former Ravens CB Deion Sanders. Devine and Sanders are both represented by agent Eugene Parker. Devine said Sanders once brought him for a visit of the Ravens’ 1 Winning Drive facility in Owings Mills.
Appalachian State LB D.J. Smith noted that former Ravens (and Mountaineers) TE Daniel Wilcox had been a good influence for him during his final season in Boone. Wilcox returned to his alma mater in 2010 to finish his degree and helped out the ASU staff during football season.
Acho told me he was very close with Ravens LB Sergio Kindle, but hadn’t spoken with Kindle much since the latter suffered a fractured skull in an accident at a friend’s house in Austin.
-There were no Maryland Terrapins in the media center Saturday, but two players talked to me about their connections to the Terps.
Spencer spoke glowingly about his relationship with former Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow during his final season at NC State. He described Yow as a “strong lady” who was “always positive” and who appeared to be very comfortable at “home” in Raleigh. Spencer commented that Yow was particularly interested in seeing the Wolfpack beat the Terps in College Park, but NCSU fell 38-31.
UConn RB Jordan Todman said Head Coach Randy Edsall’s decision to leave Connecticut for Maryland played no role in his decision to skip his senior season and enter the Draft. Todman told me he held no grudge towards the new head coach in College Park, but told me to expect Edsall to bring a more authoritative personality to the job.
-There is plenty of audio available from players in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. Hear from the following potential future Ravens…
- Oregon LB Casey Matthews
- Louisville RB Bilal Powell
- UConn RB Jordan Todman
- Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn
- Arizona LB Brooks Reed
- Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward
- Cal DE Cameron Jordan
- Texas A&M DE Von Miller
- Boise State WR Titus Young
- Texas DE Sam Acho
- Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett
- LSU LB Kelvin Sheppard
- Wisconsin DE JJ Watt
- Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers
-I passed a long a few comments Saturday morning that I heard from various National Football League sources regarding the Ravens’ offseason Defensive Coordinator change. One NFL coach told me, “The Ravens have a chance now with (New DC Chuck) Pagano. The other guy (Greg Mattison) didn’t know what he was doing.”
Other statements I heard from NFL sources said similar things.
Make sure you continue to follow us @WNST on Twitter for all of the latest from Indianapolis.
(Headline photo courtesy of Cleveland Plain-Dealer)