Tag Archive | "Arthur Brown"

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Which Ravens Rookie Will Have the Biggest Impact in 2013?

Posted on 11 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

The Ravens aced the 2013 NFL Draft. They added many talented, hard working players to the team. Many of these talented rookies are competing for jobs and all of them may get a chance to see the field in 2013.

But let me start off by clarifying the usage of impact in the title. Impact, to me, does not mean projecting or looking at the stat sheet. One’s impact can reach far greater than the stat sheet. Doesn’t that sound like the job description of a nose tackle?

Enter Brandon Williams. Williams was drafted 94th overall in the 2013 draft and was brought to Baltimore to help improve the interior of the Ravens defense. The former Missouri Southern State Lion is a small school prospect who will compete with Terrence Cody for the starting nose tackle spot.

Cody had a rough 2012 season. He was consistently thrown around at the line of scrimmage and showed little power in the upper or lower body. As a result, the Ravens defense suffered immensely. The unit finished 17th in total defense but it seemed worse than that.

Ma’ake Kemoeatu was signed by the Ravens in the offseason and played well in stretches but was also pushed around on a routine basis. For a three-four defense to function properly, the nose tackle must eat up blockers at the line of scrimmage. Neither Cody or Kemoeatu were able to keep blockers off linebackers which in turn impacted the entire defense.

Brandon Williams may be a rookie but he is a better option than Cody at this point. There was been talk about using Haloti Ngata at nose tackle but Ngata’s real strength lies in his versatility to lineup anywhere along the line of scrimmage.

The thought of Brandon Williams and Haloti Ngata playing together is awesome. Together, they block out the sun and will be able to keep blockers off the Ravens young linebackers.

Sure, there are other rookies like Matt Elam and Arthur Brown who have the opportunity to start but the nose tackle position is what makes a three-four defense work. If the nose tackle struggles, the entire defense struggles.

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Baltimore Ravens 2013 Season Preview Part Three: Predicting the Biggest Positional Battles

Posted on 06 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

It’s no secret the Ravens are a different team. Starters that must be replaced include Carry Williams, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, Vonta Leach, and Anquan Boldin. Paul Kruger is also gone but he was more of a role player that rotated starts with rookie Courtney UpShaw.

The following are my projections for the most heated roster battles.

Receiver:

Torrey Smith is the only receiver guaranteed a starting spot. Jacoby Jones is a veteran but struggled in Houston when given a larger workload. Therefore, Jones will be competing with Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, David Reed, and LaQuan Williams. So far, Thompson has made the most of offseason workouts. According to reports, he displays great hands and improved route running ability to go along with his blazing speed.

When the Ravens face the Broncos on Sept. 5, Jacoby Jones will start across from Torrey Smith. He is experienced and made plays when given the opportunity last season. The third receiver will be Danton Doss with Deonte Thompson winning the fourth receiver spot on the depth chart. Doss’s skill set translates well to the slot receiver position. His hands, physicality, and ability to get upfield after the catch will make him a nice weapon for Flacco.

Cornerback:

I am a huge Jimmy Smith fan. Smith has too much potential to be the Ravens nickel corner. If he can put everything together, he will be starting opposite Lardarius Webb. Corey Graham would then be the team’s nickel corner. Successfully defending two passes to Michael Crabtree towards the end of the Super Bowl will be positive plays for Smith to build upon.

Chykie Brown could be a sleeper to receive playing time this season. He showed promise last season and played frequently towards the end of the season.

Inside linebacker:

John Harbaugh and the Ravens have a lot of options at inside linebacker. Jameel McClain will likely start. Therefore, the competition really comes down to Arthur Brown and Darryl Smith. Brown was a second round selection in the 2013 draft and is projected to be a defensive rookie of the year candidate. But Smith brings experience and proven ability at inside linebacker. In the beginning of the season, I think Smith will start on running downs and Brown will play on passing downs. Brown has excellent coverage ability and when paired with McClain, they could make up a great duo in pass coverage.

Bryan Hall could also receive playing time pending the training camp competition. Hall played along the defensive line last season but is making the switch to inside linebacker. Hall could play in certain blitz packages but for the most part, will be a special teams player.

Nose tackle

After a solid 2011 season, many thought Mount Cody would break out in 2012. But Cody struggled. He was consistently pushed around and made little impact against teams with great running games. Ozzie Newsome has made an effort to improve the middle of the defense through the draft and free agency. Brandon Williams was drafted in the third round and Marcus Spears and Chris Canty were signed in free agency. Spears and Canty won’t play nose tackle but they will improve the middle of the defense.

I think Brandon Williams will win the starting job. Cody had hip surgery which could explain his poor play in 2012. If Cody can get healthy and play like he did in 2011, the Ravens will have a great rotation at nose tackle.

Center

Replacing Matt Birk will be difficult. Birk was a great leader and will be replaced by either Gino Gradkowski or AQ Shipley. Gradkowski was drafted out of Delaware in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Gradkowski was projected to be the starter once Birk retired but Shipley played very well for the Colts last season. He played so well that he earned a plus 6.9 rating from Pro Football Focus.

Gradkowski is the early favorite but Shipley is a solid veteran that could start should Gradkowski struggle.

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Ngata back on field for first time since Super Bowl knee injury

Posted on 06 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Wednesday’s trip to the White House brought two key Ravens players back to the practice field as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and fullback Vonta Leach were present and working during Thursday’s organized team activity in Owings Mills.

Neither player had been present during the first two weeks of voluntary workouts, but Leach confirmed via his official Twitter account that he had participated in workouts all week as the Ravens concluded their final OTA sessions. Ngata wasn’t in his best physical shape and was a very limited participant but appeared lighter than he did at this point last year when he was criticized for weighing dramatically more than he did during the 2011 season.

Ngata told the team’s official site that he only recently began running again after rehabbing the sprained MCL suffered during the Super Bowl. That’s impacted his conditioning, but the seventh-year defensive tackle expressed confidence that he’ll be ready to go by the start of training camp.

Many have speculated that Leach’s absence during the first two weeks of OTAs was a protest over the Ravens drafting rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round of April’s draft.

“It’s good to have as many guys here as we can possibly have here every single day,” said Harbaugh when asked specifically about Leach’s return. “The more guys we have here, the better we are going to be. We aren’t going to be better if guys aren’t here.

A few significant players remained absent from the field during Thursday’s workout, including linebacker Terrell Suggs, guard Marshal Yanda and defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears. The latter two were both away due to “personal family issues,” according to coach John Harbaugh.

Suggs and Yanda both attended the White House ceremony on Wednesday but weren’t present on the field for any of the Ravens’ OTA sessions open to media.

Others missing from the practice field included linebackers Jameel McClain and Albert McClellan, and center Antoine McClain. A report from The Sun revealed McClellan underwent shoulder surgery earlier this offseason, which explains his limited participation during workouts for which he’s been present.

Rookie linebacker Arthur Brown returned to the practice field on a limited basis despite all signs previously pointing to him being sidelined for the remainder of the spring after undergoing sports hernia surgery. The second-round pick said he’s still on the same four-to-six week recovery track but was pleased to be able to do individual drills as well as a limited amount of team work.

Defensive tackle Terrence Cody (hip surgery), rookie defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (ACL surgery), and rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown were all present for practice but did not participate.

The Ravens will hold their mandatory three-day minicamp next week, which means we should get our first look at players such as Suggs, Yanda, and Canty. However, Harbaugh said there won’t be any heightened sense of urgency for the mandatory workouts.

“We have a sense of urgency every single day,” Harbaugh said. “That’s our mindset here. Our guys have a 100-percent, full-throttle sense of urgency every day. You need to.”

Honest Harbaugh

The Ravens coach didn’t mince any words when asked to share his thoughts regarding recent comments made by second-year outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw about being overweight.

The 2012 second-round pick cited “personal reasons” that have hindered his ability to condition the way he’d like this offseason, but Harbaugh offered a different explanation for why the Alabama product’s weight has ballooned from 271 pounds last year to 285 in Upshaw’s estimation last weekend.

“Courtney’s weight issue — which he does need to lose some pounds — is that he doesn’t eat right,” Harbaugh said. “Courtney eats too much and he doesn’t eat all the right foods. He knows that and that’s something he’s going to have to get a handle on or he’s not going to be the best he can be. He’s aware of it. Everybody in the building is involved with it. He’ll be in fighting shape, I promise you that. ”

With Suggs and newcomer Elvis Dumervil expected to start at the outside linebacker positions, Upshaw finds himself already in a difficult position and doesn’t want to make his way into Harbaugh’s doghouse as others can attest. However, Harbaugh did go out of his way to praise the 23-year-old for his efforts during OTA sessions.

Upshaw collected five tackles and forced a fumble in the Super Bowl while playing 42 of the Ravens’ 62 defensive snaps to conclude a respectable rookie year in which he collected 60 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, and a forced fumble during the regular season.

“He’s playing very well. That’s the first thing,” Harbaugh said. “He understands the defense exceptionally well, and he’s working very hard.”

Daryl Smith not on field yet

Veteran linebacker Daryl Smith wasn’t on the field less than 24 hours after signing a one-year deal, but Harbaugh acknowledged the Ravens have had their eye on the former Jacksonville linebacker for quite a while.

With Jameel McClain still not cleared from a spinal cord contusion despite the Ravens’ optimism, Smith could find a very real opportunity to earn a starting position in the Baltimore defense.

“He’s always been a superb player,” Harbaugh said. “He’s probably a little bit under the radar as far as the national media goes. He’s just been a tremendous player. Everyone in football knows who he is. I think he’s a great fit for our team for who we are, what we are all about. He’s going to do well for us.”

After wearing No. 52 in Jacksonville — which will clearly be off limits in Baltimore — Smith will wear No. 51, the jersey number formerly worn by Brendon Ayanbadejo and issued to Rolando McClain before the troubled linebacker retired from the NFL last month.

Ring ceremony Friday night

The organization has expressed plenty of excitement over the unveiling of the Super Bowl XLVII championship rings on Friday, but wide receiver Torrey Smith offered the quote of the day explaining how he might react upon seeing the extravagant piece of jewelry.

“When it comes to meeting the President and actually seeing the rings, for somebody like me who’s never won a thing, I might act like a woman when she sees her engagement ring. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.”

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Ravens ink second-round pick Brown to four-year deal

Posted on 23 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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The Ravens announced Thursday the signing of second-round linebacker Arthur Brown to a four-year deal.

The Kansas State product becomes the eighth of the Ravens’ 10 draft picks to agree to terms as first-round safety Matt Elam and third-round defensive tackle Brandon Williams. He is expected to compete for one of the starting inside linebacker jobs in Baltimore’s 3-4 base defense after an offseason in which Ray Lewis retired after 17 years and Dannell Ellerbe departed as a free agent to sign with the Miami Dolphins.

Brown is currently sidelined after undergoing sports hernia surgery earlier this month, but he is expect to be 100 percent by the start of training camp.

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Ravens LB Arthur Brown sidelined after sports hernia surgery

Posted on 22 May 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Instead of mixing it up with veterans in the Ravens’ first week of organized team activities, rookie linebacker Arthur Brown is instead sidelined after undergoing sports hernia surgery two weeks ago.

The second-round draft pick had the procedure shortly after the team’s mandatory rookie minicamp earlier this month and will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the spring schedule. Though the news is far from crippling, it does take valuable reps away from the Kansas State product who is projected by most to be a starting inside linebacker in the Ravens’ 3-4 base defense.

“He’s recovering from that,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s a four-to-six week deal and he should be fine soon enough.”

That leaves the Ravens with both projected starters at inside linebacker less than 100 percent as veteran Jameel McClain continues to improve in his recovery from a spinal cord contusion suffered last December. The sixth-year linebacker dressed out to practice and did some limited work during Wednesday’s practice but did not participate in team drills. He has yet to be cleared for full contact, but the expectation continues to be that McClain will be in plenty of time to play this season.

Joining McClain on the practice field in a limited capacity was cornerback Lardarius Webb, who showed impressive quickness in his backpedal despite wearing a brace on his surgically-repaired left knee. The Ravens expect Webb to be 100 percent by the start of training camp in July and his showing on Wednesday suggested that should be a very accurate projection.

The Ravens have offered a positive prognosis on each player throughout the offseason and Webb began running at the beginning of the voluntary offseason workout program in mid-April.

“We’ve been encouraged with Lardarius and Jameel, really throughout,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve both done a great job with their rehab. They’ve had no setbacks, so they’re on schedule.”

Baltimore had two players who underwent groin surgery this offseason in rush end Pernell McPhee and nose tackle Terrence Cody. McPhee was participating fully in Wednesday’s practice while Cody was present but not working. Sixth-round defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore wasn’t practicing as he continues to rehab a surgically-reconstructed ACL.

Linebacker Albert McClellan appeared to be practicing on a limited basis.

There were several key veterans absent from the field for the voluntary workout, including linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive end Chris Canty, fullback Vonta Leach, right guard Marshal Yanda, and wide receiver Jacoby Jones. Harbaugh provided a predictable answer when asked for comment on those players not being present.

“Every guy that comes or isn’t here has their reason, and they are in communication with us,” said Harbaugh, who mentioned that Canty was present on Tuesday. “It’s a voluntary workout. We coach the guys who are here, though.”

Asked to comment on Jones’ third-place finish in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Harbaugh offered congratulations to his No. 2 wide receiver and return specialist for the way in which he represented the organization, but you could also tell the Ravens head coach is eager to see Jones get back to football.

Jones has told the organization he’s remained in great condition while taking part in the competition and will report to Owing Mills for work on Thursday.

“I was proud of Jacoby through the whole thing. I am looking for him on the next flight back here to Baltimore, Jacoby,” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “He should be getting off the plane any second here at BWI. Should be expecting him tomorrow — will be looking for him. He should be in great shape. I thought he did great.”

Tight end Ed Dickson took part in Wednesday’s practice despite having not yet signed his restricted original-round tender. According to a team official, Dickson along with the Ravens’ four exclusive-rights players — running back Bobby Rainey, safety Omar Brown, safety Anthony Levine, and linebacker Adrian Hamilton — were all practicing after signing offseason workout program and minicamp participation agreements.

A similar agreement is used for unsigned rookie draft picks that allows for participation in OTAs and minicamp practices.

 

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Ravens Dodge Bullet with McClain Retirement

Posted on 15 May 2013 by jeffreygilley

That makes two inside linebackers that have retired from the NFL this offseason in Baltimore. Ray Lewis is a future Hall of Fame player and beloved icon in the sports world. Rolando McClain, an immensely talented but troubled individual with off the field issues that prevented him from becoming the star many projected him to become.

When the Ravens signed Rolando McClain, I told myself there could only be two possible outcomes. McClain could resurrect his career under the leadership the Ravens possess. Or, McClain could continue his troubled ways and fail. There could be no in-between.

With McClain’s retirement today, it seems the latter is true. At just 23 years old, Rolando McClain has retired from the NFL.

So where do the Ravens go from here? First of all, the team did not invest much in McClain’s long-term future. Not only was his contract for merely one year, the team also drafted Arthur Brown in the second round of the NFL draft.

Brown will have to step in and start right away. There is still uncertainty surrounding Jameel McClain’s injury and Josh Bynes is largely unproven. But Brown will be able to handle the pressure of starting right away. He is incredibly fast and is a good tackler in space. Brown should be in contention for defensive rookie of the year.

Largely, the Ravens dodged a huge bullet with McClain’s retirement. They have brought in some veteran leaders this offseason and McClain’s terrible attitude could have impacted locker room chemistry. While I love the potential McClain has, I am ultimately happy he has been decided to retire and will never suit up in a Baltimore Ravens uniform.

Another player who could make an impact at inside linebacker could be Bryan Hall. Hall is a former defensive tackle who has changed positions to inside linebacker. Jarret Johnson made a similar change for the Ravens and became a beloved member of the team for a long time.

If the Ravens were to play a game tomorrow, the starters at inside linebacker would most likely be Arthur Brown and Jameel McClain. Brown and McClain are not household names but they have the potential to be a great duo for a long time.

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Ravens rookies getting feet wet in Owings Mills this weekend

Posted on 03 May 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Chosen by the Ravens to begin working toward a third championship in franchise history, a collection of rookie draft picks and free agents took the practice field in Owings Mills for the first time on Friday.

But before any of these first-year players can entertain thoughts of how big their respective roles will be during the 2013 season and beyond, simple tasks such as lining up in the huddle correctly or even finding the locker room must be mastered in their first mandatory minicamp. Adjusting to the speed of an NFL practice is challenging enough, but diving headfirst into a playbook more complex than any encountered in college will be a chore players won’t master for quite some time.

It’s all about baby steps, starting with first-round safety Matt Elam and finishing with the undrafted rookies trying to gain favor with head coach John Harbaugh and the rest of the staff in their first weekend together.

“You just take a couple of minutes at a time. I know we have lunch, so that’s what I’m looking forward to right now,” said fourth-round linebacker John Simon as he laughed. “Then, we have meetings, so [I’m] not getting too ahead of yourself and just slowly getting through the day – putting your focus into everything.”

Following an offseason filled with free-agent departures, retirements, and difficult releases, the Ravens view this draft as a pivotal step in replenishing a championship team with young talent ready to play immediately, whether it be as a starter or a key reserve. This is especially true on the defensive side of the football where the Ravens lost six key contributors and already view Elam as well as second-round inside linebacker Arthur Brown as projected starters against the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

Unlike other organizations plagued with prolonged spells of losing or lukewarm success, the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII title brings instant credibility in getting rookies to buy into their message with no questions asked. Of course, general manager Ozzie Newsome and his scouts have made a point to identify high-character players with team-centric goals that take precedent over personal accolades.

Understanding the organization’s way of doing things can’t be learned overnight, but the message is clearly expressed from the moment rookies walk into the building.

“I walked into the locker room and the first thing I saw was, ‘Team. Team. Team,’” Brown said. “That was definitely comforting to me, just recognizing that it is all about the team. I come from a school that definitely focuses on a team effort, so really just seeing that from the coaching staff and the other players is definitely what I am all about.”

Competing with Cody

Third-round pick Brandon Williams admits to having a chip on his shoulder after hearing the doubts about his NFL potential coming from Division II program Missouri Southern State, but the 335-pound defensive lineman couldn’t help but smile when asked about the opportunity he’s received in Baltimore.

Newsome made no secret about his team’s need to get stronger at the nose tackle position after Terrence Cody and Ma’ake Kemoeatu struggle at the spot throughout the 2012 season. The Ravens invested free-agent money in veteran defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears to strengthen the defensive line but waited until the second day of the draft to identify Williams as a viable option at nose tackle.

And with Cody entering the final year of his rookie contract and failing to live up to expecations, Williams sees a golden opportunity to etch out a key role in the defensive line rotation.

“I love it. It’s great being here competing,” Williams said. “[Cody will] make me better; I’ll make him better. It’s just a team thing and a [defensive] line thing. We both can feed off of each other’s energy and play.”

Of course, with the Ravens’ extensive depth at defensive end, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata could see more time playing inside, but there’s no disputing the opportunity that Williams has to make his mark in his first professional season.

No replacing Ray

Brown has heard the comparisons to the incomparable Ray Lewis since before the Kansas State linebacker was even drafted by the Ravens as his possible replacement, but the second-round pick is taking it all in stride.

Understanding there’s no way he can put himself in the conversation with one of the greatest defensive players in league history, Brown is looking forward to learning from the many remaining veterans influenced by the future Hall of Fame linebacker as well as crossing paths with Lewis himself. Expectations will be high after the Ravens moved up six spots in the second round to take him after suffering the losses of both Lewis and free-agent departure Dannell Ellerbe this offseason.

“The way I look at it is [there’s] no replacing Ray Lewis,” Brown said. “He is still a part of this team. He has had a major impact on so many of guys that are already here. Really, I am just an addition looking to fulfill my role and be an impact player.”

Brown’s biggest competition for a starting job alongside Jameel McClain appears to be fourth-year linebacker Rolando McClain, who carries severe baggage from his days in Oakland as well as an arrest earlier this month that took place less than two weeks after he was signed to a one-year contract. His troubles coupled with Brown’s selection have led many to wonder whether the 2010 first-round pick will even make it to training camp as a member of the Ravens.

Taking the Harvard baton

In addition to answering questions about a potential competition with Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, fourth-round selection Kyle Juszczyk of Harvard has been asked about his connection with retired Ravens center Matt Birk, who attended the same Ivy League school.

Juszczyk and Birk are both represented by agent Joe Linta and kept in touch over the last month as the former learned his draft fate. In addition to clarifying the pronunciation of his name — saying it’s like “you ‘use’ a ‘check'” — the rookie fullback shared Birk’s advice in preparing him for what to expect in the locker room as a Harvard product.

“On draft day he texted me, congratulated me [and] told me he thought I’d do well,” Juszczyk said. “He apologized and said, ‘Guys in Baltimore don’t think Harvard guys are too smart anymore –- sorry about that.’”

Even in retirement, Birk’s sense of humor can still be felt in Owings Mills.

Simon on Meyer

Simon received arguably the best compliment of any of the Ravens’ 10 draft picks when Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said he would name his son after the Buckeyes defensive end after he served as a two-time captain in Columbus.

Projected to play outside linebacker in Baltimore’s 3-4 system, Simon was appreciative of his college coach’s words — even if they were uncharacteristic based on his perception of Meyer.

“He never really said it to my face, so I’ve never actually heard it, but I’ve heard other people talk about it,” Simon said. “He’s a blunt person. He tells it like it is. For him to say something like that about myself, it’s special to me and I respect the hell out of the guy. It means a lot.”

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Ravens assigning numbers, handing out contracts to rookies

Posted on 02 May 2013 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens welcoming their new batch of rookies to Owings Mills for their mandatory minicamp this weekend, they got down to business with signing some of their 10 draft picks from the Class of 2013.

The drama of rookie contracts has largely been eliminated since the introduction of a new system with the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011, so signings have become mere formalities with holdouts and delayed negotiating now things of the past. The contracts of drafted rookie players are set at four years — first-round contracts contain an option for a fifth season — with rookie free agents receiving three-year contracts. While contract figures aren’t slotted with a fixed amount, each team is given a rookie cap figure by which to abide.

According to The Sun, the Ravens have reached four-year agreements with fourth-round fullback Kyle Juszczyk, fifth-round offensive lineman Ricky Wagner, sixth-round defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, sixth-round center Ryan Jensen, seventh-round wide receiver Aaron Mellette, and seventh-round cornerback Marc Anthony.

In addition to handing out contracts to six of their 10 draft choices, the Ravens officially assigned jersey numbers to each player and can be seen below:

S Matt Elam – No. 31
LB Arthur Brown – No. 59
NT Brandon Williams – No. 98
LB John Simon – No. 47
FB Kyle Juszczyk – No. 40
OL Ricky Wagner – No. 71
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore – No. 67
C Ryan Jensen – No. 77
WR Aaron Mellette – No. 80
CB Marc Anthony – No. 36

The Ravens have also issued No. 51 to troubled linebacker Rolando McClain, which will lead many to wonder whether we’ll actually see the 23-year-old linebacker suit up in Baltimore. The second-round selection of Brown certainly clouded McClain’s future even more than it already was following an arrest two weekends ago.

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Interesting post-draft roster decisions with early look at 2013 Ravens depth chart

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Luke Jones

With the 2013 NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror, general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens can now begin looking at the offseason roster with a clearer picture of what they’ll have when they travel to Denver for the Sept. 5 season opener.

Of course, there will be a few more additions or subtractions of some consequence between now and the start of training camp in late July, but any drastic changes are unlikely with the Ravens holding just under $4 million in salary cap space.

The Ravens will likely use some of that remaining cap room to address offensive tackle after only coming away with Wisconsin tackle Ricky Wagner in the fifth round of the draft. The Badgers left tackle will likely be moved inside to guard as it’s not believed that his feet are quick enough to handle the position at the next level, meaning Kelechi Osemele is still in line to be the team’s starting left tackle if the season were to begin now.

The obvious veteran still on the free-agent market is left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who has remained in touch with the Ravens this offseason but visited with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The 33-year-old McKinnie told WNST.net in a text message that the only post-draft contact he’s had from the Ravens came with run-game coordinator Juan Castillo and right tackle Michael Oher.

A CBSSports.com report said McKinnie is also scheduled to visit with the San Diego Chargers, but the 11-year veteran provided his own update on the visit with the Dolphins on Monday afternoon.

“Just finished a good day of meetings & workouts!” McKinnie wrote on his official Twitter account. “This was the gear of choice 4 2day! Nothing final…”

Even if McKinnie signs elsewhere and Osemele ultimately receives the nod to protect quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside, you’d expect the Ravens to at least add another veteran tackle since Jah Reid and Ramon Harewood would then factor heavily into the competition for the starting left guard spot. With no other additions, Oher would clearly be the replacement for Osemele in the event of an injury, but that would open a huge hole on the right side of the line.

Fullback is another interesting position to watch after the Ravens drafted Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk with their second fourth-round pick on Saturday. All things being equal, you wouldn’t expect the rookie to supplant three-time Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, but the veteran’s hefty cap figure puts him at the top of the list of potential cuts should an opportunity to add a pricier veteran arise between now and the start of the season.

Newsome was asked following the conclusion of the draft what Jusczcyk’s selection meant for Leach’s future, but the Ravens executive didn’t exactly provide a guarantee that Leach would be opening running lanes for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce in 2013. Baltimore won’t cut Leach for the sake of simply saving $3 million in cap space, but if they need more cap space to address another need such tackle or wide receiver, the Ravens won’t hesitate to give Jusczcyk the starting job.

“We want to make decisions based on how guys perform out on the football field,” Newsome said. “We’re going to get Kyle in here, and the thing we like about Kyle other than his ability to play on the offensive side is we expect him to be a very good special-teams contributor. Could there be a place for both of them? Yes, there could be, because as John and I try to put our 53-man squad together, we want to keep the best 53 players.”

Troubled inside linebacker Rolando McClain remains with the Ravens as of Monday afternoon, but you have to wonder how much shorter his leash became after the selection of Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown. Considering the Ravens traded up in the second round to select Brown in fear of another team taking him before their scheduled pick at 62nd overall, you’d expect that coach John Harbaugh envisions him to be a starter from Day 1.

To this point, the Ravens have said all the polite things about McClain’s latest arrest on April 21 and his right to due process, but the need to keep an average player with such baggage diminished greatly after adding one of the top inside linebackers in this year’s draft class. You have to wonder if McClain will even make it to training camp at this point, or whether he’ll be able to keep himself out of trouble between now and then.

“He is one of the 90,” Newsome said on the final day of the draft. “We’re going to make the determination, starting Sunday, who we think is going to be on our top 53. We’ll start making those decisions. It’s going to be some tough decisions, but as of right now, Rolando is still a part of our football team.”

Below is an all-too-early look at the 2013 depth chart, which doesn’t include undrafted rookie free agents until the full list is officially announced by the Ravens. High draft picks such as Matt Elam and Brown are viewed more favorably than lower-round selections like Ryan Jensen and Aaron Mellette in terms of where they rank on the current depth chart. In many cases, roster holdovers from previous seasons have been given the nod over rookies with the full understanding that some — if not many — will be supplanted.

Teams are allowed to have a maximum of 90 players on their offseason roster.

Projected post-draft 2013 depth chart

Offense
QB: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Caleb Hanie
RB: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey, Damien Berry, Lonyae Miller
FB: Vonta Leach, Kyle Juszczyk
WR: Torrey Smith, David Reed, LaQuan Williams, Aaron Mellette
WR: Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, Tori Gurley
TE: Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Alex Silvestro
LT: Kelechi Osemele
LG: Jah Reid, Ramon Harewood, Antoine McClain
C: Gino Gradkowski, Ryan Jensen, Reggie Stephens
RG: Marshal Yanda, Ricky Wagner, Jack Cornell
RT: Michael Oher, David Mims

Defense
DE: Chris Canty, Pernell McPhee, DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore
NT: Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Brandon Williams
DT: Arthur Jones, Marcus Spears, Swanson Miller
Rush: Terrell Suggs, John Simon, Michael McAdoo
Will: Arthur Brown, Rolando McClain, Albert McClellan, D.J. Bryant
Mike: Jameel McClain, Josh Bynes, Bryan Hall, Nigel Carr
Sam: Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Adrian Hamilton, Spencer Adkins
LCB: Lardarius Webb, Chykie Brown, Chris Johnson, Marc Anthony
SS: Matt Elam, James Ihedigbo, Christian Thompson
FS: Michael Huff, Emanuel Cook, Omar Brown, Anthony Levine
RCB: Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith, Asa Jackson

Special Teams
K: Justin Tucker
P: Sam Koch
LS: Morgan Cox
KR: Jacoby Jones, David Reed, Deonte Thompson
PR: Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, Lardarius Webb

 

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Ten thoughts on Ravens’ 2013 draft picks

Posted on 28 April 2013 by Luke Jones

Because I refuse to put a grade on a draft that needs a couple years in order to truly be evaluated, I instead offer a thought on each of the 10 selections the Ravens made in the 2013 NFL Draft this weekend.

Some are serious, others are not, and you can guarantee you won’t find a silly letter grade attached to any of them.

1. Round 1 – S Matt Elam, Florida
Thought: The Ravens are over the moon for Elam, but you do wonder if his propensity for the big hit will draw untimely penalties in the same way Bernard Pollard would.

2. Round 2 – LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Thought: No one will ever be Ray Lewis, but Brown’s skill set provides the Ravens with a complete linebacker who’s strong in pass coverage, something they were severely lacking.

3. Round 3 – DT Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern State
Thought: It’s great that the 335-pounder can walk on his hands, but that act of athleticism is too reminiscent of Kyle Boller being able to throw a football through the uprights while on a knee at the 50 for me to really care.

4. Round 4 – DE John Simon, Ohio State
Thought: The Jarret Johnson comparisons have already been made, but did Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer mean “John” or “Simon” when he said he’d name his son after the new Ravens outside linebacker?

5. Round 4 – FB Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard
Thought: General manager Ozzie Newsome didn’t dismiss the idea that the Ravens could keep both Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and Juszczyk on the 53-man roster this year, but it wasn’t a ringing endorsement of the idea either.

6. Round 5 – OL Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
Thought: The Ravens technically drafted a left tackle on Saturday, but Wagner’s feet aren’t quick enough for the position at the next level, meaning he’ll likely find a home at guard or right tackle with the Ravens.

7. Round 6 – DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame
Thought: Still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the BCS title game, Lewis-Moore is one to watch for 2014 after being a co-captain and four-year starter for the Fighting Irish.

8. Round 6 – C Ryan Jensen, Colorado State-Pueblo
Thought: Raise your hand if you had never even heard of Colorado State-Pueblo — who brought back football in 2008 after a 24-year hiatus — let alone this offensive lineman prior to Saturday afternoon.

9. Round 7 – WR Aaron Mellette, Elon
Thought: You’ll continually be reminded he’s a seventh-round pick from an FCS school, but it’s difficult not to be intrigued with the 6-foot-2, 217-pound frame and eye-popping production (210 catches and 30 touchdowns in the last two seasons).

10. Round 7 – CB Marc Anthony, California
Thought: You have to feel good for Anthony making it to the NFL after putting up with years of jokes about Cleopatra, Jennifer Lopez, and being a Grammy award-winning singer.

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