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Indy Calling: Workouts Continue As Draft Season Moves Toward Combine

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Indy Calling: Workouts Continue As Draft Season Moves Toward Combine

Posted on 16 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

If the NFL Draft is the “Super Bowl” of NFL Draft season, I believe next week’s trip to Indianapolis, Indiana for the NFL Scouting Combine would qualify as the end of the regular season.

After next week, the Draft season “playoffs” begin as players hold Pro Timing Days on college campuses and private workouts at National Football League facilities.

Before I continue, I remind you of the East West Shrine Game players, the NFLPA Game players, the Senior Bowl prospects and the rest of the Draft prospects we have already profiled.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (UConn)
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)
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)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International)

The Baltimore Ravens made some personnel changes this week, adding CB Marcus Paschal and WR Brandon Jones. Both of those players are little more than guys who are getting Training Camp tryouts.

The team placed the franchise tag on DT Haloti Ngata ensuring his return for at least the 2011 season (if there is one). They also worked out free agent DC Reynaldo Hill.

Despite all of that, my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects to keep an eye on as we move towards the Combine.

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.

CB Aaron Williams (Texas)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5oUaOLG-yE[/youtube]

Our buddy Scott Wright from DraftCountdown.com had the Ravens selecting the 6’1″ junior Longhorns DB at 26th a week ago. (He’s since switched to Colorado CB Jimmy Smith.)

I’m not sure I agreed with the mock, but I definitely wouldn’t be up in arms if Williams was the pick.

Williams has one unique advantage as a 6’1″ corner-the advantage of being two or three inches taller than any corner on the Ravens’ roster (not named Cary Williams).

Williams is best known for the sack that ended the career of then Oklahoma (and now St. Louis Rams) QB Sam Bradford. Unfortunately his senior season might have been most remembered for a TD he gave up to Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon. Blackmon burned a few folks during the 2010 season to be fair.

But Williams was very good for the better part of his three seasons in Austin. He finished his career with 89 tackles, five forced fumbles and four interceptions-including one he returned for a TD.

There’s a good chance he’s on the board at 26. He definitely won’t reach to the team’s pick in the second round. They could possibly trade back and get him-but with question marks surrounding CB’s Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington in free agency-GM Ozzie Newsome and company might not be able to take that chance.

WR Torrey Smith (Maryland)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A_6n_eoI2o[/youtube]

I know what you’re thinking.

“How could I possibly not know everything there is to know about Torrey Smith? I listen to him every Tuesday at 12:30 with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST!”

While I INDEED suggest checking out the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net to hear more from the former Terrapins star, I figured I might pass along a little more information as well.

Smith may ultimately go down as a player who would have been better off sticking around for one more year to make himself a first round pick, but there’s also a chance he’ll be a player whose Draft season alone makes him a first round pick.

Smith will run one of the more important 40 yard dashes at LucasOil Stadium next week, where is expected to post a sub-4.40 time. The only thing working against him will be the fact that fellow former Terps WR Darrius Heyward-Bey lit the Combine on fire two years ago but has disappointed since being selected in the Top 10 by the Oakland Raiders.

Smith wouldn’t address a size need for the Ravens (he’s 6’1″), but he would certainly address a speed need-which Donte’ Stallworth was unable to do during his season in Charm City.

Smith saved his best for last in College Park, grabbing 67 catches for 1,055 yards and 12 TD’s. The only disappointment for Smith in 2010 was his return game, as he tallied just 585 return yards after combining for 2,498 yards and 3 return TD’s between his freshman and sophomore seasons.

While Lardarius Webb and David Reed each came on at the end of the season in their respective return roles, it’s safe to say neither have particularly locked their roles down.

Smith could offer a lot to the Ravens. 26th might be a stretch as of now, but as he rises in Draft season it could very well be the exact spot where he ends up. Before they pull the plug, they’ll probably want to encourage Smith to improve some of the company he keeps…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apWJYZNRyQA[/youtube]

OT Anthony Costanzo (Boston College)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqJrjwjf55c[/youtube]

At this point, it seems unlikely that the Eagles’ 6’7″, 308 pound monster will be around when the Ravens are on the clock at 26.

But with the Jared Gaither situation still very much up in the air and question marks surrounding Michael Oher’s long-term stability at LT; it might be a good decision for Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and company to make a move for a player of Costanzo’s stature.

Costanzo had a remarkable career in Chestnut Hill, having been a starter for four seasons. He was the first true freshman to start on the O-Line for BC in ten years during the 2007 season-which we remember as the year Matt Ryan was a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.

Costanzo had a big week in Mobile, showing off his quick feet and long arms. More impressive (according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com) was his frame, as he displayed a muscular torso despite his mammoth size.

He’s not quite (Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl OT) Joe Thomas as a prospect-but he’s really good. There’s a chance he could become Joe Thomas at the next level.

DE Brooks Reed (Arizona)

brooksreed

There has been plenty of attention given during Draft season to Wildcats DE Ricky Elmore, but Reed is certainly deserving of note himself.

Reed boasts an impressive 6’3″, 262 pound frame and tallied 17 sacks during his career in Tucson. There has been discussion of whether or not he can be and end at the next level or if he’s going to end up being a stand-up guy.

With the Ravens very obviously needing End help, he would have much more potential value to Chuck Pagano’s defense as an end than an OLB. The question is whether or not he can provide a consistent rush from the end position, and we don’t quite know the answer to that.

Reed has plenty of athleticism, having played RB as well as DE in high school. It doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a great athlete at the NFL level, but it certainly speaks to his versatility.

WR Randall Cobb (Kentucky)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i09R28AWgFU[/youtube]

It is REALLY hard to figure out how valuable the former Wildcats star will be at the next level.

During three seasons in Lexington, Cobb played quarterback, running back, receiver and returner. Between the four positions, he was responsible for 42 total touchdowns over those three seasons.

As a more natural receiver in 2010, Cobb was very impressive. He grabbed 84 catches for 1,017 yards and seven TD’s. But it’s hard to figure out if Cobb can make a seamless transition to being a natural receiver at the NFL level.

With a 5’11″ frame, Cobb is going to have to be FAST to really be a dynamic threat in the NFL. At a Pro Timing Day last season, he ran just a 4.55 in the 40 yard dash. Scouts will need to see a time better than that in Indiana next week.

Cobb’s 40 time could be the difference in going as high as the first round or as low as the fourth round. It seems as though 26th would be a stretch for a team like the Ravens, as Cobb probably has to be viewed as a “project” for folks like Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta.

But if Cobb ends up slipping, a project might not be a bad addition to the team’s receiving corps; as long as they further address the need to compliment Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason with a true top target.

OT Joseph Barksdale (LSU)

barksdale

After moving from Right to Left Tackle between his junior and senior seasons, Barksdale has seen his draft stock continue to rise.

The 6’6″, 318 pound big man made the move to the left side for the 2010 season after Ciron Black graduated. The move appears to have paid off, as Barksdale is currently projected amongst the top 10 tackles available in the Draft. He’s not in the Thursday or Friday night conversation as of right now, but he could be moving in that direction as Draft season continues.

Barksdale claimed second team All-SEC honors during his senior campaign in Baton Rouge, helping the Tigers finish 4th in the conference in rushing. He tallied 49 knockdowns at the most important position on the line.

Head Coach John Harbaugh has said he wants OL Marshal Yanda to return to RG (if he returns to the team as a free agent). To do that, the team has to get a player to complement Oher and solidify the tackle position. As the Draft progresses to Friday night/Saturday, Barksdale will be a more attractive option for new O-Line coach Andy Moeller.

RB Shane Vereen (California)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNKfztfmFWE[/youtube]

The Ravens will be looking for a back to compliment Ray Rice should Willis McGahee (as many of us are expecting) be let go. Vereen might very well be a solid option.

Vereen isn’t a big back, but his 5’10″ (205 pound) frame was big enough to allow him to carry the ball 15 or more times in nine of the Golden Bears’ 12 games in 2010. Vereen finished the year with a 5.1 yard per carry average, adding 13 TD’s.

Vereen finished his three year career in Berkeley having rushed 556 times for 2,834 yards and 29 TD’s. He added 874 receiving yards and six receiving TD’s over the three seasons. His numbers (and build) are similar to fellow former Bears back Marshawn Lynch.

Vereen could play his way up the board during Draft season, but without having participated in a College All-Star Game as an early entry his only Draft season statement thus far was an appearance on ESPN2′s All-Star Football Challenge. He’s probably a late Friday night pick right now, which could be the perfect spot for the Ravens to plug him into Cam Cameron’s offense.

DE Cliff Matthews (South Carolina)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajnVMrltDc4[/youtube]

Much like Arizona’s Reed, the Ravens are going to have to determine if Matthews can be a true rush end at the NFL level.

He certainly did a solid job in the role during his four years in Columbia, tallying 13 sacks between his junior and senior seasons. Matthews finished his Gamecocks career with 142 total tackles from the edge.

The Ravens haven’t found a true rush end since the demise (and ultimate departure) of Trevor Pryce. They rotated Ngata, Paul Kruger and even Cory Redding on the edge last season, with none of them settling into the role.

Matthews would certainly bring an impressive frame (6’4″, 268 pounds) to anchor the line, as well as a fairly high motor (expected to run the 40 in the 4.7′s range). He often went against premiere O-Linemen in the SEC (including Barksdale above) and had success.

Early in Draft season, Matthews is a Saturday pick-probably in the 4th-5th round range. It would make sense for the team to draft an end earlier in the weekend, but Matthews could certainly end up being an additional insurance policy.

CB Jalil Brown (Colorado)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84WC_f_3Ip4[/youtube]

While more attention is given to his Buffaloes teammate Smith, Brown certainly has the tools to play at the next level.

Brown (6’0″) isn’t quite as tall as Smith (6’2″), but his size does separate him from other corners in the draft-as well as the corners on the Ravens’ roster. Only Cary Williams (6’1″) from last year’s roster is taller than Brown, although Paschal is also 6’0″. The Ravens’ top corners under contract (Domonique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb) are 5’11″ and 5’10″ respectively.

Brown had a solid career in Boulder, finishing with six interceptions over his final three seasons. His performance was good enough to pick up All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. There may be some concern for NFL scouts due to a shoulder surgery between his junior and senior seasons-but it did not appear to affect him during his senior campaign.

Brown’s 40 time in Indianapolis will go a long way in determining where he will be picked. If he stays in the range of 4.5, he’ll probably be an early Saturday pick. If he cuts under 4.5, he’ll have a chance to be picked Friday night. If he ends up posting a number over 4.5, he’ll be in danger of sliding to late Saturday.

The former Buffs corner has a unique connection to the Ravens. He set an Arizona High School record by once running for 412 yards in a game at South Mountain High School. The player who previously held the record? Ravens LB Terrell Suggs.

S Rahim Moore (UCLA)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im2SZjMaO2A[/youtube]

With Ed Reed’s future almost always in jeopardy and Dawan Landry a free agent, the safety position will have to be addressed by the Ravens in the offseason.

Moore exploded on the Pac 10 scene in 2009, recording 10 interceptions for the Bruins. He tallied just one interception as a junior however before leaving Los Angeles early for the Draft.

While his interception numbers were down in 2010, his tackle numbers increased greatly. He tallied 77 tackles, up from 45 as a sophomore.

Moore has an impressive build (6’1″, 197 pounds) and can work his way up the Draft board by going under 4.5 when he runs the 40 yard dash at the Combine.

He looks like a Friday night pick as of right now. The Ravens could do well to pick him in the second round.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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NFL Draft Season Moves To Alabama For Senior Bowl

Posted on 26 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

NFL Personnel folks didn’t have to travel far this week.

After this past week’s East West Shrine Game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, NFL Draft season shifts from Florida to Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl.

Saturday’s game from Ladd-Peebles Stadium will air at 4pm on NFL Network. Senior Bowl practices will also air throughout the week on NFL Network.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz lead a group representing the organization in Alabama.

Before I continue to with my player profiles, I remind you of the players we have already profiled.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware)
FB-Anthony Sherman (UConn)
RB-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland)
WR-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU)
OT-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada)
DE-Justin Trattou (Florida)
S-Jermale Hines (Ohio State)

With the only movement for the organization this week being the (reported) extension the team gave K Billy Cundiff, there’s no movement in my “biggest areas of need”…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Now here’s a look at 10 players participating in this week’s Senior Bowl who you should keep an eye out for.

WR Leonard Hankerson (Miami)

Look, I don’t want to watch this video again any more than any other Terrapins fans reading this. But the 1:40 mark is a perfect example of something Hankerson could bring to Charm City…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6lp4sxzFlQ[/youtube]

Ugh.

Here’s what we know. Hankerson is 6’2″ (205 pounds), but can both stretch the field and get up and get balls-although maybe not quite as well as some of the 6’4″ and 6’5″ receivers available.

Hankersoon broke Hurricanes single season records in 2010 with 72 catches, 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had 75 receiving yards or more in eight of the Canes’ 13 games his senior year.

Those single season records come from a school that produced the likes of Andre Johnson, Santana Moss and Michael Irvin just as a reminder.

There really aren’t any red flags with Hankerson. There are no obvious character flaws (although he’ll certainly be picked apart when he reaches the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis) and he served as a team captain in Coral Gables last season.

If he was two inches taller, he’d be a slam dunk. If he’s on the board in the 2nd or 3rd round he might still be.

LB Mark Herzlich (Boston College)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzZUA5CZ6IQ[/youtube]

The good news for Mark Herzlich is that no matter what happens in his quest to reach the NFL, he already has enough material for writing his first book.

Herzlich is best known now for his recovery from Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer that caused him to miss the entire 2009 season. But before getting cancer, Herzlich was on his way to being a potential Top 45 pick in the NFL Draft.

In ’08, Herzlich tallied 110 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, six interceptions and two TD returns. He was an absolute wrecking machine.

He was still one of the better linebackers in the ACC when he returned in 2010, but he didn’t post the same type of season. He finished with just 65 tackles, but still forced two fumbles and brought down four interceptions.

He looks like he can still perform at a very high level, but it isn’t a guarantee. NFL teams will take his recovery into account, but they will look at both the positive and negative aspects.

On the positive side, he’s a solid human being who has already shown the ability to to overcome adversity.

On the negative side, teams will have to at least CONSIDER the possibility that he might not ever regain the dominance he showed in Chestnut Hill before his diagnosis.

He might very well be a hell of a player, perhaps the exact type of defender the Ravens could line up next to Ray Lewis and let him learn from the future Hall of Famer.

Neat story-Herzlich was such an impressive athlete coming out of Conestoga High School (Pennsylvania) that was actually offered a lacrosse scholarship by Dave Pietramala at Johns Hopkins. Doesn’t make him a better option, just a neat story.

OT Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjPsgcj2ufI[/youtube]

While Carimi will almost certainly at least START his National Football League career as a Right Tackle, his 6’7″, 325 pound frame will make some scouts think of him as a Left Tackle of the future.

Carimi’s representatives will ABSOLUTELY throw around the name of Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl Tackle Joe Thomas during Draft season. Thomas was also a dominant O-Line force for the Badgers, although he was thought to be more of a slam dunk at the NFL level than Carimi has been thus far.

Not only does Carimi have a solid ability to protect the passer, but he showed quite the ability to run block as well. The Badgers finished second in the league in rushing, just five yards behind Illinois. RB John Clay rushed for over 1,000 yards despite missing two games.

Mobile is a big week for Carimi. Indy will be a big week for him as well. His size and his success in the Big Ten (not only did he take care of NFL prospect/Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward for the most part in the video above, he also handled NFL prospect/Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn as well) combined with a strong Draft season could push him to the Top 10 in the Draft.

But much like Michael Oher, if he’s around in the early to mid 20′s (especially at 26), the Ravens might not think twice to grab him. With Jared Gaither’s future in Baltimore in question, the Ravens could be wise to try to bookend Oher and Carimi moving forward.

LB Casey Matthews (Oregon)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUz2o2a_OXA[/youtube]

As NFL fans watched Matthews lead the Ducks against the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship Game out in Glendale, many of them thought to themselves, “this guy could really help my team.”

Some of those same NFL fans will be watching Clay Matthews (III) lead the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl next week and will think to themselves “my team needs to get his brother.”

It’s with that in mind that I point out Casey Matthews ISN’T Clay Matthews. It doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player that could help NFL teams, it just means he isn’t the type of sack machine his brother has been.

Casey Matthews is more of inside linebacker, perhaps the type of player that could step in and learn the WILL spot that Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden have failed to nail down.

Matthews is 6’1″ and 232 but isn’t quite as quick as a number of other inside linebackers. He averaged over 69 tackles a season from his sophomore year to his senior in Eugene; adding eight sacks, four interceptions and a forced fumble over the same three year span.

The NFL is clearly in his blood. Not only is his brother an All-Pro performer, his father (Clay Jr.) was a four time Pro Bowler over a 19 year career with the Browns and Atlanta Falcons. His grandfather (Clay Sr.) played for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950′s. His uncle (Bruce) was a Hall of Fame OL for the Houston Oilers. His cousin (Kevin) is a lineman for the Tenneessee Titans. His cousin (Jake) just finished his freshman season at Texas A&M and could well reach the NFL too.

He looks like he could hang around for awhile on Draft weekend. If he’s available into late Friday night or Saturday, he could end up being a steal for the Ravens.

(Thanks to Mobile Press-Register for headline photo of Matthews)

DE Allen Bailey (Miami)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-A6SlfWKPo[/youtube]

The Ravens need a Defensive End. Unfortunately for them, Bailey has looked better on the inside of the D-Line in Mobile-at least according to CBSSports.com.

Bailey measured in at 6’3″, 278 pounds in Mobile; which reportedly left him at a not-so-surprising disadvantage when matched up against the better Offensive Tackles participating in the Senior Bowl. It might be nothing more than a blip on the radar screen for a player who will eventually become a dominant Rush End. It might be a sign that Bailey will never truly be an End at the NFL level.

Bailey showed an ability to get after Atlantic Coast Conference quarterbacks, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the next level. He tallied 102 tackles and 19 sacks over his final three seasons with the Canes. He has the moves, but the power is a question.

He might prove to be an effective interior lineman at the next level. But if the consensus is that he’ll be a Defensive Tackle in the NFL, he probably won’t be the guy for the Ravens in the first or second round.

WR Austin Pettis (Boise State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfqGvm5PNuY[/youtube]

Yep. That’s impressive.

There’s a lot that’s impressive about the former Broncos receiver. First, he’s 6’3″ and can get up (as you saw in the video). Second, he’s quick. He’s expected to be able to run in the 4.5′s at LucasOil Stadium.

Pettis finished his career with 229 catches for 2,838 yards and 39 touchdowns. In BSU’s 2010 Labor Day upset of Virginia Tech at FedEx Field, Pettis also blocked a punt and held for an extra point. Later in the season he even THREW for a touchdown.

Clearly some of Pettis’ impressive numbers came from being part of a high-powered WAC offense that included Heisman Trophy QB candidate Kellen Moore and fellow Senior Bowl WR Titus Young. The question will be whether or not he can still be effective at the NFL when a team doesn’t have the football for as many plays and a coordinator (say…Cam Cameron) isn’t calling quite as many passes.

Right now Pettis looks like a potentially dangerous target for QB Joe Flacco if he’s available late Friday night or Saturday afternoon. He could be a solid compliment to Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and whoever else the team lines up at WR.

RB DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBFs5HZwyng[/youtube]

Much like Carimi’s reps will do their best to use the words “Joe Thomas” as much as possible during Draft season, Murray’s reps will ABSOLUTELY look to use the words “Adrian Peterson” as much as possible during the same stretch.

They’ll do well to compare Murray’s explosiveness to the fellow former Sooners back. They’ll unfortunately also remind NFL personnel that Murray (hamstring, knee, etc.) has a bit of an injury background much like Peterson.

Murray’s size (6’1″, 207 pounds) and ability (he once ran a 4.42 40 and recorded a 36.5 inch vertical leap while in Norman) should translate to the NFL with no problem. Murray averaged well over four yards per carry during his career in the Big 12. He ran for 50 touchdowns and caught another 13 over four seasons. The word “explosive” certainly fits.

If he’s available in Round 2, the Ravens would likely do well to pair him with current RB Ray Rice, especially if RB Willis McGahee departs.

QB Colin Kaepernick (Nevada)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq1gL_Q-vO0[/youtube]

This much I know. In Reno, there couldn’t be a negative word said about Kaepernick. The guy is an ICON.

I understand why. Kaepernick LOOKS like a quarterback. He stands at 6’6″ and weighs in at 225 pounds. He’s unbelievably quick, with the capability to run a 4.5 40 (or maybe even under that) at the Combine.

During his four year career with the Wolf Pack, Kaepernick became the only NCAA FBS quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for another 4,000. He was also the only player to ever have three seasons of 2,000+ passing yards and 1,000 plus rushing yards.

At times (including the team’s upset win over Boise State in 2010), Kaepernick looked absolutely brilliant.

There will be one particularly big question mark surrounding Kaepernick during Draft season. NFL personnel folks will have to figure out how much of Kaepernick’s success can be tied to Coach Chris Ault’s “Pistol Offense.” The system was fun to watch and produced explosive numbers-but it isn’t a system that will translate to the NFL level. Kaepernick doesn’t really have much in the way of injury concerns, with his only notable injury being an ankle sprain against the Terps in the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl.

Kaepernick looks like he could be very good. If he keeps performing at a high level during Draft season, he’ll probably be picked too high for the Ravens to consider him as a compliment to Flacco.

OT Nate Solder (Colorado)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76BVEBtw-qk[/youtube]

As of right now, Solder looks like he could very well be in the mix when the Ravens pick at 26.

If so, he could be a VERY tempting option to join new Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller’s group.

Solder is an enigma. His technique and ability didn’t always match his mammoth size (6’9″, 315 pounds) during his Buffaloes career. There were absolutely times where he manhandled players who were clearly matchup problems. There were also times where quicker ends and linebackers were able to move around him.

Reports from Mobile say Solder has struggled against players like Cal’s Cameron Jordan, but has impressed against Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan.

He looks like he could be a franchise tackle; but he’ll need further development. The Buffs weren’t really an offensive juggernaut, but that isn’t necessarily Solder’s fault.

The question for the Ravens will be whether or not a project like Solder is a good compliment to Oher. It’s a fair question. They’ll hopefully get an answer as Draft season progresses.

S Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K2Aj0xujxc[/youtube]

I’ve been having trouble trying to figure out exactly how good Jarrett is.

He had a very good career for the Owls, collecting 292 tackles, forcing two fumbles and tallying nine interceptions. He was often the best player on the field during MAC contests.

Yep…no idea.

Jarrett has the look of a NFL player, checking in at 6’2″ and weighing 202 pounds. He’s agile and looks good in man coverage. He’s not necessarily an Ed Reed-type ballhawk; and might translate better at strong safety at the next level.

He’s probably a Friday night guy at this point. With Dawan Landry potentially leaving, he could be an option to get into the mix with Tom Zbikowksi and Haruki Nakamura next season.

(Thanks to YouTube, NFLDraftScout.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, and various official college websites for help in putting together the profiles.)

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a (semi) Happy Thursday for me, because the bad news is that Andy Roddick suffered his annual collapse last night at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. My alcohol consumption during the match was at an all-time high. As soon as Tipsarevic went up 0-40 on A-Rod’s serve to close the 2nd I knew something bad was happening.

BUT…it isn’t all bad news. For example, if you happened to poke over to MASN2 last night, you might have seen something more awesome than even WWE can offer…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKZk88o4ppw[/youtube]

For the record, Gaby Sanchez’s clothesline > Edge’s spear.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles got to Jon Lester early, but Red Sox rallied to win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

When the Orioles scored four runs in the first inning against Jon Lester, I thought to myself (and asked on via Twitter @WNST) if anyone had a weather report for hell. I was assuming freezing rain myself.

Sadly, Jon Lester turned back into Jon Lester at some point, and the Orioles bullpen that has been very good as of late turned back into the Orioles bullpen that wasn’t even a little bit good for stretches this season. Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon were about as good as…Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon.

(Edit from GMC: That’s not really fair. Mark Hendrickson was good for the vast majority of the season. But that doesn’t really help my point, so I won’t mention it.)

Remember August? August was really good for the Orioles. Maybe if we can find a Hot Tub Time Machine we could go back to then…

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of loss

The good? Felix Pie had a pair of doubles and Adam Jones had a double, 2 RBI and scored a run. Also, Ty Wigginton went 2-3, scoring a run and driving in another.

The bad? While Jake Arrieta gave up just 3 earned runs on 6 hits and didn’t walk anyone, he was also pulled after 5 innings after having already thrown 95 pitches.

You don’t want to look at the numbers. Instead, check out Hope Dworaczyk. This will be much more fun. Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!

hoped

3. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says O’s called up Brandon Snyder, Nolan Reimold, Robert Andino

And for some reason, Reimold was in the lineup last night facing Jon Lester. Luke Scott was not.

(Edit from GMC: I know there was a “reason”. Spare me.)

Word is that Chris Tillman, Rick VandenHurk and Troy Patton are going to follow this group. If this doesn’t sell tickets for Sunday afternoon against the Rays, I’m not sure what will. In fact, I’m pretty sure Rick VandenHurk bobblehead night will be September 15th.

It will be good to see these guys on the field a little bit for the next few weeks, at least for as much as I’ll actually be watching. My guess is that I won’t really be watching that much. I’ve got tennis for the next 10 days and college football starts tonight. You really think I’m going to bother with baseball?

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Birds playing games in September that ‘almost’ matter

I don’t think “almost” is an appropriate term here. I think the more appropriate term is “sorta.”

The fact is, the Orioles are 34 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. They’re not even in the REALM of “almost.”

But there are some things about this September that make it “sorta” meaningful. Extending a good month into a strong close to the season helps in changing the culture in Charm City. Having a good month and then tanking again anyway makes fans think to themselves “same old Orioles.”

It’s “sorta” meaningful. The games are completely irrelevant in terms of baseball, but the end of the season could help in trying to cultivate a dead baseball environment in this area.

To REALLY change the baseball environment in this town, a team would have to win THROUGHOUT the season. Not just for a month-or even two.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Joel Guzman crushed 32nd home run for Bowie Baysox in win over Altoona Curve on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things.

-The Birds and BoSox wrap their 3 game series with a rubber match tonight at OPACY. Brad Bergesen faces Daisuke Matsuzaka, first pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Adam Jones was forced to leave last night’s game with back pain still stemming from being hit by a Gavin Floyd pitch last week. It still doesn’t appear to be a long-term concern, but it’s still an issue a week removed.

-Multiple reports (including MLB.com) say David Hernandez is about a week or so away from returning. That’s good news. But you already knew that.

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens placed Mike McLaughlin on IR to make room for Josh Wilson on roster

And if he hadn’t ended up on IR, the practice squad would have been the other possible destination for McLaughlin. He was an undrafted LB out of Boston College who the Ravens decided to move to FB-which he hadn’t played since high school. He was AT BEST a longshot to make the roster, but will buy himself some time to continue developing over the next year now that he’s on IR.

Of course, if the Ravens were going to make room on the roster for someone-I sorta wish it had been Izabel Goulart. Thanks, Guyism!

izabelg

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Ravens’ game tonight big for bubble guys like Prince Miller, Demetrius Williams, David Reed

I will admit that I’d still be a bit surprised just to see Demetrius Willliams on the field tonight. I know he returned to practice this week and is sort of a “bubble” guy, but it looks more and more like he almost HAS to make the roster-and there doesn’t seem to be anything smart about playing a roster guy with a bad ankle on a terrible carpet.

Prince Miller’s road to the roster got much longer when the Ravens acquired Josh Wilson. Not only does Wilson give the Ravens necessary depth at CB, but he could free up Chris Carr to return punts. Miller will get the chance tonight, but Carr could very well end up being the guy in the regular season. Reed could be in trouble as well-as it looks like he’s behind both Williams and Marcus Smith on the depth chart.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Troy Smith fighting for final roster spot

And you will see PLENTY of the former Heisman Trophy winner tonight. As I’ve said throughout the week on AM1570, expect 4 quarters of Smith tonight-similar to how John Beck went 4 quarters against the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-The Ravens and St. Louis Rams get together at Edward Jones Dome tonight. Kickoff is at 8pm and the game can be seen live on WBAL11 locally. I’ll be joining Thyrl Nelson at 12:30 pm on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to preview the game.

-Did you miss Rams color analyst (and former Super Bowl champion) D’Marco Farr with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other stuff you can hear in the Audio Vault includes…

  • Brian Billick (Former Ravens coach and WNST part owner)-who joined Drew this morning to discuss his “man crush” on Aaron Rodgers (didn’t he have a man crush on another QB from Cal?) and all things NFL
  • Mark Mravich (SI NFL Editor)-who discussed the SI NFL Preview Issue with Drew, including Peter King’s choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers to reach the Super Bowl
  • Paul Azinger (former PGA Championship winner)-who discusses his new book “Cracking the Code” with Drew-a book about being the captain of the 2008 Ryder Cup winning US team
  • Peter Schrager (FoxSports.com)-who joined Drew to preview College Football season, which starts tonight.

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Get there today, and as always-YOU’RE WELCOME!

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens picks Navy to beat Maryland 31-24 Monday at M&T Bank Stadium

I haven’t decided exactly what my pick will be just yet (I’ll announce it tomorrow), but my guess is that I’ll end up picking the Mids by at least 10 points myself.

Speaking of the number 10, here’s a picture of Arianny Celeste from Maxim via NextRound.net….

celeste

10. TowsonTigers.com previews tonight’s season opener at Indiana Hoosiers

If this was Villanova or another good CAA team, the conference would have a real chance to score a major upset. However, it is not-so I’ll take IU at about a 31-6 clip.

The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network. Matt Devlin, Derek Rackley and Stacy Paetz are on the call.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Via Deadspin, here’s a photo of Joakim Noah golfing. That’s all you need to know.

joakim

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Maybe now Cleveland will leave Art Modell alone?

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I’m not an expert about much but Cleveland is something I know a lot about. As much as I like to have some fun with our cousins to the Midwest – it’s been a healthy rivalry ever since Art Modell stepped foot into Parking Lot D in Nov. 1995 – today a little piece of me is angry for them.

It’s true – anger is to Cleveland what fake breasts and sunshine are to California. People in Cleveland are perennially angry. They hate the Browns. They hate Art Modell. They hate losing. They hate whoever is the quarterback of the Browns. They hate that they haven’t won a championship.

They hate me.

And this morning, for the first time since Modell brought us the Ravens, they have a right to be burning 23 jerseys and “M-F-ing” Lebron James into perpetuity.

Sure, “King James” had the freedom to play wherever he wanted to play. Sure, Miami has prettier girls (although I always had a good time in Cleveland, wink, wink) and more sunshine and Chris Bosh and Dewayne Wade and Pat Riley.

But Cleveland held something intrinsic and legitimate that Lebron James sold away in one sentence last night, something that can’t be bought with a check from South Florida (even if it’s just with the tax money saved and put back into his deep, Ocean Drive pockets).

It’s called authenticity.

Lebron had it the way Cal Ripken had it and Tony Gwynn had it. The way Derek Jeter, despite being an outsider, will always have it in New York and Kobe Bryant will have it in Los Angeles, just like Magic Johnson before him.

But even more so, Lebron James was “one of them.” He was an Akron kid who never left home and created a basketball craze in Cleveland that you’d have to see to believe. There’s a whole city of commerce and bars and jerseys and enthusiasm in a forever depressed and decaying community.

It gave people in Cleveland the most precious commodity that sports provides and one this is sorely lacking in Baltimore regarding baseball: hope.

In my private times with Art Modell, it’s the one thing he always talked about that was essential for any fan of a sport or a franchise. If you have hope, you have something that gets people interested.

I don’t need to tell you that Cleveland has been the armpit of America for years and hope is a wonderful thing for depressed communities.

This is where I should tell you that I really love Cleveland. I’ve gone there religiously for almost 20 years and despite having some of the worst sports fan in country (only contested by Philadelphia, in real terms) I pull for Cleveland to at least not be a doormat.

Cleveland and Baltimore are a lot alike. And it wouldn’t take you a few hours there chatting with the people to see it and feel it.

In my humble opinion, “Cleveland rocks!” (Just don’t tell anybody I said that…)

Cleveland was spurned last night. And they’re angry. And they’re burning jerseys. And they should. Hell, it’s what I’d be doing if I gave my soul to Lebron James and the Cavaliers over the last five years.

For the same reasons we collectively booed Mark Teixeira last Opening Day at Camden Yards, the people of Cleveland will forever hold a special place in their hearts for the anger and outrage of what Lebron James has chosen to do.

Like any other self-interested mega-star who is treated like a “King,” Lebron James eschewed any civic responsibility and chose to abandon his community.

Tsk, tsk…

Most of you know, I used to be a pretty huge NBA fan. The last 10 years I’ve chosen to ignore it and it’s been a fine decade for me. I think the players come off as a bunch of collective douche bags, the games are awful to watch and I have zero interest in the personalities or the standings.

But, this isn’t about Lebron James or basketball or the NBA. This is about doing the right thing. The thing that’s bigger than you. The thing that REALLY makes you “special.”

Lebron James chose selfish. And any 25-year old is allowed that privilege.

But Cal Ripken didn’t run off to the Dodgers. And Tony Gwynn didn’t run off to the Mets.

And they will forever reap the rewards of their “sacrifice.”

Lebron James, the man, will forever be remembered for an absurd evening of a July “Lebronathon” on ESPN where he took every negative stereotype consistent with “Rod Tidwell-ish” behavior and displayed it on worldwide TV and chose THE WRONG PLACE!

There was no Jerry Maguire, no happy landing for this imbecile. Wait’ll that first Christmas Day when the Miami Heat come to Cleveland to play a lunch time game. Just wait…

There will be a price to pay for the rest of eternity for Lebron James, even if he wins seven rings and surpasses Michael Jordan — and only time will tell how that script will be written.

But last night was memorable – for all of the wrong reasons. The NBA jumped the shark for a lot of people last night with that display.

I know I’ll always cheer against him. The Miami Heat are interesting to me because they’ll be my least favorite team in my least favorite sport.

The ultimate price for Lebron James will be that he can never go home again.

Somewhere in Northern Baltimore County Art Modell has felt the weight lifted from him.

Lebron James will be the guy they burn in effigy in Cleveland for the next 20 years.

Maybe Lebron should give Art a call for some advice.

Last night, Cleveland – the city that hates — was given a fresh, new gaping wound that will probably never be healed unless the next Lebron James is on some playground in Parma Heights right now.

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FREE THE BIRDS T-shirts now on sale here…

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FREE THE BIRDS T-shirts now on sale here…

Posted on 03 May 2010 by WNST Staff

It’s been nearly four years and there’s been no progress in Orioles baseball in Baltimore. Are you “Petered” out? State your feelings with the 2010 Official and Original “FREE THE BIRDS” T-shirt here. We’re planning an event in May that will be a civic call-to-action to have your voices heard about the state of “The Birds.”

For now, you’ll have to settle for this lousy T-shirt…

Made with 1000% hometown orange love and pride, you’ll enjoy your conversations about what’s wrong with the local baseball team. And then maybe there will be serious action taken on how to fix it.

The message on the back of the shirt should make it clear:


Free The Birds

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Let’s check back in on the “State of Baltimore Sports Media” with Orioles sitting at 2-14 on NFL Draft Day

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Let’s check back in on the “State of Baltimore Sports Media” with Orioles sitting at 2-14 on NFL Draft Day

Posted on 22 April 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

So this media situation is exactly what I tried to warn everyone about back in February. I spent a week with my “State of Baltimore Sports Media” blogs attempting to take 27 years of my knowledge as a kid from Dundalk who loved sports and journalism and has spent a lifetime trying to build a better platform for integrity and honesty in an effort to enlighten folks about why we think WNST.net is a great way to communicate in 2010.

The Orioles are 2-14.

It’s almost unthinkable — unimaginable given the “enthusiasm” that was sold by the corporate suits over at CBS Radio and the MASN “partners” of a 13-year running sham known as Peter G. Angelos’ Orioles. Don’t worry, the rest of the local media that takes checks from King Peter and the crew aren’t off the hook here, either, for hiding the truth and burying the story about last week’s Ripken blowup.

The Orioles are 2-14 and there’s not a negative word – not anywhere. There’s no call for the manager’s head. The owner – completely unaccountable and in hiding longer than the guy in the cave in the Middle East – never answers questions. The Ripken story has gone away until his camp leaks the next story to Rosenthal, who quite honestly, probably doesn’t need to be called a liar again with his next “scoop” given his 25-year track record of integrity in reporting about Baltimore baseball’s real inner workings.

And the general manager, Andy MacPhail, known throughout Major League Baseball as the heir to the throne of Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig, he of blue-blood baseball royalty, is scratching his head and working day and night with his “media partners” to make sure this Ripken P.R. move doesn’t come back into play again this week while he figures out how to fire Dave Trembley and not have his neck enter the guillotine next here in Baltimore.

Oh, and the team is 2-14 and headed for 12 in a row against the Red Sox and Yankees.

But, really, MacPhail’s true play here is to practice to become the next commissioner of Major League Baseball. His job here ISN’T to win. It’s to MAKE MONEY. And doing that, amidst ridiculous circumstances and an absolutely insufferable owner in a situation where virtually every thinking person in the community has turned its collective back on the franchise that Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson and Cal Ripken built here for our fathers and grandfathers, will show him to be “Commish worthy” when Selig steps aside from his Baseball Digest, typewriter and carrier pigeon and leaves the throne of his $18 million per anum “leadership role” with Major League Baseball.

Bud Selig

Rest assured, Andy MacPhail is doing a great job as far as Peter Angelos is concerned.

MacPhail is printing money, keeping the “media” off Peter’s back and he doesn’t even have to leave the Baltimore home office when the team goes to the West Coast and the manager is under fire and the team is 1-11 and losing in front of no one in the middle of the night.

Get this: while Trembley was out West trying to hold the sinking ship together, MacPhail was back here trying to figure out how to sell Brad Komminsk to the Baltimore fans as the next savior/manager/scapegoat put in an impossible situation where you “can’t compete.”

Hey those aren’t my words, they’re MacPhail’s words as you can read here in Glenn Clark’s blog from Opening Day via USA Today (another Selig mouthpiece, whose “journalists” should be here in Baltimore writing about how Angelos has killed baseball in Baltimore).

And while the team continues to flounder in every measurable fashion except their corporate bank account, which is filled with riches every month when the Comcast check hits their desks over at MASN, the community suffers and wonders if it’ll ever change.

Again, they’re 2-14 and have 12 in a row coming up against Boston and New York. They haven’t played a meaningful game since 1997. There were less than 5,000 people in the ballpark two weeks ago. Last week, there was tumbleweed blowing down Pratt Street. Next week, the city will be overrun with 35,000 Red Sox and Yankees fans for the 10th summer in a row.

This is an Agent Orange, Code Red earthquake, tsunami and volcano simultaneously and NO ONE in the media says ANYTHING.

NEVER!

Companies that are in last place perennially – and again this has been THIRTEEN YEARS of lousiness, never even hovering near mediocrity in any measurable category – should not be siphoning money from people’s pockets via cable television so they can make record profits in the middle of an economic depression while leaving the citizens with a product that shames them when they put on the same cap that Brooks and Frank wore.

With their unfriendly fan habits of jacking up ticket prices on game nights and their consistent lying, hiding and losing, downtown Baltimore will be a ghost town this summer on game nights as this team will clearly never get out of last place.

And yet no one says a word.

Businesses and the downtown business community sit dormant on spring and summer nights as this awfulness continues.

And there’s no columnist at The Sun who will even touch the Ripken-Angelos story with any credible information or investigation. There are no radio pundits or six o’clock news sports anchors who will step up and say the obvious: 2-14 is a disgrace and people should be as pissed as Nestor and the folks at WNST are!

Of course, if they did “speak up” they’d either be fired by their bosses (see: CBS Radio, TV & MASN sleep in) or they’d have their press pass revoked, like yours truly.

Where are the economic impact studies from those geniuses over at The Daily Record and The Baltimore Business Journal? And what about Baltimore Magazine (oh, that’s right, poor Steve Geppi is tied into this mess and it must break his heart as well because no one loves the team more than him)?

Four years after nearly a decade of losing created the Free The Birds movement the first time around — and nothing has changed except the names and the lower payroll and higher profits for the Angelos group.

The Ripken story is actually kind of incredible. In my nearly 27 years of local journalism this is the most baffling situation I’ve encountered and one that really bears watching closely because it will affect a generation of baseball and where the sport is headed in Baltimore.

Ripken lives here. He knows how screwed up it is. He’s not stupid and he’s not weak and he’s not one to “back down.” He wants to fix the Orioles. He wants to own the Orioles. He wants to run the Orioles.

Some think he can – successfully – and many of his detractors think he can’t but EVERYONE agrees his image would be a welcomed addition circa 2010 and it can’t make things worse.

And if he DOES get inside The Warehouse (which would only happen over Andy MacPhail’s dead body, mind you) could he actually survive it?

But at what cost? And with whose rules? And how would it go down if the team STILL continued to lose and treat people poorly even after Ripken got inside the building?

By the way: there’s NO WAY Andy MacPhail will EVER allow Cal Ripken to be a part of the Orioles organization while he’s “in charge.” MacPhail wants nothing to do with any former player of the collusion era of baseball being in any position to see the books of this cash cow.

Ripken was a “good boy” as an Angelos employee from most accounts but was a quiet firestorm of stubbornness in the clubhouse and really “ran the place” and managers in orange always gave him a special set of rules.

One thing you can definitely say about Angelos. In King Peter’s world, HE makes the rules.

His little “love in” with a few reporters notwithstanding last weekend, Angelos doesn’t consider Cal Ripken to be anything special. No more special than Brooks Robinson or Frank Robinson or Jon Miller or any other baseball player or personality who is “just another guy.”

Peter Angelos is making upward of $40 million in profit off the team this year and he clearly isn’t all that concerned about his reputation or pride 13 years into this mess. His words fended off Cal Ripken last week and the rest of the media will just let it go away until someone in the national media drops the next bomb.

In my opinion, Ripken isn’t “going away.”

And neither am I.

I’ll be opining frequently about this topic and I have plenty of information coming to me from various sources and I have a very good feel for what’s happening. And anyone who thinks last week’s leak from Rosenthal was an “accident” or a “lie” is just naïve. (And there’s no argument I’ll make here to make the Kool Aid drinkers believe it, but all of the scuttlebutt between Ripken and Angelos is very, very real.)

So tonight as you watch the NFL Draft (and hopefully drop by to have a chat with our hosts here in the LIVE CHAT anytime after 7:30 and throughout the weekend – Friday we have NFL Draft, Caps & Orioles all at the SAME TIME!) think about my ridiculously long missive back in February.

Here are the five links to my piece. If you’re bored during the draft, I’d be honored if you go back and read them:

And if you haven’t taken our survey, please do so here. (It really helps us make WNST.net better when you tell us what you like and what you hate!)

This weekend as you turn your dial and turn the pages of whatever you’re reading in the paper or on the internet, think about who you are listening to and what they’re saying and who they work for and what side of their bread their boss is buttered on when the team is 2-14.

It’s abundantly clear who is saying what because everyone should be saying SOMETHING when the team is 2-14.

And if they REALLY cared about Baltimore — or they were “friends you can turn to” — would they really keep filling your collective ears with the manure that’s been going on here for 13 years?

Once again, we’re standing up for Baltimore when the corporate media whores tell you lies and obstruct the truth about the Orioles and how devastating and unnecessary this whole mess has been since 1998.

We’re not a part of the problem — we’re a part of the solution, which does not include more years of denial and lies by people like Greg Bader and Andy MacPhail.

We give you the truth. We work hard to bring you the breaking news. We work incredibly hard to source information and make sure the information we dispense is credible and fair. And then we interact and talk with you about Baltimore sports and why we spend so much of our lives immersed in it.

That’s what we’ll be doing all weekend around the NFL Draft.

Have a great draft weekend. I’ll see you in the chat room or on Facebook or Twitter this weekend.

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Cal Ripken issues statement regarding Angelos & Orioles

Posted on 19 April 2010 by WNST Staff

STATEMENT FROM CAL RIPKEN, JR.

“In my baseball experience, rumors and stories seem to break when things aren’t going well. Let me address recent media reports.

“First I want to say that Mr. Angelos never said that he didn’t want me to get credit for any success that the club might have.  That’s just not true.

“I have had a very good relationship with Peter for a long time.  He has been an advisor to me, a great supporter of my foundation and it is because of him that we have an Orioles affiliate in Aberdeen.

“I have met with Andy and Peter on a number of occasions to discuss many subjects. Ultimately our discussions have turned to baseball, the Orioles and me. I have enjoyed those talks very much, and yes the subject has been broached about me potentially joining the organization. I look forward to those talks continuing.

“I have been consistent in my statements about a return to baseball since my retirement in 2001.  With my son Ryan approaching the end of high school in a couple of years I have been thinking more seriously about a return to the big league game. I am more excited now to explore all opportunities and find the right situation that could lead me to the next phase of my life.”

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Cal Ripken & Ken Rosenthal vs. Peter Angelos: Who do you believe?

Posted on 17 April 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

It was only a matter of time. This orange collision course of wills regarding the Orioles and Peter Angelos vs. Cal Ripken finally exploded late last night when Ken Rosenthal leaked a story on FoxSports.com that claimed via several MLB sources that Ripken and Andy MacPhail met earlier this week regarding some kind of employment/partnership within the organization.

Rosenthal: “Angelos, however, nixed the idea in a separate conversation with Ripken, telling him, according to three sources, that he did not want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence.”

So, what exactly transpired here this week between Ripken and the current Orioles regime? And how did Ken Rosenthal wind up back in the middle of a Baltimore baseball triangle with the owner of the team and Cal Ripken?

As is always the case with Angelos, there’s a “morning after” dispute as to what happened and he has since answered with another one of his famous press releases feigning innocence and an open invitation to Ripken.

Having been through the wars of Baltimore sports media since 1984, I’ve lived through the Rosenthal-Angelos wars of the 1990’s. I saw it all first hand and there was a time when I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure Rosenthal – who was the lead sports columnist for The Baltimore Sun — was telling the truth. I remember Kenny being absolutely vilified back in 1996-1997-1998 when all of these bizarre circumstances were happening around the team every day because Angelos essentially had no clue how to run a baseball team.

And Rosenthal would always write stories with some facts so bizarre that it almost lacked believability in whole. And then Angelos would do EXACTLY what he did today – issue a statement exonerating himself and essentially call Rosenthal and The Sun a bunch of liars. (Angelos would then leak every story — his side anyway — via The Washington Post.)

And, in the end and as the cards played out and the stories were corroborated over the last 13 years, every single word Rosenthal ever wrote was true.

The Orioles are 1-11. Once again, for the 13th consecutive year, another baseball season is over in Baltimore.

Again.

This time it’s even more telling, more shocking to the remaining orange supporters because it’s over before it even started. And all of this has come at a time when even some of the most strident pessimists began to once again believe the team was “heading in the right direction.”

Even I had begun to chill some of the orange Kool Aid in my refrigerator.

It’s hard to argue with the promise of Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz, but virtually every other facet of the organization is still inflicted with the cancer of Peter Angelos and his values, strong will and old-world vindictiveness and deceit regarding everything from the banning of free speech in the media to jacking up ticket prices to taking away scalp-free zones to shunning the legends of the team’s heritage and brand.

Clearly, from the looks of Brooks Robinson’s first pitch last Friday to the bobble head offer that no one is buying regarding season tickets, No. 5 has been given a back rub in some way in recent months. It was only four months ago that Angelos once again rebuked any notion that a statue for Brooks would be built near the stadium. The supporters of the statue idea, led by many of Brooks’ longtime community and business friends, had found a place across the street to erect the monument and had quietly set search for funds to build a nearly half-million dollar piece of civic art.

But that was No. 5, who apparently has built some kind of bridge with Angelos in recent months.

What about No. 8 – the immortal Cal?

Angelos lies. He just does. So any legal-like memorandum that came from his desk on a Saturday morning involving an “open invitation to Cal” is clearly just a lame window dressing to cover his backside. And he’s SUCH a bad liar.

For me, having known Ken Rosenthal for 24 years now, I’m going with his story, which he text me today “speaks for itself” and makes perfect sense.

I asked Rosenthal to chat with me regarding the story. His text? “I don’t want to get into it.” Fair enough, but clearly Rosenthal stands behind his story and it’s sensible enough and it’s not like this would be Angelos’ first blatant lie.

So, how did this whole “story” surface under the byline of Ken Rosenthal while the Orioles are losing games at a near-1988 pace? Who in Ripken’s camp leaked this to Fox Sports and Rosenthal to further embarrass Angelos at a time when his current players are doing plenty to further disgrace and distance themselves from anything that used to be known as Orioles baseball?

That remains in question and what also is unclear is what leverage Ripken’s people hoped to attain by having this story leak via Rosenthal? Was it designed to put pressure on Angelos to answer when the team is once again at rock bottom? (Although, after 98 losses last year, the results say the franchise has only ever really LEFT rock bottom in the fantasyland world of some of the more sycophant followers.)

And if Angelos actually spoke with Ripken this week and told him he’s not welcome, how does it play out for a shunned Ripken now that Angelos has essentially thrown it into his court for a public comment?

(I have a feeling there are some very, very pissed off powerful people here on a Saturday. Angelos’ team sucks on field and isn’t home for a week. Ripken clearly wants these shenanigans to stop because it’s killing his personal brand and hurting the city. And if Angelos told Ripken to buzz off earlier in the week — and we have no reason to believe Rosenthal’s story isn’t legit — then we have one helluva knockdown, drag out about to get underway in Baltimore.)

I’ll be writing more about the 1-11 start – and I’ve been a very, very active voice in all of our online LIVE Orange Crush chats during every game so if you want to interact I’m easy to find there or on Facebook or Twitter – later in the weekend.

But this Angelos vs. Rosenthal cage match intertwined with Ripken-camp leaks has me thinking and writing and scratching my head.

Why did Ripken set out to embarrass Angelos and pressure him publicly by getting a story this white-hot to Rosenthal?

Or did Ripken never want this made public? Or will Cal follow along and dismiss Rosenthal’s story as fiction?

Hmmm….

Let’s be honest. At this rate the baseball season and the Orioles 2010 fortunes look to be a sad, sad tale about to unfold.

And I’m seriously thinking about resurrecting Free The Birds 2010 to continue to put pressure on this lousy owner to change his ways and start to do right by the fans of Baltimore who continue to suffer while he lines his pockets with upwards of $40 million of profit this year from a lopsided partnership with the city and the citizens of Maryland who love baseball and continued to be bamboozled by this awful stewardship of a civic treasure.

The whole disaster of the last 13 years has absolutely sickened me.

Maybe Ripken woke up yesterday feeling the same way.

Otherwise, why would the world know that he and Andy MacPhail had a cup of coffee the other day?

The story that Rosenthal reported was NOT leaked by anyone on Angelos’ side of the fence, rest assured…

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Live From Indianapolis: Combine Open Thread

Posted on 28 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Indianapolis, IN Greetings from LucasOil Stadium here in Indianapolis, where we continue our coverage of the annual NFL Scouting Combine. We were able to meet with a number of Defensive Linemen & Linebackers yesterday, as well as a few Quarterbacks, Running Backs and Wide Receivers. We were also able to talk to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh; after we had let everyone know that the team was interested in free agent Wide Receiver Terrell Owens. If you missed it, check out the Audio Vault here on the front page of WNST.net.

Today, we are going to meet with some more Defensive Linemen and Linebackers; then make way for Defensive Backs. Please keep in mind that we are not in the stadium watching the workouts you are seeing on the NFL Network’s coverage, but we do have those screens to monitor what is going on. Please feel free to ask any questions about players the Ravens may or may not be interested in, or things that might happen this week leading up to the start of free agency.

-G

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3:54pm-If you haven’t seen my interview with former Terrapins CB Nolan Carroll yet-take a look…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY32955jZag[/youtube]

3:43pm-Notre Dame safety Kyle McCarthy says he never scrapped with Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski (a former Fighting Irish teammate) in South Bend because the former boxer “didn’t want to” fight him. He was kidding. I think. McCarthy later told me Zbikowski was “a good buddy”, who he figured would be campaigning to get him to Charm City. He has already met with the Ravens.

UCLA CB Alterraun Verner told me he believes he will meet with the Ravens tonight, he previously spoke to the team briefly at the Shrine Game.

LSU Safety Chad Jones says he’s met with the Ravens, amongst a number of teams he’s talked to here in Indianapolis. Jones-who also played baseball for the Tigers-was previously drafted by the Houston Astros. He is thought of as one of the best Safety prospects in Indianapolis.

Virginia Tech safety Kam Chancellor says that when he talked to the Ravens in Orlando, they were most interested in knowing what he’d run in the 40 here at the Combine. He told me he expects to run a high 4.4.

Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy HAS spoke with the Ravens, and he told them he’s playing at 100% after missing time due to foot and wrist injuries last year. He still talks to former Rebels teammate Michael Oher, and believes he can either stand up or play with his hand in the dirt in the NFL.

3:36pm-South Florida CB Jerome Murphy told us he’s had “informal” contact with the Ravens. The former Bulls star spent the better part of his conversation talking about his gold teeth, including fielding questions about how he brushes them. His size (6’1″) will make him interesting for the Ravens.

Former Rutgers CB Devin McCourty chatted with me for a while, after he joined me as a guest on AM1570 WNST from Ft. Lauderdale the week of the Super Bowl. McCourty says he hasn’t talked to the Ravens yet, but has been in contact with former Scarlet Knights RB Ray Rice plenty during the process. I also talked to Indiana (Pennsylvania) CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, who we had talked to from Radio Row as well.

Cal CB Syd’Quan Thompson won’t be able to run here at the Combine due to a hamstring injury, but he’ll do everything else. He’d be a smaller CB option (5’9″), but might end up on the Ravens radar-although he hasn’t talked to them yet.

3:32pm-Some players come to the Combine and wow teams with their personality and interview skills. Others are forced to let their football do the talking. In the case of Florida State teammates Patrick Robinson and Myron Rolle-we’ve seen both.

Rolle bowled the room over with his engaging personality and undeniable intelligence. This wasn’t unexpected, Rolle was a Rhodes Scholar who studied at Oxford last year. Yet Rolle (the cousin of Ravens CB Samari Rolle) still managed to impress, telling tales of how he wants to become a neurosurgeon after his NFL career and is inspired by Johns Hopkins doctor Ben Carson.

On the flip side, Patrick Robinson unfortunately suffers from a speech disorder that causes him to stutter. He was very polite, but wasn’t able to answer long questions. This won’t lead to a team not picking him, but it didn’t give him the opportunity to blow teams away that might be on the fence about him. He did convey that he aspires to be like former Seminoles (and Ravens) CB Deion Sanders.

3:21pm-I hope you’ve been following us on Twitter (@WNST), as I’ve been run ragged trying to keep up today. Let me try to update you…

Oregon safety T.J. Ward told me he has a “very similar game ” to Patriots Safety (and former Ducks teammate) Patrick Chung. Chung worked out with the Ravens in Owings Mills last year. Ward talked to the Ravens at the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, and was told his ankle checked out “100%.”

Arizona CB Devin Ross says he’s “watched plenty of film” on former Wildcats/Ravens CB Chris Diego, Anoine Cason, TucMcAlister, but says his game is more similar to San Diego Chargers CB Antoine Cason (who was a teammate of Ross’ in Tucson). He expects to meet with the Ravens tonight.

12:05pm-Eric Berry from Tennessee is taking up most of the attention in the room right now-but since he’s unlikely to end up in Baltimore, I’ll take a few minutes to catch up:

Most of the Defensive Backs here in Indy won’t have a chance for formal meetings with teams until tonight, and the bulk of them aren’t entirely sure who they’ll be meeting with. Count Alabama CB Kareem Jackson in that group, but he’s gotten plenty of attention from NFL scouts. He told us that the toughest receiver he faced during his college career was LSU’s Brandon LaFell. Both players are on the Ravens’ radar-and you always know Ozzie Newsome is paying close attention to every Crimson Tide player available.

Toledo’s Barry Church will be available on Saturday, and will be an interesting option. He says he talked to the Ravens at the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, where they told him they wanted him to improve on his “ball skills” and playing the ball at the “highest point.”

Wake Forest’s Brandon Ghee believes he’ll be meeting with the Ravens tonight. He’ll ultimately be compared with Denver Broncos CB (and fellow former Demon Deacon) Alphonso Smith, who was drafted a year ago. Ghee is bigger than Smith, but probably won’t be selected as high.

Fresno State’s AJ Jefferson told me he’d “love to play alongside Ray Lewis” and the Baltimore defense-many defensive players here have said something similar.

Nebraska safety Larry Asante is overshadowed here by his Cornhuskers teammate Ndamukong Suh. He’s totally okay with that, and could be an interesting option on Friday or Saturday night-even for a Ravens team that doesn’t REALLY need safety help.

Maryland CB Nolan Carroll chatted with us for a few minutes…but if you want to know what he had to say about interest from the Ravens, recovering from a broken leg, and the Terps basketball team; you’ll have to check it out at WNSTV!

11:03am-Oklahoma DB Dominique Franks and Oklahoma State DB Perrish Cox are both very much on the Ravens’ radar, and each have stopped by this morning.

Cox HAS met with the Ravens, and described Ozzie Newsome as “intense.” He’s a Thursday or Friday night pick at this point, believes he can prove himself worthy of a high choice. He has had the experience of going up against fellow former Cowboys WR Dez Bryant in practice, which will help him at the NFL level.

Franks did not want to let us know which teams he had met with (only Sam Bradford-a fellow Sooner had previously also chose not to discuss the teams he had talked to), but let us know he measured in at 5’11″, 194 pounds. He said he needed to improve his “technique”, saying he has relied on “playing on ability” during his career in Norman.

10:30am-Clemson CB Crezdon Butler was the first DB in the room. He wasn’t too happy when I reminded him that the Tigers were the only FBS team Maryland beat this season (or that Maryland came from behind to win in Death Valley in 2008). He said the Ravens have shown interest. He’s got decent size (6’0″), but isn’t exactly a big time prospect here.

9:16am-Some interesting names we’re expecting to see stroll through the media center today include Virginia CB Chris Cook, Florida State CB Patrick Robinson, Boise State CB Kyle Wilson, Rutgers CB Devin McCourty, Wake Forest CB Brandon Ghee, Alabama CB Javier Arenas, Arizona CB Devin Ross, Virginia Tech FS Kam Chancellor, Maryland FS Terrell Skinner, Oregon SS T.J. Ward, Ohio State SS Kurt Coleman, and Florida State SS Myron Rolle.

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Live From Indianapolis: Harbaugh Says Ravens “Interested” in Terrell Owens

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Live From Indianapolis: Harbaugh Says Ravens “Interested” in Terrell Owens

Posted on 27 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Indianapolis, IN Greetings from LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana; where we have gathered for the annual NFL Scouting Combine. I’ll be providing updates below, as well as answering your questions throughout the day.

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5:16pm-Stanford RB Toby Gerhart is on the Ravens’ radar, as no team will have scouted him better. Aside from playing for John Harbaugh’s brother Jim Harbaugh with the Cardinal; Toby actually had Jack Harbaugh (John’s father) as a RB coach leading up to the Sun Bowl matchup against Oklahoma.

Gerhart is a potential Ravens target should there be movement made at RB, and there has been speculation he might be a FB at the NFL level. However, Gerhart says he thinks he’s more like “Eddie George or Corey Dillon”, and believes he will be a true RB as a pro.

He said Jim, Jack and John Harbaugh are all “identical”, and “crazy in a good way.” He described the coaching trio as “firey.”

You can hear from Toby Gerhart in the Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

4:20pm-In the last hour, I’ve caught up with quite a few potential Ravens targets. Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon is expected to go in the first 3 rounds, and he might be the most outgoing player at the entire Combine. He’s meeting with the Ravens tonight.

Auburn LB Antonio Coleman will be a Saturday pick-he said he had a solid relationship his freshman year with current Ravens OG Ben Grubbs. Much like Ozzie Newsome is known to target Crimson Tide players, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz campaign to add other Tigers.

James Madison LB Arthur Moats said that in his two meetings with Delaware, he tallied 3 1/2 sacks on Ravens QB Joe Flacco. He’s expected to be a mid-round pick, and he has already met with the Ravens; they talked to him about different “schemes.” He said he feels a kinship with Flacco and current UMass OL Vladimir Ducasse (another potential Ravens target), as there aren’t tons of players who make the jump from the CAA to the NFL.

Clemson LB Ricky Sapp has talked with the Ravens-he says the team (and other NFL teams who have looked at him) are satisfied with what they saw in his knee-he was dealing with an ACL issue.

I also spoke with TCU LB Daryl Washington and Cal WR Verran Tucker-neither player has met with the Ravens yet, but both believe they will tonight. As Washington showed me, the players have a scheduled listed on the back of their nametag-but it doesn’t say which teams they’re meeting with, only times. This is apparently done to prevent players from researching the teams they are to meet with and preparing answers specific to their audience.

3:08pm-Here’s the video of John Harbaugh addressing Terrell Owens today in Indianapolis…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkvhJUjXaTw[/youtube]

2:53pm-Check out the Audio Vault here on the front page of WNST.net NOW to hear John Harbaugh’s meeting with the media here in the Media Center at the NFL Combine.

It is up there in two parts-the first was his formal “podium” session, the second was his “informal” session away from the podium.

Clearly, the most significant thing to come from either session involved Harbaugh admitting the Ravens “were interested” in free agent WR Terrell Owens, which is in line with what we have reported at WNST.net throughout the day.

Harbaugh also touched on Donte’ Stallworth, Troy Smith, Willis McGahee, Derrick Mason, Dwan Edwards, Billy Cundiff, Jim Zorn, Terrell Suggs, Ted Monachino, Joe Flacco, Matt Birk, Ozzie Newsome and more. Check it out!

1:32pm-Things have really picked up here this afternoon. I’ve spoken to a number of potential Ravens targets in the last hour, but haven’t had a chance to update all of them. Follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest. Will update shortly. In the meantime, the media center nearly came to a stop when Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford entered…

bradford

12:14pm-Just briefly bumped into Arizona State DE/OLB prospect Dexter Davis, who told me he had a good meeting with the Ravens as well. Davis is 6’2″, 255 pounds and moves well. He’s transitioning to OLB after posting 28 1/2 sacks during his career with the Sun Devils. He struggled with the switch during his week at the East West Shrine Game in Orlando; but certainly has the pedigree to rush the passer.

The Ravens aren’t disappointed with the last pass rusher they took out of Tempe….you might know him….Terrell Suggs? But unlike T-Sizzle, Davis won’t be coming off the board in the first round, he’ll be a day 3 selection.

11:53am-I guess it’s Ole Miss day here in the Media Center. WR Shay Hodge just stepped in, told me he’s already met with the Ravens’ entire staff, and answered a lot of questions from WR Coach Jim Hostler. He said he thought the meeting went “really well.” Hodge checks in at 6’1″, 207 pounds; and is coming off a 1,135 yard season in Oxford.

He told me he thinks his “route running” and ability to “catch jump balls” will separate him from other receivers in the Draft. He told me he looks at Ravens OT Michael Oher (a former Mississippi teammate) as a “big brother”, and that he has received a number of texts from Oher this week, with the big man telling him he wants to see Hodge in Charm City.

There’s no doubt that the Ravens love players that come from SEC schools. Ozzie Newsome is from Alabama, Joe Hortiz from Auburn. 2 of their last 3 first round picks (Oher and Ben Grubbs) have come from the SEC.

11:26am-Just spoke to Ole Miss RB/WR Dexter McCluster after his press availability (which you can hear in the Audio Vault just to your left on the home page at WNST.net). McCluster said he definitely sees the comparisons between himself and Ravens RB Ray Rice, as both are backs who “work hard”, and they’re obviously similar in size and style. McCluster believes he’ll be used out wide more than Rice.

When I spoke to Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz about McCluster, he said that the Ravens (or any other NFL team) would have to have a plan to use him in multiple ways. A team interested in a Running Back wouldn’t just take McCluster, but a team interested in an offensive weapon would. Cam Cameron would have to have a real idea of how they could make him a threat.

McCluster spoke very highly of his former Rebels teammate Michael Oher, and also of FB Jason Cook-who was with the Ravens in Training Camp last summer.

10:33am-The reasoning for my cryptic messages regarding Terrell Owens was to allow Drew Forrester to put together what we knew about it. There IS interest from the Ravens in Terrell Owens. There’s just no doubt about that. We DON’T know what John Harbaugh’s relationship was with Owens in Philadelphia, but we have confirmation (as you can read if you check out Drew’s blog to my right) that there is interest in Owens within the organization. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves…

10:28am-I just spoke to a source within the Arizona Cardinals organization. He told me the Cards WERE more interested in trading Anquan Boldin this year than they were last year. BUT-they’re not just going to give up on “Q” for the sake of moving him. They want more and better picks this year, knowing they’ll probably need to draft a QB to be prepared behind Matt Leinart in the event Leinart still hasn’t developed now taking over for the retired Kurt Warner. You have to assume that Rod Graves would want AT LEAST a 2nd round pick for Boldin, probably a combo. Will be interesting to follow…

10:00am-Clifton Brown from the Sporting News speculated the other day that the Ravens would be interested in former Bills/Cowboys/Eagles/49ers WR Terrell Owens, who is currently a free agent. Owens IS 6’3″ and would probably come cheap, but has questionable history with the Ravens (especially GM Ozzie Newsome). He was with John Harbaugh in Philly, and in order for the Ravens to sign off on T.O., Coach Harbs would probably need a good history with the oft-criticized receiver.

Here’s the real question. What would your reaction be if the Ravens were to pursue Terrell Owens?

9:50am-Bruce Campbell posted a 4.78 40. If you’re watching the NFL Network or NFL.com coverage from here in Indy, I don’t think you’ve seen another Lineman go under 5. Campbell also measured in with an OL-high 36 1/4 inch arms, and 10 1/2 inch hands. He did 34 reps of 225 pounds on the bench. There’s a reason he left College Park despite never REALLY fulfilling his potential as a Terp. He’s going to get RICH.

9:16am-Defensive Linemen and Linebackers are scheduled to appear today-we’ll be looking to talk to the likes of troubled Florida rusher Carlos Dunlap, Michigan giant Brandon Graham, Georgia Tech freak Derrick Morgan, a seemingly healthy Greg Hardy from Ole Miss, and Terrapins killer Mike McLaughlin from Boston College.

Offensive Linemen are out on the field today, Maryland OT Bruce Campbell is your first star of the day; as he posted times of 4.78 & 4.81 in the 40 despite a 6’6″, 314 pound frame. Wow.

-G

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