Tag Archive | "NFL"

Forsett hoping for chance to work with new coordinator Trestman

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Forsett hoping for chance to work with new coordinator Trestman

Posted on 02 February 2015 by Luke Jones

Free-agent running back Justin Forsett has made no secret about his preference to stay with the Ravens after a Pro Bowl season, but many thought the departure of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak might complicate that sentiment.

After all, Forsett rushed for a career-high 1,266 yards in Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme and also played for the new Denver Broncos head coach for one season in Houston, but the 29-year-old back likes what he’s heard about new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. The former Chicago Bears head coach has a reputation for preferring the passing game, but head coach John Harbaugh has made it clear that the Ravens won’t try to mess with a running game that thrived in 2014.

Forsett sees the potential for an added wrinkle under Trestman that wasn’t a major factor in his game this past year.

“I’m excited that we’re going to keep some of the main [rushing] principles that we had,” Forsett told WNST.net in Phoenix last week. “I think it’s been working for us, so why not keep it going? I’m excited about what he’s going to bring to the offense as far as maybe some extra routes for the running back. I know Matt Forte caught a lot of passes, so I’m all about that.”

The two-time Pro Bowl selection Forte caught 176 passes for 1,402 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons under Trestman and was just the latest running back to have a major role as a receiver in the 59-year-old’s offense. As the offensive coordinator in Oakland, Trestman ran a system in which Charlie Garner caught 91 passes for 941 yards in 2002.

His three years with Arizona from 1998-2000 produced two Cardinals running backs — Larry Centers and Michael Pittman — with seasons of 69 or more receptions. And before that, Derek Loville caught 87 passes out of the backfield for San Francisco in 1995, Trestman’s first year as the 49ers offensive coordinator.

Of course, it’s no secret that Trestman has historically leaned toward the passing game, which would typically lead to running backs getting fewer carries but more opportunities to make receptions out of the backfield.

Forsett caught only 44 passes for 263 yards last season and didn’t make a touchdown reception until the 35-31 loss to New England in the division round. But he’s shown strong ability as a receiver in limited opportunities in past seasons, reining in 41 passes in 2009 and 33 in 2010 with Seattle.

The 5-foot-8, 197-pound back plans to meet with Trestman in the near future as he will continue working out at the Ravens’ training facility in Owings Mills this offseason. As he and his wife are expecting another baby this offseason, Forsett will rest his body after the biggest workload of his NFL career, but he doesn’t plan to rest on his laurels counting down to the start of free agency.

“You definitely feel it. I’m going to get some rest,” said Forsett, who plans to remain in Baltimore throughout the winter. “You get older [and] it’s hard to really get back into shape. You always want to make sure when you really start training, you’re not going to start back at zero. You want to be able to continue to move and progress and kind of go up in that upper climb. I’m going to continue to work out and continue to keep my body in shape.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of market develops for Forsett as it’s no secret that running backs have been devalued in recent years. He will turn 30 next October and many will argue that he was a product of Kubiak’s zone system, but Forsett averaged 4.9 yards per carry in his career prior to the 2014 season, proving he’s had plenty of success when given the opportunities.

After finally breaking the mold in which teams previously viewed him as a change-of-pace and third-down back, Forsett hopes the Ravens will commit to him with more long-term security than he’s ever enjoyed in his seven-year career.

“That’s where my heart is. I want to be back in Baltimore,” Forsett said. “Unfortunately, there’s a business part. I’m just being patient. I’ve been able to do that my whole career.”

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Davis says using Adderall “never a baseball issue” for him

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Davis says using Adderall “never a baseball issue” for him

Posted on 31 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Breaking his silence to the local media about the suspension that cost him the opportunity to play in the 2014 postseason, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis expressed regret in letting down his teammates and explained his reason for using Adderall on Saturday.

Now the 28-year-old looks to bounce back from a nightmarish 2014 season in which he hit only .196 and was suspended 25 games on Sept. 12, just days before the Orioles clinched their first American League East title since 1997.

“It was a moment of weakness,” Davis said. “Obviously, I wasn’t thinking about the big picture. It was a mistake I wish I could go back and undo.”

Davis confirmed that he has received a therapeutic-use exemption to once again use the drug prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Major League Baseball did not grant Davis an exemption for the 2013 and 2014 seasons after having one in previous years, and the slugger admitted to using the drug “a couple times” last year even though he knew he was at risk of testing positive.

The first baseman would not reveal when his first failed test occurred or why he lost his previous exemption, only saying he “didn’t take the right steps.” However, Davis made it clear that his use of the drug shouldn’t be associated with his performance — good or bad — on the field as he downplayed the need to use the drug for baseball.

The drug helps sharpen focus, which is why it’s considered a banned substance with an exemption.

“It was never a baseball issue. For me, it was off the field — just an everyday life thing,” Davis said. “There were a lot of times when I was young where teachers had brought it up and kind of mentioned [ADHD], but we never really went down that road. When I was diagnosed in 2008, I was prescribed Adderall and I realized how much of a difference it made just in my everyday life. For me, that was kind of the reason I went down that road.”

Several of his teammates were asked how his return will impact the clubhouse with the general consensus being that the Orioles have moved on from last year. Though Davis was invited to rejoin the club for the AL Championship Series last October, many teammates expressed disappointment in his poor judgment at the time the suspension was announced.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy pointed to Davis’ exemption for the 2015 season as evidence that it’s a non-issue. Though he’ll be allowed to participate in spring training and play in Grapefruit League contests, Davis will serve the final game of his ban on Opening Day against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 6.

“I guess we should have won one in the American League Championship Series. We screwed that up,” said relief pitcher Darren O’Day, who played with Davis in Texas. “I think that’s in the past. We’ve all talked to Chris about it; he’s talked to us about it. We’ve addressed it as a team. He’s moving on, and we’re moving on. We’re expecting him to be right back where he was with the sweet swing and hitting balls out of left field. It’s going to be fun.”

Understandably, many will remain skeptical of Davis after he was so outspoken against the use of performance-enhancing drugs during his 2013 campaign in which he slugged a franchise-record 53 home runs, but he is focused on rebounding in his final season before becoming a free agent. The Orioles have discussed a long-term extension with Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, in the past, but it appears likely that the first baseman will want to rebuild his value during the 2015 campaign before potentially hitting the open market.

Davis pointed to a slow start and the oblique injury suffered in late April as the primary reasons why he was unable to get on track in 2014 after producing his overwhelming numbers a year earlier. In 127 games, Davis saw his home run total fall from 53 to 26 as he posted a .704 on-base plus slugging percentage a year after producing a 1.004 mark.

“I’ve been doing a little bit different workout this [winter]. I’ve been working on my bunting down the third-base line a lot,” said Davis, cracking a smile as he alluded to the exaggerated infield shifts opponents used against him last season. “But I’m ready to get started. I wish we started tomorrow.”

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Torrey Smith won’t necessarily go to highest bidder

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Torrey Smith won’t necessarily go to highest bidder

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith has never wavered from his desire to stay in Baltimore, but trying to determine his value might be the organization’s most difficult task this offseason.

He profiles best as a No. 2 receiver and is coming off a disappointing 2014 campaign, but the 26-year-old may learn other suitors are willing to pay more than the Ravens for his ability to stretch the field. That doesn’t mean Smith will simply sign with the highest bidder, however.

“I know guys [saying], ‘Whoever offers me the most money, I am going there,’” Smith told WNST.net in Phoenix this week. “That’s not necessarily the case for me, because there are so many different things that go into it. It’s going to be a tough decision.

“There are guys on teams that whether they believe it or not, they want to say, ‘This is the year.’ But they know come the middle of the season like, ‘This isn’t happening.’ In Baltimore, you know you have a chance every single year. That’s probably the best part, and it’s a strength of the organization.”

Of course, the Ravens must be judicious with their salary cap as they own a projected commitment of over $142 million for players currently under contract, according to Spotrac.com. General manager Ozzie Newsome could look to cut several veterans to clear space, but that doesn’t mean the necessary resources will be there to retain Smith if another team makes a lucrative offer.

After repeatedly expressing confidence that he wasn’t going anywhere, the 2011 second-round pick and University of Maryland product acknowledged the possibility late in the regular season that a deal might not be reached. Despite catching only 49 passes for a career-low 767 receiving yards, Smith caught a career-best 11 touchdowns and drew pass interference penalties on a regular basis to aid an offense that set franchise records for points score and total yards.

In 2014, Smith moved up to third on the franchise’s all-time receptions list and is now second in team history in touchdown receptions with 30 in four years. He hopes to continue moving up the list in 2015 and beyond.

“Everything’s going to take care of itself. The business is what it is,” Smith said. “We all understand that. Everyone knows where my heart is, but I understand it could possibly go the other way. I’m not really dwelling on anything. I’m just focusing on my family. I’m not nervous at all, because I know everything will take care of itself. You can’t really stress over things you can’t control. I try not to do it and when I do, things definitely don’t go my way.”

To keep his mind off the free-agent process, Smith has enrolled in the University of Miami’s new masters of business administration program geared toward professional athletes and artists. He’s already made a commitment to continue his charitable endeavors in Baltimore should he sign elsewhere as the Virginia native now considers Charm City his home.

Smith is trying not to think about what could happen if he hits the open market on March 10, but he knows he can’t take the easy way out of saying he’s leaving the decision solely in agent Drew Rosenhaus’ hands. And it would be difficult to walk away from the place where he got his start and has never experienced a losing season while also winning Super Bowl XLVII.

“At the end of the day, the decision will be on me and I understand that,” Smith said. “The agent does what they do. When the time comes to make a decision, I’ll make the best decision for [my wife and son]. You’ve got to go somewhere where you can believe you can win, and I’ll make the best decision all the way around.”

 

 

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Ravens safety Hill reportedly facing legal problems in New Jersey

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Ravens safety Hill reportedly facing legal problems in New Jersey

Posted on 29 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Another off-field problem has found Ravens safety Will Hill.

A warrant for the 24-year-old’s arrest has been issued in the state of New Jersey due to an alleged failure to pay more than $16,000 in child support, according to The Sun. However, the warrant was reportedly issued last March and Hill is not being actively pursued by police.

This is the latest chapter in a number of off-field missteps for Hill, who started eight games at safety in his first season with the Ravens after serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. It was Hill’s third suspension in three years in the NFL, which prompted the New York Giants to release him early last summer.

The University of Florida product was arrested in New Jersey in December 2013 for failing to pay child support.

In a season full of injuries and inconsistent play in the secondary, the Ravens found a bright spot in Hill, who emerged as the only clear-cut starter in a group of safeties that included 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam, Darian Stewart, Jeromy Miles, and rookie third-rounder Terrence Brooks. Hill collected 42 tackles, four pass breakups, and an interception returned for a touchdown in a late November win over New Orleans.

“He has a lot of talent, and it’s something that we always knew,” head coach John Harbaugh said at the end of the season. “He also has a great love for the game. He learned our defense throughout the course of the season, which it’s not easy to do that. We have a tough defense. We do a lot of good stuff back there. But he was running the show pretty well back there toward the end of the year. Having the offseason, having the [organized team activities], and the minicamp and the training camp is only going to really help him tremendously as far as being a really good safety for us.”

With No. 1 cornerback Jimmy Smith returning from a Lisfranc injury and veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb struggling at times in 2014 and carrying a $12 million figure, Hill might have been the Ravens’ surest bet in the secondary going into the offseason if you discount his off-field history.

Baltimore is expected to retain the restricted free agent, but Harbaugh said he issued the challenge for Hill to stay out of trouble at the end of the season. His current legal situation in New Jersey wouldn’t appear to be a healthy reflection of him getting the message after the Ravens gave him a second chance last summer.

“We put it on his plate a little bit. We’re challenging him for the next three or four months,” Harbaugh said. “‘Are you going to come back a better player than you were when you left here in January, and is that slate going to be clean?’ We fully expect it to be. He just had a baby. He’s doing great with his family, and we fully expect him to do a great job with that, and we’re going to try to help him anyway we can with that.”

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Uncertainty surrounds tight end position for Ravens this offseason

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Uncertainty surrounds tight end position for Ravens this offseason

Posted on 28 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Perhaps it’s fitting that the Ravens hired a relative unknown to become their new tight ends coach with so much uncertainty surrounding the position this offseason.

Head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that former NFL tight end and 2014 coaching intern Richard Angulo was being promoted to oversee a position that could look very different for the Ravens next season. With Owen Daniels an unrestricted free agent and Dennis Pitta’s future still unclear, only 2014 third-round pick Crockett Gillmore is a sure bet to be in the mix next season.

Gillmore is looking forward to working with Angulo after both men were new to the Ravens this past season. Handling offensive quality control duties under former coordinator Gary Kubiak, Angulo worked two seasons as the offensive line and strength and conditioning coach at Trinity International University before coming to Baltimore in 2014.

The 6-foot-8 Angulo made 17 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown in a six-year career with stops at St. Louis, Minnesota, Chicago, Jacksonville, and Cleveland.

“He helped me out a lot last year,” Gillmore told WNST.net on Super Bowl Radio Row in Phoenix. “He’d come in and we’d work on some little things, but he’s done a really good job throughout my [learning] process. He’s a player. He’s been around the league, so he has that insight. It’s really pretty much a fresh start for us. He was around, but he had other duties. Now that he can just focus on this, I’m really excited to see what he can do.”

With new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman bringing former Chicago Bears tight ends coach Andy Bischoff with him to Baltimore, many assumed he would have the same title in Baltimore, but Harbaugh hasn’t shied away from hiring younger position coaches after hiring running backs coach Thomas Hammock and wide receivers coach Bobby Engram from the collegiate ranks last year. Bischoff will instead be an offensive quality control coach with Angulo coaching the tight ends.

Angulo will hope to have some veteran experience to work with as the Ravens would like to re-sign Daniels at the right price. After Pitta was limited to just three games before suffering a second devastating right hip injury in a 14-month period, the 32-year-old Daniels caught 48 passes for 527 yards and four touchdowns.

Harbaugh has expressed cautious optimism regarding the football future of Pitta whenever asked for updates over the last couple months, but the eighth-year coach declined to offer specifics last week about the results of the tight end’s recent meeting with specialists.

“I did get kind of an overview of that report from our trainer that I wouldn’t really want to share until Dennis has had a chance to kind of consider all of the ramifications of it,” Harbaugh said. “But I think we’ll have something on that in a couple of weeks, kind of on Dennis’ time frame. We’ll see where that goes.”

For now, Gillmore is the surest thing on the roster despite only making 10 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in the regular season. However, the Colorado State product became a bigger part of the offense as the season progressed and caught six passes for 98 yards over the final five games of the season counting the playoffs.

A year ago at this time, Gillmore was just coming off playing in the Senior Bowl and in the midst of the draft process. Now, he’s glad to be an NFL player attending the Super Bowl on Sunday before diving into his first full offseason.

“I know there’s a lot to work on. Nobody’s perfect, but I feel really good about the season I’m coming off of,” Gillmore said. “I did what I wanted to do as far as getting on the field and making an impact in the passing and running games and special teams. I want to continue to build on all three aspects.”

The Ravens will likely take a look at the draft as well as free agency if Daniels departs via free agency, but they’re hoping Gillmore’s late-season improvement is a sign of more to come from a tight end who has admitted to having more of a blocking mentality than that of a pass-catcher.

Catching both of his touchdowns — one in the wild-card round — against the Pittsburgh Steelers was a good start in helping his popularity in Baltimore.

“I like that. I like spiking it into the stands,” said Gillmore as he smiled. “I like scoring on Pittsburgh. I like beating Pittsburgh.”

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Ravens announce array of coaching staff changes

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Ravens announce array of coaching staff changes

Posted on 28 January 2015 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens have new coaching staff assignments, including Chris Hewitt (fourth season with Ravens) being named defensive backs coach, Matt Weiss (seventh season with Ravens) appointed cornerbacks coach and Drew Wilkins (sixth season with Ravens) named defensive coaching assistant, head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday.

In 2014, Hewitt served as the team’s assistant defensive backs coach, Weiss as defensive quality control/linebackers assistant and Wilkins as a coaching staff assistant.

The Ravens have also promoted Richard Angulo to tight ends coach and Mike Macdonald to defensive assistant, and they have hired Andy Bischoff as offensive quality control.

In his first season with Baltimore, Angulo, 34, spent the 2014 campaign as a coaching intern in support of offensive quality control duties. Prior to joining the Ravens, he worked two seasons as offensive line/strength and conditioning coach at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. Angulo also played in the NFL as a tight end with St. Louis (2003), Minnesota (2004-06), Chicago (2006) and Jacksonville (2007-08).

Macdonald, 27, spent last season as a Ravens’ defensive coaching intern. His main duties included a supporting role with the defensive backs/secondary. Prior to joining Baltimore, Macdonald served as a safeties and defensive quality control coach for the Georgia Bulldogs (2011-13) while earning his master’s degree in sports management.

Bischoff, 44, spent the last two seasons (2013-14) under current Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman as tight ends/staff coordinator with the Chicago Bears. Prior to his time in Chicago, Bischoff also worked under Trestman with the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes (2008-12) as the team’s running backs/tight ends/special teams coordinator.

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Former Ravens kicker Hauschka facing hometown team in Super Bowl

Posted on 27 January 2015 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

QUOTES FROM SEATTLE SEAHAWKS MEDIA DAY

KICKER STEVEN HAUSCHKA

(on why kickers are so good these days) “Because we grew up kicking. I started kicking at three years old, soccer balls that is. You learn how to train better. I think it’s just we’re more athletic, not me in particular, but some of the guys out there in the league are just really, really good athletes that just switched to kicking because they couldn’t make it as a quarterback or something.”

(on if he thinks punters have improved as much as place kickers have over recent years) “I think some of the punters have gotten really good, but as a whole, I don’t think they’re at the level of field goal kickers. I think there’s more put into the field goal at a younger age. I don’t think kids start learning to punt until a little later.

(on playing in the Super Bowl) “I love it. It’s the most exciting thing you can do in my profession. I’m just looking forward to the chance to win the game potentially for our team.”

(on what he was thinking while Seattle was losing to Green Bay in the NFC Championship game) “There were about five minutes there after Russ (quarterback Russell Wilson) threw his last interception we were talking on the sideline saying, ‘Man, this is the end, huh?’ To come back from that, there’s a time where I realized, ‘Man, I’m really bummed. I want to be in the Super Bowl.’ For those five minutes, I realized how much I actually want to play in this game and how excited I am about it. We’re playing on second life now, a second chance.”

(on if being back to the Super Bowl feels any different) “It’s cool. It does feel a little different having just been through it last year. Two long years back to back, but we know exactly what to expect. It’s nice, too, coming from New York where it’s freezing cold, and you’re looking out the window and it’s 20 degrees and blowing snow to being here where it’s sunny and a little clouds.”

(on if the warmer weather helps his kicking) “Yeah, the kicking weather is perfect here, and I think everybody on our team needed a little warm weather.”

(on if this Super Bowl is different being the defending champs) “Yeah, I think there are always those storylines, but at the end of the day, I think whoever plays the best football is going to win the game. That’s what I remember. The Patriots have had the last couple chances in the Super Bowl not going well for them. I’m sure they’ve got every bit of motivation to win this game too just like we do. There’s plenty of motivation on either side. That’s not going to be what wins it. It’s just who plays the better football that day.”

(on what’s like to be playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl being a Massachusetts native) “It’s fitting. It’s very fitting to play your childhood team in this game. I grew up rooting for the Patriots. When they won that first Super Bowl on (Adam) Vinatieri’s foot, that was the craziest thing. I can only imagine what it feels like as a Seahawks fan to watch that and see our first Super Bowl last year. I’m excited about it.”

(on New England being as good as anyone in football in the last 15 years compared to the teams that he grew up watching) “They’re incredible, what they’ve done with different players every year, too. There’s really only a couple key guys that have been there. It’s impressive. It shows you how important those key guys are and just the environment that they have there.”

(on who his favorite New England player was growing up) “(Adam) Vinatieri. I had a framed picture of him signed and stuff from the ‘Snow Bowl’ game. That was impressive.”

(on if kickers think about possibly winning the game) “You honestly don’t have to think much at all this week. It’s just your body knows what to do, and the key is just to go out there and let your body do what it wants to do. I know how to swing, and no mental thoughts are going to make me swing better right now.”

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2015 Senior Bowl – Ravens guide

Posted on 24 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

As I prepare to watch the 2015 Senior Bowl, here is a list of players – by position – that the Ravens scouting department has interviewed. It tips the Ravens hand in the direction the team is leaning towards in terms of needs:

  • RB – David Cobb – Minnesota
  • FB – Zach Zenner – South Dakota State
  • TE – Nick Boyle – Delaware
  • WR – Justin Hardy – East Carolina, Tyler Lockett – Kansas State, Devin Smith – Ohio State
  • G – Tre Jackson – Florida State, Laken Tomlinson – Duke, Jamil Douglas – Arizona State
  • DT – Grady Jarrett – Clemson
  • DE – Nate Orchard – Utah, Lorenzo Mauldin – Louisville,  Owamagbe Odighizuwa - UCLA, Henry Anderson – Stanford
  • ILB – Stephone Anthony – Clemson, Bryce Hager – Baylor
  • CB – Craig Mager – Texas State, Eric Rowe – Utah, JaCorey Shepherd – Kansas, Quinten Rollins – Miami (Ohio)

The Ravens like mature players. They gravitate towards team captains, as leadership is a trait that they value. They also love game film, and the Senior Bowl presents an opportunity to evaluate these players against their peers. Should be fun to watch, as there is no doubt that we will see a handful of these players in a Ravens uniform sometime between April 30 – May 2, at the conclusion of the 2015 NFL draft.

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Marcus Peters

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Ravens 2015 Mock Draft 1.0 +

Posted on 24 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

It’s never too early and it’s always fun to project an NFL mock draft, particularly on a day when the Senior Bowl will be broadcasting live from Mobile, Alabama. Draftniks such a myself simply live for this kind of stuff, and will keep a close eye on this game at 3:00 p.m. on the NFL Network. We’ll look for rising and falling players, to see who would look good in a Ravens uniform on April 30, 2015.

The Ravens has 6 picks in the 2015 draft, one in rounds 1 – 4, and 2 in the 7th. They got the extra 7th when they traded away Bryant McKinnie. The Ravens don’t have a 5th because they used it to acquire center Jeremy Zuttah, and they also gave up a 6th for a 7th rounder in a trade with the Browns in last year’s draft to acquire Michael Campanero.

The Ravens should get 3 compensatory picks due to the loss of Arthur Jones, Michael Oher, Corey Graham, and James Ihedigbo. Plus the Ravens should receive a 6th round draft pick from the Dallas Cowboys for the Rolando McClain trade. That should give the Ravens a total of 10 picks in this year’s draft. Since 1994 when the league started handing out compensatory draft picks, the Ravens have acquired 41. The next closest teams are the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers with 33. The Ravens have done a great job – easily the best in the league – in restocking their roster with compensatory draft picks.

I expect the Ravens to get a 4th, 5th, and 6th round compensatory pick from the league in the 2015 draft. Here is the direction that I think the Ravens are going to in the draft:

1. CB Marcus Peters – Washington.  The 6′ 198 pound junior was suspended from his team November 6, due to arguments with the coaching staff.  He’s not a bad guy, just very immature. The Ravens have a history of drafting immature prospects such as Terrell Suggs and Jimmy Smith.  Peters is arguably a top 15 prospect, and would certainly represent a “boom or bust” pick for Ozzie Newsome and company. The Ravens like to draft “red star” players, particularly this early in the draft. They also like to draft senior captains, and  Peters is neither a captain (obviously) nor a senior.  However, the Ravens were a shutdown corner away from advancing to the AFC Conference Championship, something that is not lost upon Newsome/DeCosta and company.  The much less riskier pick – Trae Waynes  - will be off of the board way before the Ravens pick, and the best of the rest (Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, PJ Williams) are undersized and have a future at nickel back in the NFL, and don’t make sense for what the Ravens are looking for in this spot. The Ravens could pick Ekpre-Olomu here (he’s a senior captain), but to me it would be a bit of a stretch.

2. WR Justin Hardy – East Carolina. He comes in at just under 5’11 and 190 pounds. He is the FBS career leader in receptions, he is a senior and a team captain. Hands like glue, great instincts, and feisty competitor. In the Senior Bowl practices this past week he’s displayed another gear while the ball is in the air. He has also shown the ability to gain separation, particularly when he is getting in and out of his breaks. The only weakness I’ve seen is that he’s about 50/50 on jump balls, where his (lack of) height is a bit of a hinderance. Other than that, Ozzie Newsome turns in his draft card quickly if Hardy is still there at #56 in round 2.

3. DE Nate Orchard – Utah. A 6’3″ 252 pound senior, Orchard signed with Utah as a wide receiver. That was obviously before his growth spurt, but it also shows the type of athlete that he is. With Dumervil and Suggs getting up there in age, and with the probable loss of Pernell McPhee to free agency, this pick makes sense here. He’s had a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, and has really helped his draft status. Another name that we could possibly see here is Owamagde Obdighizuwa, a 6’4″ 266 senior DE from UCLA.

4. TE Maxx Williams – Minnesota. Only a redshirt sophomore, the 6’4″ 250 Williams looks an awful lot like Jason Whitten when your roll the tape. He is a bruising TE that does everything well. If he is gone by the time the Ravens pick, I still think they go TE in this slot, and take Jeff Heuerman, the 6’5″ 255 pound senior TE out of Ohio State. Heurman can flat out play, as his biggest problem in college was that the ball wasn’t thrown much in his direction.

4. RB David Cobb – Minnesota. A 5’11″ 229 pound senior, Cobb has been another Senior Bowl standout during practices. He has good vision, and he is a downhill runner – traits that will endear him to coach John Harbaugh. He doesn’t do anything particularly great, but does everything well, including pass blocking. With uncertainty at the running back position (Forsett, Pierce), this pick makes sense here.

5. DT Marcus Hardison – Arizona State. 6’3″ 311 pound senior, is a very active and agile player. With uncertainty with age and cap space consideration along the defensive line (Ngata, Canty) coupled with injury concerns (Lewis-Moore, Urban), the Ravens could use some young moldable clay here.

6. CB Nick Marshall – Auburn. The Ravens take a shot here with Marshall, Auburn’s starting QB who’s attempting to make the transition to CB at the pro level. At 6′ 2″ 205, he has desirable length for the position. He’s also a very good athlete, and is a worthy gamble. Plus the Ravens need corners you know.

6. ILB Taiwan Jones – Michigan State. 6’3″ 258 pound senior, he’s an “old school” linebacker who has been the most physical player at the East-West Shrine Bowl practices. He’s also proving that he can be a 3 down linebacker, and with Daryl Smith approaching the end of his career, Jones is a fit here.

7. CB Byron Jones – Connecticut. The 6’1″ 196 pound senior missed the entire 2014 senior with shoulder surgeries. His career has been plagued by injuries, but when healthy Jones has shown the ability to play. Good size and speed, he tackles like a safety and he was also a senior captain.

7. P Kyle Loomis – Portland State. At 6’2″ 222 pounds, the senior punter absolutely booms the ball. The Ravens can save $2.5 million dollars by cutting Sam Koch, and would only absorb a $600k cap hit. Koch is a heck of a punter, but Ravens make a business move here.

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Ravens to terminate defensive tackle Cody’s contract after Super Bowl

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Ravens to terminate defensive tackle Cody’s contract after Super Bowl

Posted on 23 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens announced Friday their intentions to terminate the contract of veteran defensive tackle Terrence Cody after the Super Bowl.

The timing of the move was unusual with Cody scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March anyway, but news of him being investigated for animal cruelty brought context as the 2010 second-round pick was already unlikely to return in 2015. According to The Sun, no charges have been filed yet and the case involves a dog.

Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged at his season-ending press conference earlier this month that the organization’s tolerance level has changed following an embarrassing offseason a year ago that included the Ray Rice saga and four other player arrests.

“It’s a privilege to play in the National Football League. It’s a privilege to be a part of the Ravens,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a standard to uphold there, and we expect them to. We’ve always expected them to do that. But I would think that it will be a little bit shorter leeway maybe than it’s been in the past.”

Re-signed to a one-year, $730,000 contract in early April, Cody was a non-factor for the Ravens in 2014 as he began the season on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from offseason hip surgery. Activated in early November, Cody played in just one game as younger players passed him on the depth chart.

His termination brings a disappointing five-year run with the Ravens to an end as the Alabama standout never lived up to expectations. His best season came in 2011 when he started 16 games at nose tackle and made 34 tackles, but he was supplanted by veteran Ma’ake Kemoeatu the following year and saw his playing time steadily decrease over the last three seasons.

Though not nearly as disappointing as fellow 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle, Cody will forever be remembered as a member of one of the forgettable draft classes in franchise history as only fourth-round tight end Dennis Pitta and fifth-round defensive tackle Arthur Jones went on to become reliable starters. Pitta is the only member of that class remaining with the organization, but his future remains unclear after suffering two serious hip injuries in 14 months.

In 57 career games, Cody has collected 87 tackles and two pass breakups.

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