Posted on 14 December 2011 by WNST Staff
Posted on 02 September 2011 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens closed the book on their 3-1 preseason in Atlanta on Thursday night, many on the current 80-man roster took the field in Owings Mills on Friday afternoon for the last time.
Facing a deadline to trim the team down to 53 players by 6 p.m. on Saturday, coach John Harbaugh shifts his attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a final look at the 27 players — or more, depending on other potential moves — who won’t be deemed good enough to take the turf at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 11.
“You are excited to finalize your roster,” Harbaugh said. “You are excited to say this is going to be our team. This is how we’re going to move forward, but that’s going to not include some guys, and that’s the toughest thing.”
Among those decisions will be a number of players with promising upside, but may prove too raw to take up a 53-man roster spot. Second-year offensive tackle Ramon Harewood is the quintessential example after being drafted in the sixth round from Morehouse in 2010. Spending last season on injured reserve, Harewood’s return to the practice field was delayed this summer as he continued to work his way back from surgeries on both knees, and the 340-pounder struggled when given opportunities during preseason games.
For players such as Harewood and newcomer Michael McAdoo (who went unselected in the supplemental draft before being signed last week), the Baltimore front office must weigh the risk of potentially losing them to other teams against the value of a green player using a spot on the regular roster.
“You try to figure out who’s got a chance to maybe get picked up by somebody and who has less chance of doing that,” Harbaugh said. “But the whole league’s the same. [Teams] need people who are ready to play. You can’t just be bringing guys in and putting them on as developmental projects. You only get 53 guys.”
Once the Ravens have established their regular-season roster on Saturday, all attention shifts to the regular season, with only nine days remaining until the Steelers visit to kick off the regular season. And with that, the intensity level grows and the stakes become much higher for a team expecting to play well into January — and maybe even later.
The fact that Baltimore’s biggest rival stands at the beginning of that journey only adds spice to an exciting time of the year.
“The fact that it’s Pittsburgh adds to it, but it would be that way no matter what,” Harbaugh said. “It’s the regular season. It’s for real now; they count. The tenured guys, this is the week that these guys wait for and that they look forward to.”
NOTES: Harbaugh offered no new information regarding the status of rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor after sharing the belief that the injury isn’t considered serious following the Atlanta game. “It doesn’t seem to be a real serious thing. I’m sure he’s got some soreness in there. I think he’s going to be OK.” … Players will be off on Saturday and Sunday before being made available to the media on Monday evening.
To hear more from John Harbaugh, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.
Posted on 02 September 2011 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After arriving back in Baltimore early Friday morning, the Ravens returned to the practice field several hours later for a shells-and-shorts workout following their 21-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason finale.
Center Matt Birk (knee) and receiver Lee Evans (foot) were not present for the portion of practice open to the media, as concern grows whether the two veterans will be 100 percent for the opener against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11. With Birk not practicing, Bryan Mattison was once again filling in at center as he has throughout the preseason.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor (left shoulder) and offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (undisclosed) were also absent from practice. Taylor left Thursday’s game in the first quarter after his left shoulder was driven to the Georgia Dome turf. The Ravens labeled it a contusion after initial tests, and Taylor was seen with his left arm in a sling on the sideline during the second half.
Cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring) and offensive lineman Mark LeVoir (undisclosed) returned to practice after missing workouts earlier this week. Carr missed the final three preseason games after injuring his left hamstring while covering Evans during practice on Aug. 15.
As for the impending deadline of needing to get down to 53 players by 6 p.m. on Saturday, the Ravens are not expected to make any cuts today and have traditionally waited to make moves on the day of the deadline.
Posted on 01 September 2011 by Luke Jones
Any answers we hoped to uncover on Thursday night were history when coach John Harbaugh elected to rest most of his starters on both sides of the ball in a 21-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason finale.
With the coaching staff not wanting to risk any injuries on the fast turf at the Georgia Dome, left tackle Bryant McKinnie and the new-look offensive line didn’t even receive as much as a cameo appearance against Atlanta despite suggestions otherwise. The decision means the first time we’ll get a look at McKinnie and veteran center Matt Birk in live-game action will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11.
It’s a scary proposition, but the Ravens will hope practice reps against the vaunted Baltimore defense as well as veteran moxie will be enough to prepare McKinnie, Ben Grubbs, Birk, Marshal Yanda, and Michael Oher for the likes of James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and the brutal Pittsburgh defense. As offensive coordinator Cam Cameron put it earlier this week, the Ravens have no other choice but to be ready in a critical battle in Week 1.
The preseason finale managed to create even more doubt at the backup quarterback position after rookie Tyrod Taylor left the game with a left shoulder contusion in the first quarter, leaving Hunter Cantwell to struggle through an ugly offensive performance. Aside from it being painfully clear Cantwell might not even be an option as a third-string quarterback, the Ravens will be forced to bring in another quarterback with Taylor’s status not being known for next weekend.
The Ravens also received little clarity in decided who would be the No. 3 receiver, in large part due to Cantwell being forced into action. However, David Reed didn’t do himself any favors in dropping two passes and being flagged for a questionable offensive pass interference call in the end zone late in the first half. Torrey Smith made two catches for 12 yards before leaving the game early in the second half with apparent leg cramps.
Despite the ugly nature of Thursday’s encounter, the Ravens can also take a few positives away from the win over Atlanta. Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith turned in his steadiest performance of the preseason, making five tackles and deflecting a pass that was intercepted by linebacker Jason Phillips to set up the Ravens’ first score of the game. Smith was flagged for a horse-collar tackle, but continues to show the impressive combination of speed and toughness that made him the 27th overall pick in this year’s draft.
Rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee continued an outstanding preseason by continuing to create pressure in the backfield, making it a near certainty that he factors into defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s plans as a rotational pass rusher earlier than expected. He and Paul Kruger (one sack) will be relied upon to help boost an underwhelming pass rush from a year ago that recorded a franchise-low 27 sacks.
And rookie receiver LaQuan Williams made a final bid to earn a spot on the 53-man roster with a 33-yard punt return against the Falcons and showed improved effort in special teams, something Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg mentioned earlier this week. Whether he makes the final cut or the Ravens try to stash him away on the practice squad, the former Maryland and Poly product has been one of the biggest surprises of the summer and has taken advantage of every opportunity awarded to him.
All that aside, the Ravens now put the preseason behind them, shifting their focus to their biggest rival while still trying to find the answers to a number of key questions.
Will the offensive line be able to gel quickly enough to hold up against the Pittsburgh pressure? Is McKinnie “football” ready? Will Birk’s knee hold up without any live-game action after surgery?
With Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr less than 100 percent, are Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams ready to be starting cornerbacks in the NFL?
Are the Ravens ready to play — and beat — a Ben Roethlisberger-led Steelers squad for the first time since 2006?
All interesting questions, with the answers coming sooner rather than later.
The preseason is finally behind us.
And real football is about to begin.
Posted on 30 August 2011 by Glenn Clark
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens travel to the Georgia Dome to meet the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, the final opportunity for players on the roster “bubble” to impress Head Coach John Harbaugh and coordinators Cam Cameron, Chuck Pagano and Jerry Rosburg.
As I am no longer the Ravens beat reporter here at WNST I have deferred to Luke Jones for most of our coverage during Training Camp. I have had the chance to get out to 1 Winning Drive this week, so I decided I would bring back “Mocking The 53″ to get a look at how the team may trim the roster from 80 players to 53.
As I’ve explained before, the team does not have a certain number of players they keep at each position, so I have never done this breakdown by position. Instead, I offer what is more like a “power ranking” of players from 1-80.
Keep in mind, GM Ozzie Newsome is likely to make an addition or two (a veteran backup quarterback-perhaps still Marc Bulger namely) before either Saturday’s cut day or the team’s opener September 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.
1. DT Haloti Ngata
2. QB Joe Flacco
3. LB Terrell Suggs
4. RB Ray Rice
5. WR Anquan Boldin
6. S Ed Reed
7. LB Ray Lewis
8. G Ben Grubbs
9. G Marshal Yanda
10. CB Jimmy Smith
Whether or not Smith is a starter on September 11 is the only issue in this group. All of these guys are clearly on the team and significant contributors.
11. OT Michael Oher
12. WR Lee Evans
13. FB Vonta Leach
14. DE Cory Redding
15. P Sam Koch
16. TE Ed Dickson
17. S Bernard Pollard
18. K Billy Cundiff
19. DT Terrence Cody
20. LB Jarret Johnson
Like the first group, the players in the group above are all safely on the roster and are expected to be significant contributors.
21. CB Cary Williams
22. S Tom Zbikowski
23. C Matt Birk
24. OT Bryant McKinnie
25. CB Chris Carr
26. S Haruki Nakamura
27. TE Dennis Pitta
28. RB Ricky Williams
29. LB Jameel McClain
30. WR Torrey Smith
There’s no drama in this group either. McClain still appears to be the frontrunner for the other starting ILB job, while the team has remained steadfast in their support of Torrey Smith despite struggles. There’s a chance he’s not the third receiver on September 11, but he’s absolutely safe on the roster.
Posted on 06 August 2011 by Glenn Clark
BALTIMORE — Following an annual open practice at M&T Bank Stadium in front of 24,078; fans will not have another opportunity to see the Baltimore Ravens again until their preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Sunday’s practice provided some clarity for Ravens fans however, as the team gave a look at would could be expected at various positions.
There’s of course no question as to who the team’s starting quarterback will be Thursday (Joe Flacco). But with starters not expected to play much in the opener, the retirement of 2010 backup Marc Bulger has left the Ravens with little experience behind him.
Rookie Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech) has worked as the team’s backup in Training Camp, and will be likely to get the most snaps Thursday night after Flacco departs. Following Taylor is Hunter Cantwell, a practice squad QB a year ago who is currently the team’s third stringer. Cantwell did VERY limited work in Saturday’s practice and appears to clearly be behind Taylor on the depth chart.
The team could still make a move to bring in a veteran backup before Thursday night, but it would be unlikely a new quarterback would get significant playing time as early as Thursday after limited practice.
Once again, the team has no questions as far as starters are concerned. 2009 Pro Bowl RB Ray Rice and 2010 Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach will patrol the backfield to open the game; but neither are expected to play significant time.
The RB position behind Rice is wide open at the moment. The most likely candidates to enter after Rice are Jalen Parmele and rookie Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech), who have each taken second team reps in practice. Parmele is more probable, but both are expected to see a number of plays.
Undrafted rookie Damien Berry (Miami) appears to be fourth on the RB depth chart at the moment, but should keep getting work. If the Ravens don’t add veteran depth at the position, he’s very much in the battle for a roster spot. The team also has undrafted rookie and Mervo grad Walter Sanders (St. Augustine) on the roster, he’ll likely see a few snaps in the second half of Thursday night’s contest as well.
The wild card in the group is veteran RB/ST Matt Lawrence, who missed all of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Lawrence has had very little participation in camp thus far (he did not practice Saturday), but would be expected to see playing time Thursday night if healthy.
Undrafted FB Ryan Mahaffey (Northern Iowa) could see snaps behind Leach.
Posted on 29 July 2011 by Luke Jones
Word began trickling out overnight that the Ravens have placed Terrell Suggs on the non-football injury list.
The Pro Bowl linebacker had his upper leg wrapped during Thursday’s practice and did not participate in the workout. Suggs is eligible to return to practice at any time and still counts against the 90-man roster.
Before panicking, defensive tackle Terrence Cody was placed on the same list at the beginning of last year’s camp after not passing his conditioning test. If Suggs has a tweaked hamstring, it’s possible he is simply waiting a day or two to take the test.
Every player on the training camp roster must pass the conditioning test before taking part in practice.
The Ravens have also placed starting left guard Ben Grubbs (ankle), receiver David Reed, defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (unknown), and offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (knee) on the active physically unable to perform list. Each player still counts against the 90-man roster and is eligible to return to practice at any point during training camp.
In 2010, ten Baltimore players began training camp on the active PUP list, including safety Ed Reed. Reed, however, was transferred to the reserve PUP list before the start of the regular season, requiring the veteran safety to miss the first six weeks.
Posted on 26 July 2011 by Thyrl Nelson
#10 – Suring up at Safety – While not a position of urgent need for the Ravens, safety isn’t without its questions. Dawan Landry’s impending free agency and Ed Reed’s present state of health could have the team relying heavily on Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski for critical stretches of this season. As they seem to have greater needs elsewhere it seems unlikely that the team would spend heavily to retain Landry and will take their chances with whomever the market may bear behind Reed, Nakamura and Zbikowski. Historically the Ravens have done well with finding safeties that others haven’t seen value in.
#9 – Finding a Tight End – The release of Todd Heap leaves the team with a gaping hole at the tight end position, and like safety could have them relying on a couple of unproven players for big contributions in 2011. In this case that pursuit might be even more ambitious as both Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are entering only their second seasons and neither found a major niche in the offense last year. It seems the team has designs on re-signing Heap if possible but otherwise would likely have to turn to the open market for a more reliable answer at TE than Pitta or Dickson look to provide. Absent that, the team might be forced to their 2008 form with little reliance on the TE position as anything but an extra blocker at the line of scrimmage.
#8 – Backing Up Ray Rice – While the release of Willis McGahee wasn’t much of a surprise on Monday, it leaves the Ravens with a number of unanswered questions in the backfield. Can they trust rookie Anthony Allen to be ready to back up Rice if needed? Are they prepared to go with some combination of Jalen Parmalee and Matt Lawrence at the backup if Allen isn’t up to the task without prep time? If Le’Ron McClain returns will he do so as the full time fullback? Do the Ravens want him otherwise? Will the bounty of free agents and the unwillingness of teams to pay them leave the Ravens with good options to choose from when the dust settles?
#7 – Backing Up Flacco – If Marc Bulger’s presence on last year’s squad indicated anything at all, it may have been that the Ravens envisioned themselves so close to competing for a title, that they refused to allow themselves to be in a position where a single injury could derail those hopes (even if that injury comes at the most important position on the field). If Bulger finds greener pastures elsewhere, surely the Ravens will be looking for more credible options than Tyrod Taylor or Hunter Cantwell. Hopefully it’s a need that never comes to fruition as the season plays out, but one that must be accounted for nonetheless.
#6 – Sorting out the Cornerbacks – After the Ravens’ forcible defection of talent on Monday and given their apparent desire to retain some of those players, but at a better price; is it out of the realm of possibility that Domonique Foxworth, coming off of an ACL tear, may also be carrying a price tag that’s tough to justify? Additionally see these 10 cornerback questions.
#5 – Sorting Out the Wide Receivers – The release of Derrick Mason certainly shakes up the receiving hierarchy in Baltimore for 2011 if the Ravens are unable to compel him back. If not they’re left with a bunch of unproven commodities behind Anquan Boldin. That might make the retention of a guy like TJ Houshmandzadeh suddenly much more realistic than it seemed just a few days ago. Whatever the outcomes with Mason and/or Houshmandzadeh, the Ravens will still need a proven field stretcher to compliment Boldin and whomever else rounds out the receiving corps, and it appears that through free agency they’ll have no shortage of candidates to choose from.
#4 – Prepping for Pittsburgh – Getting the Steelers, in Baltimore, right out of the gate might be just what the doctor ordered for a team likely still smarting from playoff disappointment at the hands of their rivals. While a win in week one won’t put the rivalry back into balance or even mean much if the Steelers again rain on the Ravens’ post-season hopes, it may mean a great deal in determining where a potential third meeting between the clubs would be played and will probably mean the difference between a big boost or a big letdown to set the tone for the 2011 campaign.
#3 – Getting Defensive Line Help – The Ravens appear ready to unleash Terrance Cody on the league to compliment the man-mountain that is Haloti Ngata in the middle of the defensive line, and at present have 2 young and interesting commodities backing them up in Kelly Talavou and Arthur Jones, but they’ll still need help in developing a much needed edge rush. At present the Ravens list only 2 defensive ends on their roster, rookie Pernell McPhee and 2nd year Albert McClellan. Unless they’re expecting huge contributions from Paul Kruger and/or Sergio Kindle to compliment Suggs in 2011 it would seem that upgrades are in order. I’ll bet on the latter.
#2 – Suring Up the Right Side of the Offensive Line – Matt Birk is aging, and everything to his right is a question mark. Did Jared Gaither miss last season by pouting or with a legitimate back injury? In either case can you put any faith in him moving forward? Will Marshall Yanda get tackle money in free agency? Should the Ravens pay him tackle money? What can you expect from Oneil Cousins, Jah Reid, or Ramon Harewood in 2011? Should the Ravens look to pursue a left tackle and move Michael Oher back to the right side? Answering these questions will probably be the biggest determining factor in the Ravens’ success or lack thereof this season.
#1 – Coming Up With a New Slogan – If John Harbaugh wasn’t having such success as an NFL coach in his 3-year tenure with the Ravens, one might suggest he pursue a career in marketing. In addition to his knack for having his teams ready to play from week to week, Harbaugh has also shown a knack for getting them up to play through the week to week grind of NFL football. From “Play Like a Raven” to the Muhammad Ali inspired “What’s Our Name”, from the inspirational story of Nehemiah to the recognition of Baltimore’s “53 Mighty Men” Harbaugh has never seemingly been at a loss for a poignant theme or reference. It’s fair to say that players and fans alike have been waiting with baited breath to hear this year’s Harbaugh-ism. Given his biblical affinity and his Thanksgiving Day opponent, I might suggest an infamous tale from Genesis.
Posted on 08 June 2011 by Glenn Clark
Here is my first offseason/preseason ranking of the players who are currently property of the Baltimore Ravens or who were property of the team at the end of the 2010 season.
This list INCLUDES players who are not under contract-whether they are tendered restricted free agents, draft picks, exclusive rights free agents or even players who are expected to reach unrestricted free agency this offseason.
Unlike in the past, I will do this list by position as I attempt to further explain how the team’s roster currently shapes up.
I apologize for my delay in putting this compilation together. Blame Gary Williams…and the Triple Crown…and the team’s practices at Towson University…and my own laziness.
Obviously there is much to be done before any of this matters, but this is simply “as the roster stands now” analysis.
Marc Bulger (UFA)
The quarterback position is still in much less than full clarity at this point.
Joe Flacco has been a NFL quarterback for 55 games, including the playoffs. Joe Flacco has played every snap in 55 of those 55 games.
A season ago, the Ravens took a slight risk by parting ways with two backups-trading John Beck to the Washington Redskins during Training Camp and releasing Troy Smith after the preseason finale in St. Louis. They decided to carry only two active quarterbacks, paying a hefty price for veteran backup Marc Bulger.
Bulger appears to be out in Charm City, with most in the league believing he is destined to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. The Ravens knew they’d need to address quarterback depth during the draft and did so by selecting the explosive former Virginia Tech Hokies star (Taylor-pictured above) in the 6th round.
While Taylor (who hails from the quarterback hotbed of Hampton, Virginia) certainly has a number of supporters who believe him capable of being a legitimate starter in the league-he will not play that role in Baltimore unless there is turmoil this season one way or another (injury or failure).
Flacco is the starter. Taylor will have a great chance of making the roster. The real question facing the team is how else to address the position. It is believed that the Ravens will pursue another veteran QB of sorts when (if?) free agency finally begins. Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington has been a much rumored name the team could consider pursuing.
Should the Ravens not acquire a veteran free agent to backup Flacco, Cantwell could remain in the mix. He spent the entire 2010 season on the team’s practice squad-but has in the past been an active part of the Carolina Panthers’ roster.
With Taylor unlikely to be let go (or placed at risk of being taken away by trying to move him to the practice squad) but also unlikely to be the primary backup early in his career, it is fairly safe to assume the team will keep three quarterbacks this season.
Running Backs/Fullbacks (8):
Rice is obviously the team’s “featured” back. The issue for Cam Cameron’s offense this offseason is figuring out how to complement the fourth year back moving forward.
The worst kept secret in football is that the Ravens intend to part ways with McGahee because he is unwilling to take a cut from the $6 million he is owed. Should McGahee find the market slim there would always be a chance he could look towards Baltimore again, but it certainly appears unlikely.
With McGahee apparently gone, the Ravens will have to build their backfield without him. One option is McClain, who had his best season yet as a true fullback in 2010 (despite the fact that he was actually passed over for Pro Bowl recognition by Houston Texans FB Vonta Leach) but who has made clear his desire to carry the football more often.
McClain was initially thought to be on the cusp of reaching free agency this offseason (and departing), but without a new CBA McClain (and other fourth and fifth year players) would likely remain under contract. McClain’s size and potential goal line/short distance ability make him potentially a solid complement for Rice.
Should the Ravens move McClain into that role, they would likely need to consider keeping McKie or otherwise improving the fullback position. McKie was a non-factor during his brief stay at the end of the 2010 season-but could be a viable option in a thin market.
Parmele (pictured above) is the wild card in the backfield. The coaching staff has remained high on him throughout his time in Baltimore (and he has connections with Cameron dating back to the Dolphins). Parmele has remained a value special teams player (and is a viable return option), but he has run the ball only seven times in his career.
Lawrence, Allen and Steele are all question marks (and possibly longshots) to make the roster. Lawrence is a talented special teams player but missed the 2010 season with a torn ACL. Allen (the team’s 7th round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft) is hoping his 6’1″, 228 pound frame is enough to get him on the roster. Steele spent the 2010 season on the practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis. The team liked his quick hitting ability, but he will have an uphill climb-especially if there is no Training Camp.
Posted on 29 April 2011 by Glenn Clark
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Let me start with some full disclosure. I’m a University of Maryland alum and an unabashed supporter of the Terrapins football program.
I’ll follow with further full disclosure. There was no prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft that I was more familiar with than former Terps WR Torrey Smith. You probably won’t remember this gem of an “interview” from the team’s 2010 Media Day in College Park…
On top of that, I coordinated a weekly appearance between Smith and AM1570 host Thyrl Nelson every Tuesday since January on “The Mobtown Sports Beat.”
Now that it’s all out there, I’ll speak freely.
And after looking past a lengthy rap-sheet to select Colorado CB Jimmy Smith in the first round, the Baltimore Ravens grabbed an amazing human being in the 2nd-round (58th pick overall) by selecting their second Smith of the week.
(They’re of course hoping he pans out to be just as good of a football player at the NFL level as well.)
Smith’s story is well-known amongst Maryland fans, and will quickly become just as known amongst similar Ravens fans who gobbled up everything Michael Oher and “The Blind Side” related two seasons ago.
As detailed in an incredible Washington Post story by Eric Prisbell (Head Coach John Harbaugh said Friday night he was “choked up” and “proud” of Smith after just reading the article), Smith’s childhood was impossibly difficult.
Smith was born three months early, undersized with meningitis and jaundice. He was rushed to an incubator and lived the first 10 weeks of his life in a hospital.
Smith’s childhood would leave him witness to a scene where his mother, Monica, was held at gunpoint by her then-husband and Smith was immediately forced to help raise his younger siblings as early as the age of four.
As recently as 2010, Smith’s mother had faced up to ten years in prison stemming from a fight with her daughter-in-law (a plea agreement would help prevent the lengthy sentence).
As I said, I’d suggest you read the story.
“You saw the celebration (after the pick was announced) when they had Torrey on TV?” asked Harbaugh following the 2nd round. “I want you to know there was a bigger celebration in our Draft room when we got this player.”
The Ravens are clearly excited about adding Smith’s size, speed and resume to a receiving corps that already features multiple Pro Bowl performers in Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin. Smith measured in at 6’1″, 204 pounds and clocked a 4.41 time in the forty yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. During three seasons in College Park, he tallied 2,281 yards from scrimmage and 20 offensive touchdowns to go with 2,983 return yards and three additional TD’s.
Some scouts thought he had first-round talent, but some questions about his route-running forced him to drop into the second.
The Ravens were grateful to find him there.
“He can peal the top off a defense,” said General Manager Ozzie Newsome. “He brings that added dimension to our pass game. [Quarterback] Joe [Flacco] is a deep-thrower. Joe has the ability to throw the deep ball…he has the arm strength to do it. Now we’re giving Joe an additional weapon and that opens up our passing game.”
Newsome would go on jokingly to label Smith as a “3-point shooter” in the Ravens offense: “At any point if the ball gets in his hands, Billy [Cundiff] is coming out to kick an extra point.”
The deep-ball was sorely missing from the Ravens offense last year. The team had just seven passing plays of 40-plus yards-Mason led the team with two-during 16 regular season games and then recorded none in the postseason.
After finding out his football future would lead him up the road to Charm City, Smith told reporters he knew his character would help his transition.
“I knew the way I am as a person…the way I play fit the way they do things up there,” he said.
As much as the Ravens will benefit from the addition of Smith on the field, they will absolutely benefit from the addition of a man like Torrey Smith in their locker room as well.
Former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen said of Smith in the Post story, “God created a perfect person.”
The Ravens might settle for a good guy. And a really good receiver.
RAVENS DEAL FOR ANOTHER “REID”: The Ravens dealt their third round pick (90th overall) and one of two sixth round picks (191st overall) to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up five spots and select Central Florida OT Jah Reid in the 3rd round (85th overall).
Reid (6’7″, 327 pounds) was described by Newsome as a “fast-riser” on the Ravens draft board following his performance at this year’s East-West Shrine Game in Orlando.
The Ravens will start the 2010 first-team All-Conference-USA selection at RT, where he will find a bit of a crowd. Jared Gaither missed all of 2010 with a back injury and could reach free agency depending on the resolution of the CBA-dispute between the league and the NFLPA.
Marshal Yanda is a restricted free agent (expected to return) who performed admirably filling in for Gaither but Harbaugh has said the team would prefer to move him back to his more natural right guard position.
Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll have not shown themselves as viable options to play significantly. 2010 6th-round pick Ramon Harewood also missed the entire season needing surgery on both knees.
When asked what the Ravens liked about Reid, Harbaugh said: “he is long, he is powerful and he can bend.”
NOTES: The Ravens will receive no compensation from the National Football League or the Chicago Bears following a miscue during the attempt of a first-round trade. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “encouraged” the Bears to give the Ravens a 4th round pick, but the Bears chose not to do so……The Ravens are scheduled to introduce Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith to reporters at an 11am press conference Saturday at 1 Winning Drive……The Ravens are slated to make five picks on Saturday. They currently hold one fourth round pick (123rd overall), two compensatory fifth round picks (164th and 165th overall), one sixth round pick (180th overall, acquired from the St. Louis Rams in last year’s Mark Clayton deal) and one seventh round pick (225th overall, acquired from the Eagles in last year’s Antwan Barnes deal)……Hear from Newsome, Harbaugh, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and Torrey Smith now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net