Posted on 17 March 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 27 February 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 20 February 2012 by Glenn Clark
Stop me if you heard this one before.
If Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training but no one has ever heard of them before, did it actually happen?
To at least some extent, that was the case in Sarasota this weekend. Baltimore Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Ed Smith Stadium for an opportunity to
prepare for a run towards the AL East crown introduce themselves to the men they now call teammates.
A year ago, there was a level of false hope about what a full season under manager Buck Showalter and the arrivals of veteran MLB players like Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds could do for baseball in Charm City. There is of course none of that in 2012, but you already knew that.
To be fair, I’m as surprised as you that Endy Chavez fever simply hasn’t spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
The start of Spring Training (most O’s pitchers had actually arrived in Sarasota in advance of this weekend’s report date) produced neither excitement nor as much as a batted eye to baseball fans in Baltimore this year. I will admit that I did not miss the insufferable “Happy New Year” updates on Facebook and Twitter from snobby baseball fans who are unaware their favorite sport is no longer our national pastime, but that’s the only good thing to be said.
It strikes me on this Monday that I honestly find myself pining for a year in which expectations (or at least hopes) for mediocrity fizzled into just another miserable summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’m not pining over memories of a World Series run or even a relevant game on Labor Day. I’m pining for a team that mattered…at least a little bit…on St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s that bad.
Some of you will likely use the comments section here to accuse me of wasting hundreds of words on taking a shot at the Orioles. I don’t know that I’ll really bother to argue much with you.
There will be plenty of storylines between now and Opening Day, it’s just that none of them will be interesting.
Someone will have to start against the Minnesota Twins on April 6. Zach Britton is the easy fan favorite, but will have to show his shoulder is 100 percent to even get into the competition. The team will reportedly have to line up four more starters behind whoever goes out for Game 1, despite the fact that you’d be hard pressed to name three quality pitchers in the group of 30 that showed up this weekend.
They also need one of those pitchers to finish games. Jim Johnson is the guy fans most want to see get the role. Fans’ second choice? Anyone not named Kevin Gregg.
Brian Roberts’ health will be the closest we come to seeing something compelling in March. A healthy Roberts would by no means guide the team towards contention, but it would be nice to see the veteran second baseman return to the field instead of being ushered into retirement. Barring injury all other starting positions on the field are set. That’s of course part of the problem, as even with talented players like JJ Hardy, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones suiting up there’s little hope of producing enough against the staffs in Boston, New York and Tampa Bay.
There will be some competition for bench jobs, but that excitement will wear off before I can finish typing the names Matt Antonelli and Jai Miller. But hey! Look over there! It’s Nick Johnson! I’ve heard of him!
We’re going to attempt to have some relevant baseball conversation over the course of the next few weeks. All of it will involve the phrase “not like it really matters, but…” at some point. If it doesn’t, the conversation will probably be started by someone asking “have you heard anything more about those rumors that Peter Angelos is thinking about selling the team?”.
We can only pray that at some point Dan Duquette makes an off-color comment about Brian Cashman’s off-field exploits to momentarily make the Birds interesting. If you’re not, rest easy knowing I certainly am. I’d settle for a rumor that Oil Can Boyd was going to get coked up and make a start at OPACY to promote his new book.
(Now that I’ve typed those words, I actually think it’s a hell of an idea. Please pass it along to someone.)
Yes, it’s baseball season again in Baltimore. Anyone wanna talk about Justin Boren’s future in purple?
Posted on 31 January 2012 by WNST Staff
ORIOLES TO PLAY EXHIBITION GAME AGAINST
STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA ON APRIL 3
The Orioles today announced that they have reached an agreement with State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) Manatees Baseball, to play an exhibition game at Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday, April 3 at 1:05 p.m. There will be no admission charge to attend the game, with the exception of reserved tickets near the SCF dugout which will be sold by the college with proceeds supporting Manatees athletics. Tickets can be reserved through the SCF athletic department at 941-752-5261.
Formerly known as Manatee Community College, the institution has enjoyed a rich athletic tradition throughout their 54 year history. The baseball program has produced over 185 professional baseball players and over 350 players have gone on to four year universities. Legendary coach Tim Hill Sr., only the second baseball coach in school history, is in his 32nd and last year as head coach of the team.
“The State College of Florida is extremely grateful to the Orioles for enabling us to continue our tradition of facing a major league team,” said State College of Florida Athletic Director Matthew Ennis. “The game means so much to our school and the surrounding community and our players are thrilled for the opportunity to play at Ed Smith Stadium.”
Current Orioles pitcher JIM JOHNSON is a student at State College of Florida, taking online classes to complete his Liberal Arts degree.
For the last 12 years the school played an annual exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the only junior college in the nation to play a major league team in spring training. The game against the Orioles will allow the State College of Florida to continue this tradition.
Posted on 25 January 2012 by WNST Staff
SARASOTA HIGHLIGHTED TO MILLIONS IN THE MID-ATLANTIC REGION
THROUGH ORIOLES SPRING TRAINING TV BROADCASTS
The Orioles recently announced their radio and television broadcasts for the 2012 spring training season, providing the Sarasota area exposure to millions of households in the Mid-Atlantic region.
MASN, the Orioles’ television rightsholder, will air six spring training games from Ed Smith Stadium in 2012, the most MASN has ever broadcast. Those games include March 5 vs. Pittsburgh, March 11 vs. Boston, March 18 vs. New York, March 23 vs. Boston, March 24 vs. Washington and April 1 vs. Tampa Bay. MASN’s exclusive television territory covers over seven million households in all or parts of six states and the District of Columbia from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Charlotte, North Carolina.
“The broadcast of Orioles spring training games back to the Mid-Atlantic market is a huge promotional bonus for Sarasota,” said VIRGINIA HALEY, President of the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The three-hour broadcasts are often filled with images of beaches, shopping districts, marinas and other recreational activities, helping to promote the Greater Sarasota area as a true tourist destination.”
“Millions of households can learn about the beauty and attractions of the Sarasota area by watching or listening to Orioles spring training broadcasts, creating an awareness that can lead to increased interest and tourism in the region,” said GREG BADER, Orioles Director of Communications. “In addition to our local broadcasts, the Sarasota area also benefits from radio and television broadcasts of spring training games by the Orioles’ opponents to their regional audiences across the United States.”
The Orioles’ 2012 spring training season will begin on Monday, March 5 at 7:05 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the new Ed Smith Stadium. Both MASN and WBAL Radio will broadcast the game live.
Posted on 29 November 2011 by WNST Staff
The Orioles Tuesday announced their 2012 Grapefruit League schedule, which opens March 5 with an afternoon split-squad contest in Port Charlotte against the Tampa Bay Rays and an evening contest at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
2012 marks the third consecutive spring training for the Orioles in Sarasota, and the second in the renovated Ed Smith Stadium.
Baltimore will face 10 different opponents at home during the 2012 Grapefruit League campaign, including the Boston Red Sox three times and the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays two times each. The Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals will each make one visit to Ed Smith Stadium.
The Orioles will play 15 games on the road during the 2012 Grapefruit League schedule. They will make two trips to play the Blue Jays, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox, Twins and Pirates and one trip to face the Braves, Tigers and Yankees.
The Orioles will also host Florida Southern College April 2 in Sarasota.
Fans interested in season plans, five-game flex packs or group tickets, or those wishing to receive additional spring training ticket information may visit www.orioles.com/spring or call the Orioles spring training office in Sarasota at 941-893-6300.
The on-sale date for single game tickets for all 15 of the Orioles’ Grapefruit League games at Ed Smith Stadium, as well as player reporting dates, will be announced at a later time.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES 2012 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE
Day Date Opponent Location Time
Monday March 5 Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05
Pittsburgh Pirates Sarasota 7:05
Tuesday March 6 Boston Red Sox Fort Myers 1:35
Wednesday March 7 Minnesota Twins Sarasota 1:05
Thursday March 8 Atlanta Braves Sarasota 1:05
Friday March 9 Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05
Saturday March 10 Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater 1:05
Sunday March 11 Boston Red Sox Sarasota 1:05
Monday March 12 Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 1:05
Tuesday March 13 Tampa Bay Rays Sarasota 1:05
Wednesday March 14 Pittsburgh Pirates Sarasota 1:05
Thursday March 15 Detroit Tigers Lakeland 1:05
Friday March 16 Minnesota Twins (ss) Fort Myers 1:05
Saturday March 17 Boston Red Sox (ss) Sarasota 1:05
Boston Red Sox (ss) Fort Myers 1:35
Sunday March 18 New York Yankees (ss) Sarasota TBA
Atlanta Braves (ss) Orlando 1:05
Monday March 19 off day
Tuesday March 20 Philadelphia Phillies Sarasota 1:05
Wednesday March 21 Toronto Blue Jays Sarasota 1:05
Thursday March 22 Minnesota Twins Fort Myers 1:05
Friday March 23 Boston Red Sox Sarasota 1:05
Saturday March 24 Washington Nationals Sarasota 1:05
Sunday March 25 Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater 1:05
Monday March 26 Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 7:05
Tuesday March 27 Minnesota Twins Sarasota 1:05
Wednesday March 28 Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 1:05
Thursday March 29 New York Yankees Tampa 7:05
Friday March 30 Detroit Tigers Sarasota 7:05
Saturday March 31 Pittsburgh Pirates (ss) Bradenton 1:05
Sunday April 1 Tampa Bay Rays Sarasota 1:05
Monday April 2 Florida Southern College Sarasota 7:05
Posted on 03 July 2011 by Glenn Clark
I know a thing or two about format flips.
I remember exactly where I was sitting in January 2005 when I heard the final bars of “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley (one of the greatest songs in music history) before hearing the following come from my radio…
“WHFS. Annapolis. Washington DC.” It was immediately followed by a lot of Spanish, but I think I remember the words “Siempre de Fiesta” and “Noventa-nueve punto uno eff eme.”
It was followed by some sort of latin song that if I knew I would curse it to this day.
21 years old at the time, I can honest to God say that the day 99.1 WHFS became 99.1 El Zol was one of the saddest days of my life. It honestly felt like losing a friend.
In my teenage years, I camped outside of Harford Mall, White Marsh Mall and even on York Road in Towson to get HFStival tickets. I tuned in late at night to hear Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky (one of the greatest teams in broadcast history) sign off Loveline at 1am with Adam’s trademark Hawaiian “Maholo.” (I found out at an older age “maholo” actually meant “thank you”, not “goodbye.” I will admit that I am still confused as to why he used it.) I stayed tuned in to hear if at 1:05 Neci would play my favorite songs from Everclear, Stone Temple Pilots, Beck or Pearl Jam.
Hell, I even called and emailed Neci repeatedly hoping she would play the Candyskins’ version of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. I really did. There was nothing cooler to me in my life than when I became friends with Neci on MySpace. It was hard for me to admit that to her after we started working together.
It was my dream as a teenager to be a WHFS disc jockey. I ultimately got the chance to live that dream, but I still swear to God I shed a tear the moment I realized the latin sounds from my radio meant 99.1 WHFS was gone forever.
Posted on 01 April 2011 by John Collingsworth
With spring training officially over and the 2011 regular season beginning for the Baltimore Orioles in a few hours, everything seems different. The attitude, the atmosphere, and the mind-set of the organization point towards a promising future with Buck Showalter commanding the ship.
Andy MacPhail, Orioles President of Baseball Operations sat down with Drew Forrester of “The Morning Reaction” during spring training in Sarasota to talk about the revamped Birds and the new skipper.
Though it was not Showalter’s idea to manage the Orioles for the remainder of the 2010 season, MacPhail realized the importance of bringing him in sooner rather than later.
“We felt like we did not want to be last in line. That moving more quickly would benefit us in our circumstances so we made our change relatively early on,” MacPhail told Forrester. “We were looking for someone that had credibility…had a great desire and reputation for getting his team as prepared as possible, and you know Buck [Showalter] really fit all of those definitions to a ‘T’… as far as him coming in in-season, I felt it was important that he get the opportunity to help us in our offseason quest in terms of what we will do. I think he was best situated to do that if he was going to spend a third of the year with the team… I was not expecting to go from a .300 winning percentage to a .600 winning percentage just by him walking through the door. That was an added plus. The real effort was to try to get him some familiarity with his team going forward.”
As the 2010 season ended, the Orioles essentially had three managers, but only one of them had a winning record. Forrester asked MacPhail how come the players only responded to Showalter.
“I think you look at it objectively as you can, the thing that made the greatest stride was our starting pitching. Our young starters had an ERA just over 5 ½ prior to August 2nd then Buck comes on August 3rd and they have an ERA just over 3, the second best in the American League,” MacPhail said. “They gave Dave [Trembley] and Juan [Samuel] good efforts as well and they certainly, as well, wanted the players to be accountable. It’s just sometimes the way our game works.”
Going forward, MacPhail has a recipe of success for the Orioles.
“In our view, the strategy this franchise needs to employ is the philosophy, growing the arms and you can find the bats, and you don’t have to look further back than this last off-season,” the O’s President said. “Derrek Lee was signed as a free agent, JJ Hardy was traded for, Mark Reynolds was traded for, and Vlad Guerrero was signed as a free agent. That’s almost half your lineup right there. And they are generally a commodity you can find in the off-season. That’s not the case with pitching. Pitching is expensive, it’s fragile, as unfortunately we learn every spring with other clubs circumstances.”
The Orioles are in a division with two of the highest payrolls in baseball with the New York Yankees ($206.7 million) and the Boston Red Sox ($160.9 million), and the only way for them to compete against the money are intelligent moves in the off-season. MacPhail was asked about the possibility of signing Albert Pujols when he is a free agent after the 2011 season.
“First off, you can’t talk about specific players who are under contract with other teams, that would be tampering and we certainly don’t want to do that,” MacPhail stated. “But I would remind you that we did make a 7 year-$20 million plus offer to Mark Teixeira because we thought… you had a local player, switch hitter, young, good defender at first, you could look at the seven year deal and reasonably think given his age and the position he played, that he could be productive throughout that entire contract.”
“Its got to be the perfect storm of the right player for a variety of reasons because if we are wrong and the player gets hurt and you have that percentage of your payroll tied up in one player, then you really are biting the problem for a long time.”
Baltimore yearns for a baseball team that can play a meaningful game in the month of September, and that has yet to happen since 1997. MacPhail pointed out that the folks here in Charm City will know when the Oriole Magic is back in Camden Yards.
“Fans aren’t stupid. They know improvement when they see it. They understand a lot, particularly, if they have the time and they want to read a lot, there’s a lot of information out available to them, more so then when I was a kid growing up. They’ll know when your making positive steps. You can’t really spin it. They’re going to understand when you are making progress,” MacPhail told Forrester.
“From our stand point, becoming .500 isn’t really the goal, we have different goals in mind.”
With one year left on his contract, MacPhail is not worried about an extension at this moment.
“I’m fine with the end of the season. Let’s see how we do. Everybody is sort of in a euphoric mode right now, things in our business may look differently in six months, I hope not. But you never know. I’m fine with waiting and just seeing how things play out.”
Posted on 22 March 2011 by Tom Federline
Go to Florida. If you are one of those people like me, who have been putting a Spring Training trip off for whatever reason – stop with the excuses and Go to Florida! It may be to late for this year, so start planning for next year. IF, you are a true baseball fan. IF, you feel the need to experience an early summer. IF, you need to be revived – mentally and physically. Go to Sarasota, Florida. After 30 some years of talking about it and with the encouragement of my daughter (the 2nd biggest Oriole fan in our family), we finally headed south. Turned out to be one of the top 5 vacations we’ve been on. Grant it, we were blessed with the Florida sunshine, 80 degree temperatures and basically “Chamber of Commerce” weather. All that did was simply enhance the overall experience.
It is March – NCAA basketball tourney, St. Patty’s Day, Gulf Coast beaches and Oriole baseball – in Florida. Are you kidding me? You fly into Tampa, you get the rental car, you roll down the window and proceed south on Route 75, going 75 or you will be run over by Granny who is doing 85+. We hit downtown Sarasota and fans with baseball jerseys are abundant. Our Oriole affiliated hotel was probably: 50% O’s fans, 25% miscellaneous MLB team fans and 25% general vacationers. If you had orange and black on, a conversation was initiated. I’m talking good conversation – Orioles, baseball, Baltimore and Florida. My daughters comment after the secoond day – “Everyone is so friendly here.” My response – a) people are on vacation. b) Majority are baseball fans. c) there is a common thread and that thread is – Baltimore and Oriole baseball.”
Ed Smith Stadium – the talk of the Spring Training Parks. A must see among the baseball faithful who make it a point to include the Grapefruit League as a scheduled vacation every year. The 2 games we attended, Minnesota and Phillies were sold out. Yes, sold out spring training games. People were scalping tickets for 2-3x box office price. People at the hotel were contacting ticket brokers. It was nuts. I was not expecting that. The smell of summer was in the air and the anticipation of a competitive Orioles team and season within reach. The Orioles and design team did a nice renovation of the ballpark. From the pictures I saw of the condition prior to renovation and the work that was accomplished in a year – props to the construction team. Clean, new, fan friendly, reasonable prices, 8,000 Camden green seats, decent food and quality baseball no more than say 50 feet from you at any given time. Go to Florida.
Orioles report – Nick Markakis (Future Hall of Famer) – you knew I had to get that out first. Vlad Guerrero is going to keep you watching. Saw the new third baseman, Mark Reynolds bat 5 times, he struck out 4. JJ Hardy looks like he’s 16 years old – winds up on delivery to first - but has a gun. Derek Lee is a large dude that may have Glenn Davis syndrome. Jake Fox hit a foul ball down the left field line that I do not believe has come down yet. Starting pitching will surprise the league. 85 wins!
Opening Day starting line-up: Robert Andino 2B (guess we’ll see Roberts after All-Star break and Izturis needs to learn how to turn DP), Adam Jones CF, (Future Hall of Famer) RF, Vlad (DH), Luke Scott LF, JJ Hardy SS, Jake Fox 1B, Weiters C, Mark Reynolds 3B, Guthrie P. Need to get Pie into line-up. Hopefully Derek Lee will mend his body. Leadoff batter is going to be tough with Roberts out again. If they can just hang in there until All-Star break. 85 wins!
Gang, last week I had my “Cheeseburger in Paradise” – (do I have to even write his name). I suggest you do the same. Go to Florida and experience O’s Spring Training and the Sarasota area. It’s healthy!
Posted on 10 March 2011 by Glenn Clark
We’re over ten days removed from the National Football League’s annual Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis.
I apologize for the delay in updates, a trip to Sarasota for Orioles Spring Training is to blame.
Now draft season heads back to campus, as schools host Pro Timing Days for their NFL Draft hopefuls.
The Baltimore Ravens brought a significant contingent of personnel folks to the premiere event during Draft season, including General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and Head Coach John Harbaugh. The group was very active over the weekend with meetings and workouts.
Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.
QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech)
FB-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
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), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn)
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), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal)
DE-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin)
LB-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State)
S-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado)
If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.
Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 4, 5 & 6-Previews of players ahead of the Combine
The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…
1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
6. Inside Linebacker
9. Running Back
Here are ten more prospects to keep an eye on as we move from the Combine to Pro Timing Days.
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.
DE Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)
Remember when former Buckeyes LB James Laurinaitis was headed towards the 2009 NFL Draft and his name couldn’t come up without a mention of his father Joe Laurinaitis (the former WWF star “Road Warrior Animal”)?
Be prepared for the same now with Cameron Heyward-the son of former New Orleans Saints RB Craig “Ironhead” Heyward.
Much like Lauriniatis, Heyward heads toward the Draft as a marquee prospect.
Heyward measured in at 6’5″, 294 pounds in Indy. The only disappointing part of his weekend was that an offseason elbow surgery prevented him from being able to lift, where he would have been expected to show off great upper body strength.
Heyward probably won’t be able to lift between now and the Draft, which could allow him to slip to late in the first round or completely out of the first round altogether. He did take time however to show reporters assembled in Indianapolis that he was fully capable of bending his arm at the elbow and had a full range of motion in his arm.
The most impressive part of Heyward’s trip to Indy was his session with the media. Heyward was very impressive in talking to reporters, thinking back on a life growing up around the NFL.
The question for the Ravens will be whether or not Heyward can consistently pressure quarterbacks. He tallied just four sacks during his senior year in Columbus, 15 sacks overall during four seasons at OSU.
The Ravens NEED a rush end, we all know that. But they need a rush end who they can count on to truly generate…well…a rush. There’s certainly a chance Heyward could be that player.
WR Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union)
Shorts just joined Thyrl Nelson Monday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST. If you missed it, I suggest you check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.
Shorts found immediate superstardom in Charm City over Combine weekend, as the Ravens didn’t hide from their interest in him. Shorts in fact confirmed to WNST.net that he had met with the team’s entire coaching staff and Newsome.
Shorts is smart to bring up the name Pierre Garcon every time he speaks, as the fellow former Purple Raiders receiver has found immediate success with the Colts.
For as much attention as was paid to Shorts during Combine weekend, his 40 time and measurements hurt. He was listed as 6’2″ during college, but measured in at 6’0″. For a speed receiver, his 4.53 time in the forty was disappointing.
Shorts finished his college career with 4,615 yards receiving, which is nothing to sneeze at. He of course posted those numbers at a Division III school, although Mt. Union was one of the premiere programs at the D3 level.
He’s not going to be a Thursday night pick…or a Friday night pick. And Shorts is certainly not “the answer” for the Ravens in terms of upgrading their WR corps. But he could become a solid complementary piece in Cam Cameron’s offense, and could certainly be an option in the team’s return game.
RB Dion Lewis (Pitt)
Has there been a more confusing early NFL Draft entry in recent years than Lewis?
Lewis is not a prototypical every down back. He’s much closer to a Ray Rice type of undersized back who will have to be involved in the passing game to really make an impact at the next level.
Of course, that’s an overly fair comparison. No one in the NFL thinks Dion Lewis is the next Ray Rice right now, which is why he could still be an intriguing option late in the Draft.
Lewis (5’7″, 193 pounds) played for just two seasons with the Panthers before departing for the NFL. His (redshirt) freshman season was incredible, as his 1,799 rushing yards and 5.5 yards per carry average made fans in Western Pennsylvania forget about LeSean McCoy, who had been drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.
But his production in his sophomore season didn’t quite reach the same level, as he ran for just 1,061 yards and his average fell to 4.8 yards per carry.
Certainly part of the reason McCoy left school is because of the way running backs are now used in the NFL. There is a common thought that teams are looking for backs with more “tread left on the tires”, as the average shelf life for a back is much shorter than it once was.
Lewis would NOT be a “replacement” for Willis McGahee should the Ravens cut tie with the veteran as expected. But the Ravens could be looking to add multiple pieces to their backfield. As the Draft gets later, Lewis could be an option.
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami)
You’re thinking to yourself…”I know that name!”
You do. Van Dyke became one of the more recognizable names of Draft season when he posted a blazing 4.28 forty yard dash at the Combine, making him the fastest man in Indianapolis.
On top of his speed, scouts clearly like Van Dyke’s size. The former Hurricanes DB measured in at 6’1″, 176 pounds in Indianapolis.
Unfortunately, speed and size alone do not make a player a legitimate NFL prospect. Van Dyke collected three interceptions during his career in Coral Gables, but struggled underneath and in zone situations, only really showing true ability in deep man coverages.
If he wasn’t 6’1″ and blazing fast, Van Dyke wouldn’t be a prospect AT ALL. Because of his size and speed, a team is going to be willing to take a late round chance on his as a developmental prospect.
The Ravens have questions in their secondary; as Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are all unrestricted free agents. On top of that, Cary Williams is an exclusive rights free agent and Domonique Foxworth is coming off an ACL injury.
Van Dyke is NOT a player the Ravens could take at the top of the Draft and plug in to play next season. But he could be allowed to progress behind veteran corners in Chuck Pagano’s defense.
DE Dontay Moch (Nevada)
What we know is that Moch is FAST.
He posted a 4.44 time in the forty at the Combine, easily the fastest amongst D-Linemen and Linebackers. What’s crazier is that Moch had previously recorded a 4.20 forty time at a Pro Timing Day in Reno as a junior.
The question for scouts now is whether or not Moch can match his speed with defensive skill.
Moch is a 6’1″, 248 pound end who many folks believe will have to be converted to an OLB at the next level. That would obviously limit his value to a team like the Ravens, who are in desperate need of D-End help.
Moch definitely showed an ability to get to the QB during his four seasons with the Wolf Pack, collecting 29 sacks during his career. He’s also intelligent, composing a NFL Draft diary during the process for the website SB Nation Arizona (he’s a Chandler, Arizona native).
If the Ravens feel he can team with LB Terrell Suggs and provide pressure from the edge, he could very well be a Friday night choice.
QB Jake Locker (Washington)
If there was any thought process that somehow Jake Locker could slip far enough in the Draft that he could end up being an option for the Ravens, it’s certainly gone now.
While there are still questions about his throwing accuracy, Locker’s 4.52 time in the 40 yard dash and overall Combine performance confirmed that he’ll be a 2nd round pick at worst. That’s far too early for the Ravens to consider a quarterback with an established starter in Joe Flacco.
Locker will not be the Top 10 pick we once thought he would be, but the former Huskies QB seems more and more likely to be picked 25th by his hometown Seattle Seahawks.
Wherever he ends up, he’ll bring 53 TD passes as a Pac 10 quarterback and a solid 6’3″, 231 pound frame.
But unless something were to happen to Flacco between now and the end of April, he won’t be bringing those attributes to Baltimore.
C Rodney Hudson (Florida State)
The bad news? Hudson was a guard (and actually played some tackle as well) in Tallahassee, and was a bit undersized even for a very talented ACC Offensive Lineman.
The good news? Hudson is expected to play center at the NFL level, reported to the Combine ten pounds heavier than when he played in the Senior Bowl and would have at least a season (fingers crossed for good health) to study under veteran Matt Birk.
Hudson checked in at 6’2″, 299 pounds in Indianapolis, and the only downside for the Ravens is that he’s continuously risen on Draft boards.
He won’t be taken before Mike Pouncey, but he might not last long enough for the Ravens to get him with the 59th pick in the draft.
Most scouts think Hudson could play immediately. If the Ravens can call his name in New York, they might have the benefit of not having to find out.
LB Colin McCarthy (Miami)
Looking to the Canes for defensive help wouldn’t be something new for the Ravens organization.
At times, their success has reached a historic level (see Ray Lewis & Ed Reed). At other times, the jury is still out (see Tavares Gooden).
Interesting to mention the names of Gooden and Lewis, as both play a role in why McCarthy might be a legitimate choice for the Ravens.
Gooden is part of a trio (Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain are the others) who have failed to solidify the WILL backer spot next to Lewis in the team’s 3-4 scheme. And as Harbaugh pointed out in a town hall conference call with fans this week, the team is aware that they have to start considering a long term replacement for Lewis at the MIKE backer spot.
McCarthy could be an option for either role…or perhaps both.
McCarthy is a 6’1″, 238 pound linebacker with decent speed who was a tackle machine (120 in his senior season, 297 for his career) during his time playing for Randy Shannon at “The U.”
On top of being a solid football player, he’s also a smart kid. If you missed his interview with Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, I would encourage you to check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net.
He’s going to go somewhere between the second and fourth rounds of the Draft. It might very well end up that he finds his way to Baltimore.
QB Greg McElroy (Alabama)
Despite the fact it was a 43 he posted on the Wonderlic and not a 48, we know that McElroy is intelligent.
We also know that he’s a winner-which helped him win a BCS Championship as a junior with the Crimson Tide.
He also posted fairly impressive numbers in Tuscaloosa, throwing for 5,495 yards and 17 TD’s combined between his junior and senior seasons.
McElroy might not be a future franchise quarterback and will likely stay on the board well into Saturday. That’s exactly where the Ravens might be looking for a quarterback to play behind Flacco with Marc Bulger’s future in question.
He’s got pretty good size, measuring in at 6’2″, 220 pounds at the Combine. We know that Newsome LOVES to draft players from Alabama.
I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone if McElroy ended up in purple and black.
LB Martez Wilson (Illinois)
As we mentioned with McCarthy, the Ravens are definitely in the market for ILB help.
Wilson is considered by most scouts (including our own Brian Billick) to be the best inside backer available this year. He posted an impressive 4.49 time in the forty at the Combine, making him the fastest backer in the Draft.
Wilson measured in at 6’4″, 250 pounds in Indy; and had an impressive 111 tackles during his final season with the Illini.
The Ravens are going to need ILB help in this Draft. The question will be whether or not they will want to address it as early as will be necessary to walk away with Wilson. He’s going to have a chance to go as early as late in the first round (the Ravens pick 26th) or early in the second round.
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…