Tag Archive | "Senior Bowl"

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Ravens Draft Day 2: Plenty of Talent, Plenty of Questions

Posted on 23 April 2010 by Glenn Clark

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Owings Mills, MD Not that he couldn’t have expected that the questions would come, but you could see the exact moment the frustration of answering non-football questions about the Ravens’ 2nd day NFL Draft picks set in for GM Ozzie Newsome.

When asked about reports that former Texas LB and 43rd overall pick Sergio Kindle suffered from narcolepsy, Newsome shook his head, allowed Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta to defend him, and then quipped “he’s a pretty good player on tape.”

The Baltimore Ravens walked away from Day 2 of the NFL Draft with plenty of talent in Texas LB Sergio Kindle, Alabama DT Terrence Cody and Oregon TE Ed Dickson. The haul is particularly impressive considering the first two players were each widely considered to be Top 30 talents available in the Draft, yet they were each acquired in the 2nd round.

Talent-wise, the Ravens pulled off a major heist.

However, it must be taken into consideration that when players assumed by scouts and analysts to be top-level talent end up being selected later than expected, there are immediate reasons for concern.

In the case of Kindle, the number of red flags rivals the number that will be assembled in the corners of every pitch at this summer’s World Cup.

There’s the DUI charges prior to his sophomore season in Austin that ultimately lead to a 3 game suspension.

There’s the multiple knee injuries that have lead to rumors that he will need microfracture surgery shortly into his NFL career.

There’s the consideration to leave the Longhorns following his junior season before ultimately deciding to return.

There’s the incident less than a year ago that saw him drive into a house and suffer a concussion while apparently sending a text message. To make the problem worse, Kindle left the scene of the accident.

There’s the reports that he suffers from narcolepsy and would doze off during team meetings at Texas.

There’s his over-the-top personality. He opened Friday night’s media conference call by exclaiming “It feels effin’ good (to be a Raven)!”

While Kindle appeared to have explanations for all of these things, ranging from “it was a dumb decision” regarding his 2009 accident to “I feel like I can go practice when the time comes” regarding his knee. Newsome & DeCosta also appeared to have the right answers, ranging from DeCosta saying “if it was a concern, we probably wouldn’t have taken him” regarding the narcolepsy reports, and Newsome saying “there is no need for any microfracture surgery” regarding the knee.

Whether the Ravens want to discuss it further or not, these are legitimate concerns.

Kindle was a spectacular player for Texas-posting 101 tackles and 16 sacks combined over the last two seasons. Newsome said that he would start behind Jarret Johnson on the depth chart at OLB, but given his unique mix of size (6’3″, 250 pounds) and speed (4.71 40 yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine); he appears to be a legitimate candidate to crack the starting lineup shortly into his career.

And this is where the word “but” comes into play.

But it cannot be ignored that if Kindle truly does struggle to stay awake during team meetings, or might not be 100% physically ready for Training Camp, or has further trouble with the combination of cell phones and driving; his selection could be troublesome for the team as early as this season.

There are questions about Terrence Cody as well.

The most obvious question is regarding his weight-as he has weighed as much as 400 pounds since leaving high school. While Cody reported that he currently sits at 350 and Ozzie Newsome confirmed that in an unscheduled meeting in Tuscaloosa last weekend Cody’s weight was “coming south”; it is hard to shake the troubling pictures of the monster DT that surfaced at the time of the Senior Bowl.

There’s a reason why a Google search of “Terrence Cody man boobs” returns over 10,000 results.

Aside from the weight issue, Cody appeared to be disinterested and even inconvenienced during his conference call with the Baltimore media, which did little to paint the picture that Cody was worth the risk the Ravens were taking.

However-Cody is also a tremendous talent, having totaled 51 tackles over his last 2 seasons with the Crimson Tide, and showing the ability to both clog space and flush a quarterback out of the pocket.

Even more remarkably about both Kindle and Cody is the fact that their tremendous individual success in college was bested only be the tremendous team success each had. Both Texas and Alabama finished the regular season undefeated last season, winning the Big 12 and SEC Championships respectively. Alabama would go on to defeat Texas for the BCS National Championship, but the teams were clearly the two best in the country.

Combine that with the Dickson’s background in the Pac 10, and the Ravens know that their three newest players have all faced extremely difficult competition already in their career.

There is PLENTY to like about the players the team added Friday.

There is also PLENTY to wonder about.

The issues facing the Ravens’ first two draft picks cannot simply be ignored. The argument that “Ray Lewis can take care of them” is a fun idea, but is not even a bit practical considering the difficulties the team has had with other defensive players under John Harbaugh (notably Chris McAlister and Terrell Suggs).

While Newsome, DeCosta and others in the organization bristled over questions regarding their picks Friday night; it struck me that perhaps the organization feels as though their recent successes have placed them beyond reproach. Not only does the team have an outstanding history in the NFL Draft, they have also won 3 playoff games over the last two seasons.

When the team announced that they had signed free agent WR Donte’ Stallworth this offseason, a member of the organization told me that they received only ONE angry message from a fan regarding the signing of a player who had plead guilty to DUI manslaughter. At no point were there threats or rallies from a group like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the team was not particularly criticized in the media or by callers to sports talk radio.

Perhaps those inside the organization have a reason to feel beyond reproach.

Should the players selected Friday go on to success both immediately (remember, Newsome has said the team “needs to win now”) and in the future, there may be no way to ever criticize the brain trust again.

Should the players selected Friday continue to deal with the same problems that have plagued them thus far in their football lives, the brain trust may be forced to this weekend as the exact moment that their pursuit of another Vince Lombardi Trophy took a wrong turn.

Decisions like these are exactly what makes the NFL Draft so exciting for football fans.

The exact same decisions that cause football executives to lose sleep at night.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because I’m getting ready to head to Greensboro tomorrow morning (I know many of you will be devastated-practically unable to listen to “The Comcast Morning Show”-but Chris Bonetti will do an adequate job in my place), where I would LOVE to meet up with any Maryland fans who are making the trip. I would be MORE than willing to allow you to buy me 4-627 beers.

But also, I haven’t had a chance to talk about the Iron Man 2 trailer that debuted Sunday night on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. It was GLORIOUS…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siQgD9qOhRs[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST’.net’s Glenn Clark says Derrick Mason agrees to new 2 year deal with Ravens

Which gives the Ravens at LEAST a formiddable trio of receivers at the top of their WR depth chart. When they go 3 wide (which they usually do under Cam Cameron), they’ll have one of the toughest receivers in the league with Anquan Boldin, one of the most reliable receivers in the league with Derrick Mason and a receiver that they expect to be amongst the quickest receivers in the league in Donte’ Stallworth.

It’s a much more impressive group than most of the trios we’ve seen in Baltimore. In fact, it’s almost as impressive as Tiger Woods’ favorite trio…

howardstern

(Edit from GMC: With no offense to Howard Stern’s crew, I probably would have gone with Jamie Grubbs instead of Jamie Jungers myself.)

Is this one of the Top 3 receiving trios in the league now? No. I still think the Cardinals (Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet); the Steelers (Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace/Antwaan Randle El); the Colts (Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, Austin Collie/Pierre Garcon) and others still have better groups-but there’s legitimate argument that the Ravens have a Top 10 group.

Of course, maybe some fans who have already decided that they need to book hotel rooms in Arlington for next year’s Super Bowl should try to somehow temper their excitement. Teams have had really good offseasons before. In fact, there’s a certain team south of here that did it regularly….

skins

2. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens were out in full force to watch Devin McCourty at Rutgers Pro Day

I’ve had the chance to talk to Devin McCourty a couple times-he was hanging around Ft. Lauderdale the week of the Super Bowl and at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. He clearly has a relationship with former Scarlet Knights teammate Ray Rice, who was hanging out in Piscataway yesterday as well.

The Ravens will ABSOLUTELY be looking for CB help in April’s NFL Draft. We know they at least LIKE McCourty, and they will likely bring him out to 1 Winning Drive for a look in the coming weeks.

3. ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports’ Gregg Rosenthal says Ravens/Steelers could be one of this years’s season opening Monday Night Football games

Which has to be the first time….ever….that a reputable reporter has sourced this man in his reporting….

bachman

Ray said via Twitter (@WNST) that Ron Jaworski (who is part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team) told a business group that the network wanted the game to help their season opening coverage.

As we know, NBC and the NFL wanted the Ravens to open last season at Heinz Field against Pittsburgh-but the brass at 1 Winning Drive requested they not have to play another primetime game in Pittsburgh.

It certainly would be better for these teams (who we expect to again be fighting atop the AFC North and/or for an AFC Wild Card spot) to play once during the middle of the season and again near the end of the season. BUT-having the league’s new “sexiest rivalry” in primetime would be good for both the league and their network partners.

For the sake of the Ravens, I just hope the game would be at M&T Bank Stadium.

4. The Diamondback’s Jakob Engelke says CB Nolan Carroll impressed NFL scouts at Pro Day in College Park

Obviously Bruce Campbell was the head turner, but NFL scouts were certainly in town yesterday looking to see what Nolan Carroll might be able to bring to the table. Carroll hasn’t been on a football field since breaking his leg in Week 2, and he was unable to get on the field for the Senior Bowl (or another All-Star Game) or at the Combine in Indy.

He’s expected to be a mid-to-low round choice, but has a higher ceiling than some may have expected. He’s a LITTLE bit taller than Domonique Foxworth or any CB on the Ravens roster-so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make a visit to Owings Mills in the upcoming weeks.

5. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Greivis Vasquez could use ACC Tournament finals appearance, trip to Elite 8 to have realistic shot at tracking down Juan Dixon’s school scoring record

As Patrick has pointed out before, there really is something poetic about Dixon being the all-time leading scorer in Terrapins history. But if an ACC Tournament title and a trip to the Elite 8 are in the future, there probably would be something poetic about Vasquez passing him.

If they play 7 more games, it will take roughly 22 points per game for the senior from Venezuela. If he goes off for 40+ again at some point again like he did in Blacksburg, there will be a greater probability of this happening.

It will certainly be an interesting subplot to follow as the Terps move towards the NCAA Tournament.

Patrick also pointed out (after Paul in Hawaii asked me yesterday) that the Terps DID bring the gold uniforms with them to Greensboro, although they did not confirm whether or not they would be wearing them Friday night when they take on the Georgia Tech/North Carolina winner.

6. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Gary Williams doesn’t feel like Greensboro a ‘neutral’ site

And obviously, it isn’t. BUT-no matter where they played the event, it wouldn’t be a “neutral site.” There’s an argument that maybe it could be moved around a bit more, but certainly Greensboro has been a solid “home” for the event.

Things didn’t necessarily work out for Gary’s team the one time they did get the event near here-as they bowed out to Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament when it was at the “MCI Center” (now the Verizon Center) in Washington, DC back in 2005.

7. Morgan State Official Site says Kevin Thompson lead Morgan State with 20 points, 16 boards in MEAC quarterfinals win over North Carolina A&T

The good news for the Bears is that they’ll now get a day off before having to face Hampton or Norfolk State tomorrow night in Winston-Salem. Especially seeing as how the Spartans took them to Double OT at Hill Field House just about 11 days ago.

If Kevin Thompson plays well, no one is beating Todd Bozeman’s team this weekend. There just isn’t a big man in the conference that can match up with him when he’s on his game.

8. The AP says Kareem Brown’s 16 not enough as Coppin State’s season ended with MEAC Tournament loss to UMES

It was a tough season for Fang Mitchell’s gang. Hopefully they will be able to move forward with the return of Jordan Lee and with the development of guys like Brown and Michael Harper. They’ll have to get some more reliable scoring, and they’ll have to get some real leadership, but Fang isn’t going anywhere-and the CSPEC should help them improve their talent.

And for any Eagles fan who is depressed about the season ending, I offer you a new picture of Megan Fox from Harper’s Bazaar, thanks to Guyism.com. This MIGHT be NSFW.

meganfox

9. MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch says red hot Luke Scott tallied 2 more RBI as Orioles topped Pirates in Spring Training action

Insert your own gun joke here.

It is good for the O’s to get a win. Not really important, but you never want a team to get caught up in any sort of familiarity of losing-even if it is just during Grapefruit League play.

The Orioles return to action tonight in Fort Myers as they face the Twins. Kevin Millwood takes the mound against Scott Baker.

10. Examiner Jay Trucker says Mike Flanagan to join MASN broadcast booth

But apparently they’re still going to use the Eddie Murray/Brady Anderson/Mike Boddicker/Bill Ripken rotating color analyst group as well. AND Jim Palmer.

I guess they’re just going to give about any former Oriole a shot behind the mic this season. Which series do you think they’ll use this guy for???

jaygibbons

11. The Sun’s Peter Schmuck and Jeff Zrebiec say Ernie Tyler won’t return as Birds’ “ballboy”, instead choosing to remain in umpire room

Certainly the end of an era.

Tyler’s consecutive games streak at Memorial Stadium/Camden Yards ended in 2007 when he attended Cal Ripken’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony; but he’s continued to be one of the most recognizable figures at OPACY since then.

Congratulations to Tyler on 50 great seasons as “ballboy”, and good luck to him as he transitions into his new role.

12. SI’s Tom Verducci pens next Monday’s cover story about Matt Wieters

Which you should read, with or without pants.

Interesting note from “The Comcast Morning Show” this morning, as former MASN analyst and new Blue Jays TV PBP voice Buck Martinez told Drew Forrester that he believes Brian Matusz has “better stuff” than even Tom Glavine.

Wow.

And finally, I leave you with this.

I know it was a building full of history and whatnot, but seeing Yankee Stadium look like this can’t help but make me smile a bit….

yankeestadium

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Draft Season Turns to Indy for Annual NFL Scouting Combine

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Draft Season Turns to Indy for Annual NFL Scouting Combine

Posted on 23 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Welcome to the 5th installment of my NFL Draft profiles for 2010. If you missed my first 4 installments, I previewed players who participated in the East West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl; then recapped those performances in Orlando and Mobile, as well as those who participated in the Texas vs. The Nation game in El Paso.

Here are the players you can go back and read profiles of if you check my previous installments…

QB’s
Daryll Clark (Penn State), Sean Canfield (Oregon State), Max Hall (BYU), Jarrett Brown (West Virginia), Jonathan Crompton (Tennessee), Ryan Perrilloux (Jacksonville State)
RB Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss), Trindon Holliday (LSU)
WR’s Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati), Verran Tucker (Cal), Blair White (Michigan State), Jeremy Williams (Tulane), Taylor Price (Ohio), Marcus Easley (UConn), Juamorris Stewart (Southern)
TE’s Andrew Quarless (Penn State), Richard Dickson (LSU), Jimmy Graham (Miami), Riar Geer (Colorado), Ed Dickson (Oregon)
OG’s Mike Iupati (Idaho), Jeff Byers (USC)
OT’s Vladimir Ducasse (UMass), Rodger Saffold (Indiana)
C John Estes (Hawaii), Kevin Matthews (Texas A&M)
DE’s Greg Hardy (Ole Miss), Brandon Graham (Michigan), Alex Carrington (Arkansas State), E.J. Wilson (North Carolina)
DT Travis Ivey (Maryland)
LB’s Ross Pospisil (Navy), Jason Beauchamp (UNLV), Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri), Daryl Washington (TCU)
S’s Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech), T.J. Ward (Oregon), Myron Rolle (Florida State), Van Eskridge (East Carolina)
CB’s Devin Ross (Arizona), Brian Jackson (Oklahoma), Trevard Lindley (Kentucky), Javier Arenas (Alabama), Alterraun Verner (UCLA), Kyle Wilson (Boise State), Cornelius Brown (UTEP)
K’s Leigh Tiffin (Alabama), Hunter Lawrence (Texas)
P Brent Bowden (Virginia Tech)

Draft season now heads to “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest” as our buddy Merton would say, with the annual NFL Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis. The hottest words around Draft season right now are “Will he or won’t he?”, with players deciding whether or not they will work out in Indy. It is mostly quarterbacks who choose to pass, but injuries could keep other players from taking part in the weekend.

The Ravens DID see some player movement since my last update (signing Donte’ Stallworth and releasing TE Quinn Sypniewski), but my team needs remain the same…

1-WR
2-TE
3-CB
4-OLB/DE
5-S
6-G/C
7-OT
8-QB
9-K
10-P

Here are the next 10 players worth taking a look at during the NFL Draft. Thanks to CBSSports.com, NFLDraftScout.com, The AP and Wikipedia for help in research, as well as the individuals  players’ respective collegiate athletics websites. Starting with this update, I will also include a brief note on the players involved from Joe Hortiz-Director of College Scouting for the Baltimore Ravens. I asked Joe to give me a Twitter-style (140 characters or less) statement about potential Ravens targets.

OT Bruce Campbell (Maryland)

campbell

I don’t know how many teams will have to protect their QB’s from rogue monster truck tires in pursuit, but the team that selects Campbell will be happy to know that he is all too capable of handling the job.

Terrapins strength coach Dwight Galt told ESPN.com last year that Campbell was “the offensive line version of Vernon Davis.” If that’s the case, NFL scouts watching Campbell this weekend should be prepared for a VERY impressive workout performance, as Indy was where Davis set himself up to be selected 6th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2006.

Campbell is a monster, measuring in at 6’7″, 310 pounds; and it’s almost all muscle. The obvious comparisons will be to current Ravens OT Jared Gaither, and no NFL source I’ve talked to about Campbell has felt the need to dismiss the comparison.

While some analysts believe he is a Top 10 talent, others say he’s only a borderline 1st round pick. The biggest red flag on Campbell’s resume is his health-he was able to start only 17 games during his career in College Park due to turf toe and a knee injury. Drafting Campbell would have be a sign that the Ravens can’t afford to keep former Terp Gaither in Charm City long term.

Joe Hortiz says: “Athletic kid, can function at LT. Health not a major concern. Tall, long frame.” Hortiz also felt that it was fair to compare Campbell to Gaither, and other OT’s with big builds.

What might hurt Bruce Campbell’s draft stock? He’s been known to keep some questionable company…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve_as9k6PvI[/youtube]

TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

gronk

Like Bruce Campbell, Gronkowski departed school a year early, and the Combine will be very important as he was unable to participate in any all-star games. However, the Combine (and the rest of Draft season) will be even more important for Gronkowski, as he missed his entire junior season in 2009 due to back surgery. The man known as “Gronk” around Tucson has to prove not just that he’s healthy, but also that he’s ready, and that missing the entire season didn’t cause him to fall off in football ability.

He is part of football blood, as his brother Dan Gronkowski previously played for Maryland and is now with the Detroit Lions; and his brother Chris Gronkowski just finished his own Wildcats career after transferring from Maryland.

Gronkowski’s size is what immediately jumps out (no pun intended), as he measures in at 6’6″, 265 pounds and he turned plenty of heads during his two seasons with the Cats, making 75 catches for 1,197 yards and 16 TD’s. Some might compare him to Todd Heap when Heap came out of Arizona State-and while he might not be quite the big play guy Heap was early on in his career, he’s bigger and might be a more consistent target.

Joe Hortiz says: “Really good year as a sophomore, understood how to get open. Better than his brothers, and it’s probably not even close.”

WR Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5x7WIGuBM4[/youtube]

The best thing about potentially drafting Dezmon Briscoe would be the opportunity for the Ravens to have him and David Tyree hold a helmet catching competition in Training Camp. I’ll go with Tyree, but Briscoe’s was pretty good too.

Briscoe’s decision to leave Lawrence following his junior season with the Jayhawks was a bit puzzling, especially considering he claimed it had nothing to do with Mark Mangino’s firing. That being said, Briscoe’s size (6’3″, 200 pounds) and numbers (218 catches for 3,240 yards and 31 TD’s) make him look a LOT like a player who is ready for the next level. The issue is his speed-as he’s projected to only run a 4.62 40.

With the acquisition of Stallworth not addressing the Ravens’ need for a big receiver, Briscoe could be the type of player available on Friday night (or even Saturday) with sleeper potential they could consider should they go elsewhere with their first few picks.

Joe Hortiz says: “Good speed, big guy. Had a really good year. Not a blow by you burner, but good stride.”

WR Riley Cooper (Florida)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuFI2X64YoQ[/youtube]

I have no reason to believe that Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta are looking for the ability to make circus catches in players they scout, but if they are-both the aforementioned Briscoe and Cooper would be solid choices.

Cooper is a tough case to fully understand, as he didn’t become much of a numbers guy in the Gators’ offense until 2009, when he grabbed 51 balls for 961 yards and 9 TD’s. However, his 6’4″, 215 pound frame always made him a potential redzone target for Tim Tebow in Gainesville, as he finished his career with 18 TD grabs.

Cooper is a hell of an athlete, as he was also selected by the Texas Rangers in the MLB Entry Draft, but he chose to pursue an NFL future instead. An impressive weekend in Indianapolis could help bump him up from the later rounds to a Thursday or Friday night selection. Much like Briscoe, he could be a value to the Ravens if they look at another position on Thursday night.

Joe Hortiz says: “Tough kid. Really good baseball player-a lot of upside from being able to dedicate himself to football.”

RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjLh_yO41jw[/youtube]

There is no NFL team that will have as much information on Gerhart as the Ravens will, as John Harbaugh can turn to his brother Jim Harbaugh-who is of course the head coach in Palo Alto. Harbaugh’s father Jack Harbaugh was also Gerhart’s position coach for the Cardinal leading up to their loss to Oklahoma in the Brut Sun Bowl.

The obvious thing that jumps out about Gerhart is his size-as he measures in at 6’1″, 235 pounds; and uses every pound effectively in running the football. His tremendous senior season (1,871 yards and 27 TD’s) made him a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, which many Pac 10 and West Coast analysts felt he deserved to win.

Gerhart will inevitably be compared to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers back Mike Alstott, but multiple league scouts have told me they believe he deserves the chance to play a more natural running back position before being converted to fullback or a 3rd down/goal line specialist. Without a natural fullback last season (and with Lorenzo Neal having handled the position quite well in 2008), the Ravens could consider Gerhart as part of a bigger backfield alongside Le’Ron McClain should he stay on the board until late Friday night.

Joe Hortiz says: “Really good career-runs hard, needs to get lower. Doesn’t lose a lot of yards. Similar to Le’Ron McClain.”

RB Ben Tate (Auburn)

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

As much as it had to have pained a Crimson Tide legend like Ozzie Newsome to have selected Auburn OG Ben Grubbs in 2007, I think it is quite evident that the pick worked out. Now, should the Ravens choose to add Ben Tate to a backfield that includes Alabama’s Le’Ron McClain, there could be some awkward moments around Thanksgiving next year leading up to the Iron Bowl in the Ravens locker room.

If Willis McGahee’s future in Baltimore is in question, Ben Tate might be a similar running back for the Ravens do add into their backfield mix. Tate isn’t quite as big as McGahee (5’11″ to McGahee’s 6’1″); but he is a similar back in that he can both wear down the middle of a defense and then break out for yards to the outside.

Tate finished his SEC career with an impressive 3,321 yards and 24 TD’s; and he has respectable speed (he’s expected to post a 40 in the range of 4.50). He’s expected to be available Friday night or Saturday, and could be even more intriguing for the Ravens considering he lived on the Eastern Shore and played his high school ball at Snow Hill.

Fellow Auburn alum Joe Hortiz says: “Really good year (in ’09), between the tackles runner. Not game breaking speed.”

DE Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10cTyF6CxOE[/youtube]

Could Derrick Morgan slip to the Ravens at 25? Probably not. Could he slip a little bit and the Ravens move up to grab him? Maybe. It certainly worked out for the Ravens in their pursuit of Michael Oher a season ago.

The comparisons with Morgan will be to Michael Johnson-the former Yellow Jackets DE drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals a season ago. And while Morgan isn’t quite as big up and down as Johnson (Morgan is 6’4″, 272 pounds to Johnson’s 6’7″, 266 pounds), he has an even better motor.

Morgan was especially impressive during his senior season, posting 12 sacks and forcing 2 fumbles in helping the Jackets win the ACC Championship and advance to the Orange Bowl. However, Morgan will have something to prove in Indianapolis after struggling against the Iowa Hawkeyes’ O-Line in Miami during the final game of his college career, and not being able to participate in any other postseason events due to leaving Atlanta a year early.

Joe Hortiz says: “He’ll be gone early. Grinding player, works his ass off.”

DE Carlos Dunlap (Florida)

dunlap

While the bulk of the NFL scouts I’ve talked to have said they don’t think Dunlap’s DUI arrest prior to the SEC Championship Game will prevent him from being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft; many of the same scouts have admitted to me that they thought it would impact whether or not the team they worked for would select Dunlap.

Arrest aside, Dunlap is a tremendous football player. He’s a beast on the outside, measuring in at 6’6″, 290 pounds. He collected 18 sacks over the last two seasons (before leaving a year early), including 2 in a blowout win over Cincinnati in January’s Sugar Bowl. He is deceptively quick for his massive frame, and is a blocking nightmare for any team that faces him.

ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports’ Mike Florio recently mocked Dunlap to the Ravens, which makes sense considering the fact that the Ravens need to upgrade their pass rush in the offseason, preferably with an end that can excel in a Greg Mattison scheme that doesn’t rely on blitzing.

Joe Hortiz says: “Compares to (Arizona Cardinals DL) Calais Campbell. Great frame, really good athletic traits. Still had 8 1/2 sacks despite up and down season.”

WR Danario Alexander (Missouri)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfO3XOv0oEw[/youtube]

Alexander recently underwent a 4th knee surgery, which will keep him from working out at the Combine or his own Pro Day in Columbia. This is absolutely THE biggest red flag for a player that might otherwise be an interesting prospect for the Ravens. Alexander will still attend this weekend’s Combine even if you don’t see him working out during the televised portion of the Combine on NFL Network. He’ll be there to participate in interviews and to take the Wonderlic test, but clearly teams will be most interested in his knee.

The good news about this most recent surgery is that it will likely keep him on the board until Saturday of Draft weekend. The Ravens will be hard pressed to find any other 6’5″, 215 pound receivers that are coming off a season with 113 catches, 1,781 yards and 14 TD’s that late in the Draft.

At the Senior Bowl, the biggest knock on Alexander was his inability to change directions quickly. This often happens when players who are #1 receivers in college are forced to move into more flexible roles at the next level. If the knee makes Alexander tentative, this will only get worse.

Joe Hortiz says: “Knee is an issue. Good run after catch ability.”

WR Brandon LaFell (LSU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtix6FfAKuA[/youtube]

If not spectacular, LaFell’s career in Baton Rouge was certainly solid. He finished with 650 or more yards in each of the last 3 seasons, including a career high 929 during his junior year. He caught 23 TD’s during his Tigers career, including 11 as a senior.

The biggest question mark surrounding LaFell has to be whether or not it is worth spending a high draft choice (either a 1 or a 2) on a player who may or may not be a prototypical #1 receiver at the next level. This is an especially big question mark for a Ravens team that desperately needs a go-to #1 receiver. LaFell has the size (6’3″, 206 pounds) and appears to have the speed (he’s expected to post a 40 in the range of 4.54), but doesn’t necessarily have the pedigree to just be expected to assume a #1 role in Cam Cameron’s offense.

An inevitable comparison will be made between LaFell and former Louisiana State WR Devery Henderson. Henderson had another solid season for the New Orleans Saints en route to winning Super Bowl XLIV, but he has been by no means spectacular at any point in his career despite being selected in the 2nd round of the 2004 Draft. Same for Bucs receiver Michael Clayton (also from LSU). LaFell will hope scouts notice that he is more similar in size to Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, who has been better (numbers wise) during his NFL career, despite a down season in 2009.

Joe Hortiz says: “Would have liked to see him show up at the Senior Bowl. Not a burner, but he’ll get by you. One of the better route runners.”

-G

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Draft Prospects Rise Across Texas, Nation in El Paso

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Draft Prospects Rise Across Texas, Nation in El Paso

Posted on 11 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Welcome to the 4th installment of my NFL Draft profiles. If you missed any of my first 3 installments previewing the East West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl or recapping the All-Star Games in Orlando or Mobile; here are the players you can go back to check out profiles of…

QB’s Daryll Clark (Penn State), Sean Canfield (Oregon State), Max Hall (BYU), Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)
RB Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss)
WR’s Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati), Verran Tucker (Cal), Blair White (Michigan State), Jeremy Williams (Tulane), Taylor Price (Ohio)
TE’s Andrew Quarless (Penn State), Richard Dickson (LSU), Jimmy Graham (Miami), Riar Geer (Colorado), Ed Dickson (Oregon)
OG’s Mike Iupati (Idaho), Jeff Byers (USC)
OT’s Vladimir Ducasse (UMass), Rodger Saffold (Indiana)
C John Estes (Hawaii)
DE’s Greg Hardy (Ole Miss), Brandon Graham (Michigan), Alex Carrington (Arkansas State)
LB’s Ross Pospisil (Navy), Jason Beauchamp (UNLV), Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri), Daryl Washington (TCU)
S’s Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech), T.J. Ward (Oregon), Myron Rolle (Florida State), Van Eskridge (East Carolina)
CB’s Devin Ross (Arizona), Brian Jackson (Oklahoma), Trevard Lindley (Kentucky), Javier Arenas (Alabama), Alterraun Verner (UCLA), Kyle Wilson (Boise State)
K’s Leigh Tiffin (Alabama), Hunter Lawrence (Texas)

Super Bowl weekend, Draft season moved to El Paso for the annual “Texas vs. The Nation” All-Star game presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This installment will take a look at some of the risers from the week in El Paso.

No player movement, but my offseason priority list for the Ravens makes a couple adjustments…..
1-WR
2-TE
3-CB
4-OLB/DE
5-S
6-G/C
7-OT
8-QB
9-K
10-P

Thanks to CBSSports.com, SportingNews.com and SI.com for reports from the all-star games-and to NFLDraftScout.com & Wikipedia for help regarding particulars.

WR Marcus Easley (UConn)

easley

One of the more underrated WR prospects in this year’s draft class, Easley has the body of a NFL wide receiver even if he doesn’t have the profile or proof of the skill set just yet. Easley checks in at 6’3″, 214 pounds and is expected to post a very quick 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Easley came from out of nowhere for the Huskies, rising from walk-on to impact maker in 2009. He made 48 catches for 893 yards and 8 TD’s, all in his final 10 games. Coach Randy Edsall admitted that when he first joined the team, he had no idea who Easley was. Now, he appears to be a likely Saturday pick-with the type of body whose skills a coordinator like Cam Cameron might be able to help develop.

DT Travis Ivey (Maryland)

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

Despite the fact that he’s known to hang out with some seedy characters (like above), Ivey is a legitimate NFL prospect. He has the body to fill up gaps against AFC North running backs (or other running backs around the league) at 6’4″, 341 pounds. He was never much of a stats guy in College Park, having tallied just 54 tackles and 2 sacks in his Terrapins career. But he’s always been a space-eater, and that will translate at any level. Ivey bounced back nicely this season from a foot injury in 2008, showing no signs of being slowed. Ivey has also been the leader of the Terps’ D-Line for multiple seasons, and his maturity will help him during the interview process in Indy. The Ravens may not necessarily NEED a D-Tackle right now-but we know they’re always willing to add more (keeping Brandon McKinney and Kelly Talavou last season was a direct example).

QB Jonathan Crompton (Tennessee)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxSXov8a4Ug[/youtube]

Finally getting the opportunity to be “the guy” for the Volunteers in 2009, Crompton showed off his arm strength and overall ability in going 224-384 for 2,800 yards and 27 TD’s, with just 13 picks. In fact, he showed so many signs of promise that a number of Vols fans wished he had 3 more years with Lane Kiffin. Actually, everyone in Knoxville hoped they had 3 more years with Lane Kiffin, but that’s a story for another day. The fact that no Tennessee QB since Peyton Manning has had an impact at the NFL level will hurt Crompton’s chances (the failures include Tee Martin, Casey & Rick Clausen AND Erik Ainge); but a solid performance in El Paso should help him get back on track in Draft season. He certainly has the size (6’4″) to succeed at the next level, and if Troy Smith is dealt-the Ravens might be willing to consider him on Saturday.

CB Cornelius Brown (UTEP)

corbrown

Perhaps no player improved his draft season stock as much as Cornelius Brown during Texas vs. The Nation week. He played above his 5’11″ frame; and showed off his versatility. Brown received MVP honors for the game by returning a fumble 35 yards for a TD, collecting two tackles and a pass breakup, downing a punt inside the 5 yard line, and returning a kickoff 30 yards. There’s almost no chance he rises to the 3rd round, but he certainly has some of the same qualities as Lardarius Webb. There will be questions not only about his height, but also about the fact that he did not post a single interception during his senior season for the Miners.

RB/WR Trindon Holliday (LSU)

trindon

If Dexter McCluster is a poor man’s Ray Rice, Trindon Holliday may well be a poor man’s Dexter McCluster. Holliday’s track background translates to superb speed, but that speed hasn’t always necessarily translated into major offensive contributions. In fact, Holliday has never put together more than 367 total yards of offense in a single season, and managed just 162 yards of offense and 1 TD in his senior campaign in Baton Rouge. Holliday has had a level of success as a returner, having return 2 kicks and 2 punts for TD’s during his Tigers career. Holliday is even smaller than the other backs (5’5″, 161 pounds); but is just as dangerous in space. He’ll almost certainly be on the board late Saturday, and could very well fit as another playmaker in the Ravens’ offense. He was superb in El Paso, scoring 2 TD’s and racking up 209 all-purpose yards.

DE E.J. Wilson (North Carolina)

ejwilson

Wilson made a big statement in the Texas vs. The Nation game; recording 6 tackles, 2 TFL’s, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery. Wilson was never a monster during his career in Chapel Hill-he averaged just 3 sacks per season. But he has the frame of a monster (6’3″, 289 pounds); and his speed in Indianapolis and at his Pro Day could help him prove that he is capable of haunting NFL quarterbacks. Scouts will be interested in a thigh injury that caused him to miss time this season, and they’ll also be interested in improving the 2 fumbles he forced during his entire Tar Heels career. There is at least a chance he could develop into Trevor Pryce’s role in Greg Mattison’s defense if the Ravens find him on the board late Saturday.

C Kevin Matthews (Texas A&M)

aandm

At 6’3″, 298 pounds; Matthews will likely need to add some bulk to be an NFL Center, but he already has a bit of a head start. Matthews is the son of Hall of Fame OL Bruce Matthews, the nephew of former Pro Bowl Cleveland Browns LB Clay Matthews, the cousin of current Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews, and the cousin of current Oregon Ducks LB Casey Matthews. Football is clearly in his blood. Matthews will be a Saturday pick (possibly an UFA), and could be an option for a Ravens team looking to develop a center behind current starter Matt Birk. Aggies coach Mike Sherman singled out Matthews’ solid play during his junior and senior seasons despite the overall struggles of the TAMU O-Line.

P Brent Bowden (Virginia Tech)

bowden

As I’ve warned in the past, teams without solid specialists always tend to overvalue specialists who ARE capable players. The Ravens are not likely to lose Sam Koch, but you never know what another team might believe his value to be. If for some reason the Ravens WERE to lose Koch, they’d definitely have to consider players like Brent Bowden. Bowden was solid throughout his Hokies career, which is not particularly surprising considering how stellar teams always are on special teams during Frank Beamer’s tenure in Blacksburg. Bowden punted 57 times in his senior season (the fewest of his 3 seasons of punting for Va Tech), averaging a career high net of 43.8 yards.

WR Juamorris Stewart (Southern)

juamorris

After transferring from Southern Miss, Stewart exploded over his junior and senior seasons with the Jaguars, combining for over 2,100 yards and 23 TD’s. Stewart has the body of an NFL receiver (6’3″, 205 pounds); and is expected to post a reasonably fast 40. It is easy for some scouts to point out that his strong numbers came against lesser SWAC competition, but Morris had a solid day in El Paso against stronger competition; making 5 grabs for 89 yards and a TD. Likely to be available on Saturday in late rounds, the Ravens would have to consider Stewart as they look to upgrade a disappointing group of receivers.

QB Ryan Perrilloux (Jacksonville State)

perrilloux

It probably isn’t fair for me to post this particular picture, but there is absolutely no doubt that Perrilloux’s off-field issues will be discussed as much during Draft season as his on-field capability. Perrilloux lead Louisiana State to an SEC Championship Game victory in 2007, and was the backup QB for the Tigers team that defeated Ohio State for the BCS National Championship. But he’s better remembered for off-campus fights, federal investigations, failing drug tests, missing team meetings, skipping classes and showing up late for workouts. Perrilloux got his future back together with the Gamecocks, throwing for over 4,500 yards and 42 TD’s with just 15 INT’s over the last two seasons. There’s no question that Perrilloux has the physical ability to play at the next level (CBS College Sports analyst Tom Lemming once compared him to Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb), it is absolutely more of a question of whether or not NFL scouts and executives are convinced his troubles are behind him. Ozzie Newsome has taken a few chances on guys late in the Draft before (Troy Smith himself was a bit of a reach), but Perrilloux might not be a John Harbaugh type of guy.

-G

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Plenty of Risers During Draft Season Stops in Mobile, Orlando

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Plenty of Risers During Draft Season Stops in Mobile, Orlando

Posted on 07 February 2010 by Glenn Clark

Welcome to the third installment of my NFL Draft profiles, which I will be doing throughout the months leading up to Draft season in hopes to make sure you are introduced to every player who might be a future member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Sorry for how long this took, as our trip to Ft. Lauderdale to cover the Super Bowl and “Snowpocolypse 2010″ have limited my ability to get this posted quickly.

So far, I have previewed players participating in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando and Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. If you missed either update, these are the players you can go back to learn about….

QB’s Daryll Clark (Penn State), Sean Canfield (Oregon State)
WR’s Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati)
TE’s Andrew Quarless (Penn State), Richard Dickson (LSU), Jimmy Graham (Miami)
OG Mike Iupati (Idaho)
OT Vladimir Ducasse (UMass)
DE’s Greg Hardy (Ole Miss), Brandon Graham (Michigan)
LB Ross Pospisil (Navy)
S’s Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech), T.J. Ward (Oregon), Myron Rolle (Florida State)
CB’s Devin Ross (Arizona), Brian Jackson (Oklahoma), Trevard Lindley (Kentucky), Javier Arenas (Alabama)
K Leigh Tiffin (Alabama)

This week, I’m going to try to take a look back at what transpired in Orlando and Mobile, and who may have risen on the Ravens’ radar moving forward. With still no player movement, my team needs for the Ravens remain the same….

1-WR
2-TE
3-CB
4-S
5-OLB/DE
6-K
7-QB
8-G/C
9-OT
10-P

Thanks to CBSSports.com, SportingNews.com and SI.com for reports from the all-star games-and to NFLDraftScout.com & Wikipedia for help regarding particulars.

East West Shrine Game…

QB Max Hall (BYU)

maxhall

Statistically, there is really no argument that can be made against Max Hall. During his 3 seasons in Provo (after transferring from Arizona State), Hall threw for over 11,000 yards and nearly 100 TD’s. Sometimes success from a Brigham Young quarterback can be dismissed based on the level of competition he played against in the MWC; but that’s not the case with Hall. Not only was he strong against teams like Utah (who he awkwardly said he “hated” in a post-game press conference), but he compiled an impressive 7-2 record against BCS opponents. He has no more than average size (6’1″, 200 pounds or so); but he’s a bit older (24) due to his LDS mission. Comparisons to current Ravens and former BYU QB John Beck would be pretty fair, as both came from similar backgrounds and systems. Hall made a nice impression while in Orlando; putting together a very solid 4th quarter in the East West Shrine Game, including a TD pass to Ryan Moya.

C John Estes (Hawaii)

estes

Estes was a steadying force for the Warriors, even if not an overwhelming one. His size (6’2″, 295 pounds) will make his performance on the bench even more important at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is by no means small, but no NFL team will want to have a sub-300 pounder on their offensive line. Estes will likely need to add bulk as well as prove he has the muscle to battle with the Haloti Ngata and Shaun Rogers of the world inside. As a player who will be available late Friday night and possibly even on Saturday, Estes may be a good fit for the Ravens. Estes could spend a year or two adjusting his body to the NFL level while Matt Birk continued to anchor the middle of the line in Charm City.

WR Verran Tucker (Cal)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVIBjWcO0ls[/youtube]

Tucker was showing some positive signs in Orlando before a hamstring injury stunted his Draft season progress. Tucker will have to make up for that in Indianapolis and with his own Pro Day in Berkeley, as he does not have the resume and profile to fall back on. Tucker was never a big numbers guy for the Golden Bears, tallying just 815 yards and 4 TD’s during his 2 year career after transferring from El Camino Junior College. In fact, Tucker had as many 100 yard seasons for the Bears as you and I did. But there are positives about Tucker for sure-he’s in the 6’1″-6’2″ range, and can move his sub-200 pound frame very quickly (he’s expected to run in the 4.4 range in Indy). He’ll need to show teams in individual workouts that he can be a slot receiver at the NFL level,capable of picking up yards after catches over the middle. Ozzie Newsome and company will need multiple receivers before the season begins, so adding a player like Tucker late in the Draft might be an option.

TE Riar Geer (Colorado)

geer

What impressed scouts most about Geer in Orlando was his solid blocking and safe hands in passing situations. In terms of 2nd tight ends, Geer really appears to fit the bill. He’s definitely got the size (6’3″, 252 pounds) to play the position, but he’s not particularly quick-which will limit his ability to be an offensive playmaker. Geer was never much of a numbers guy (his 402 yards receiving during his senior season in Boulder were almost twice as much as his next biggest season), but he was dependable, and could be a nice late round option for a team needing help in 2 TE sets. His red flags include a knee injury and a previous arrest due to an off-campus fight. There is the possibility Geer could play some Fullback at the next level as well. While the Ravens could use another player to line up next to Todd Heap, it is more likely they’d be looking for a player who could develop into more of a playmaker.

OT Rodger Saffold (Indiana)

saffold

Maybe no player solidified their stock at the Shrine Game as much as Saffold did, as he was REALLY impressive against Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy in practice-winning most 1 on 1 matchups. At 6’5″, 312 pounds; Saffold is roughly the size of Michael Oher, who the Ravens selected in the first round a season ago, and ended up being a Rookie of the Year candidate. Saffold is a likely mid-round pick right now, but he could rise over the coming weeks as more teams deem him capable of being an OT at the next level instead of needing to move to OG, which a number of scouts thought he would before his performance in Orlando. If he stays in the mid-rounds, Saffold would likely be the type of player the Ravens would look at with Jared Gaither’s future still up in the air.

LB Jason Beauchamp (UNLV)

beauchamp

The biggest question about Beauchamp’s draft status absolutely surrounds what position he will play. He appears to be an outside linebacker-but not necessarily a great pass rusher. He has the tackling ability of someone who can play inside, but got around the edge nicely when he wasn’t hurt last season. His tackling numbers in Las Vegas were impressive-he tallied 332 for his career, 221 over his final two seasons. At 6’3″, 243 pounds; teams will watch his numbers in the 40 and on the bench closely as they try to determine where he might fit in on their defense. He’s clearly a very bright kid, as he wrote a weekly column for the Las Vegas Sun on top of his football duties. In a defense with as many movable pieces as Greg Mattison’s, Beauchamp could slide in at Jarret Johnson’s current position, or possibly at the JACK position Dannell Ellerbe currently mans.

CB Alterraun Verner (UCLA)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eit1ZcphBtc[/youtube]

If the Ravens add just one cornerback this offseason, my best guess is that it will be someone a bit taller than Verner, who at 5’10″ is actually not even as big as Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington or Frank Walker. But if John Harbaugh and staff decide that they want to bring in more than one CB, Verner may be a solid option. As you can see, he’s a very capable defensive playmaker, having intercepted 13 passes, forced 3 fumbles and scored 4 defensive TD’s during his Bruins career. In that way, he reminds me of Lardarius Webb, a pick that appeared to work well for the Ravens last season. He also reminds me of Webb in that he might have to move to safety to make his speed effective at the NFL level. He’s believed to be a mid-round pick, and his size will probably prevent him from rising too much higher than that.

K Hunter Lawrence (Texas)

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

Believe it or not, Hunter Lawrence actually made a few other kicks during his Longhorns career. Of course, clearly none of them were as meaningful as the pressure kick he made to beat Nebraska inside Cowboys Stadium to win the Big 12 Championship Game and advance to the BCS Championship Game. This would mean that he’s connected on one more big kick in his life than say Steve Hauschka or Billy Cundiff (unless of course you consider a game winner for the Browns in a 6-3 victory over the Bills a “big kick”). But beyond that kick, Lawrence was 34/39 on FG attempts during the two seasons he kicked in Austin; including 13-15 tries from between 40-49 yards. He doesn’t have a giant boot necessarily (in fact he missed his only career try from beyond 50 yards), but for a steady kicker who has had to make pressure kicks before, he could work as solid competition for Cundiff; especially if he ends up going undrafted.

WR Blair White (Michigan State)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhd7nvwEXWA[/youtube]

It took him until his senior year to become a reliable target in East Lansing, but he certainly delivered. White finished his senior season with 70 catches for 990 yards and 9 TD’s. Over his final two seasons, he put together 6 100+ yard games. At 6’2″, 205 pounds; White would not likely be the typical #1 receiver in the NFL, but he certainly could fill a role. The comparisons to guys like Austin Collie and Brandon Stokley are inevitable (likely having a lot to do with the fact that White is…..well….white), and they might very well be fair. White got Draft season off to a great start, nabbing 7 catches for 93 yards in the East West Shrine Game. White would be a solid option for the Ravens should he be available on Saturday.

S Van Eskridge (East Carolina)

eskridge

Scouts would probably like to see a little bit more speed from a free safety prospect like Eskridge, but he certainly has plenty to offer otherwise. At 6’1″, 195 pounds; he’s probably big enough to play at the next level, potentially even big enough to play CB. He showed unique playmaking ability during his career with the Pirates-picking off 11 passes and forcing 5 fumbles. He’s also a very capable tackler, having tallied 290 over the last 3 seasons. Moreover, Eskridge performed at the most important times; having combined for 19 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 pass defenses in ECU’s win over Houston in the Conference USA Championship game and their loss to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl. On top of that, he ended up claiming defensive MVP honors in the Shrine Game. There are few red flags on Eskridge’s resume, and he could be a very intriguing prospect should he be available on Saturday.

Senior Bowl…..

WR/RB Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss)

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

While he is one of the biggest stars of Draft season thus far (and has a big fan in our man Paul from Hawaii), McCluster may not be a perfect fit for the Ravens, mostly because he’s almost a clone of Ray Rice. McCluster is an explosive playmaker, tallying 2,997 total combined yards during his junior and senior seasons in Oxford. McCluster is roughly Rice’s size (each are somewhere between 5’7″-5’9″, with McCluster clocking in at just a few pounds below Rice’s 210. But the idea remains the same. McCluster is at his best when teams get him the ball in space-which he proved during a stellar Senior Bowl week in Mobile. The Ravens weren’t shy to take chances on Rebels prospects a season ago, drafting Michael Oher and adding FB Jason Cook & LB Tony Fein before letting each go at the end of Training Camp. With Willis McGahee’s future questionable, Cam Cameron could decide to take a chance on another playmaker to help make the Ravens’ offense even more unpredictable. We know one thing-McCluster does the one thing Cameron wants his backs to do-he catches the ball. He’s probably a Friday night guy in April’s Draft.

LB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri)

weatherspoon

376 tackles, 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions and 2 defensive TD’s made the last 3 seasons of Weatherspoon’s Tigers career particularly memorable. To make his NFL career memorable, he’ll have to settle in at a LB position-which could be outside or a JACK-type of position depending on the team he ends up with. Weatherspoon is a beast at 6’2″ and 245 (or so) pounds, and is expected to be able to post a 40 in the 4.5 range on the fast track at LucasOil Stadium. Weatherspoon comes from a family of athletes, including his cousin-former WNBA star Teresa Weatherspoon. Lions DC Gunther Cunningham told the Detroit Free Press that Weatherspoon showed a great deal of leadership during Senior Bowl week. Should he play inside, the Ravens may be looking for a leader after the eventual retirement of Ray Lewis. However, Weatherspoon is expected to be a Thursday or Friday night pick-which may be a bit too early for the Ravens to pull the trigger on a LB that isn’t a pass-rusher.

WR Jeremy Williams (Tulane)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV1E83U6zK4[/youtube]

He’s taller than Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, but 6’1″ may not be the ideal size for a receiver the Ravens are looking at in the 2010 Draft. But if Williams stays on the board until Saturday, he will be a reliable target for any team that takes a chance on him. Williams had a spectacular senior campaign for the Green Wave, grabbing 84 catches for 1,113 yards and 7 TD’s. His season included 5 games where he tallied 100 or more receiving yards. Williams capped that off with a strong performance at Ladd Peebles Stadium, where he made 6 catches for 83 yards and finished with over 100 yards of total offense. Of course, things haven’t necessarily worked out well stemming from the last time the Ravens drafted a WR named Williams…

WR Taylor Price (Ohio)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIOwxj0oh6Q[/youtube]

Scouts around Mobile compared Taylor Price to Chicago Bears WR Johnny Knox. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Johnny Knox is LIGHTNING fast. I’ll reiterate that I don’t think a 6’1″ receiver will address the Ravens’ problems at the position, but I know having game-breaking speed has worked for other #1 WR’s around the league, including Carolina Panthers star Steve Smith. Price didn’t put up eye-catching numbers during his Bobcats career, but he finished with just over 2,000 yards receiving and 14 TD’s. On top of that, Price spent some time during his career as both a punt returner and kick returner-but wouldn’t be an obvious candidate to compete with Lardarius Webb, Jalen Parmele or Chris Carr for a return job in Baltimore.

CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State)

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

The oddest thing about Kyle Wilson’s draft profile is trying to figure out how a player with his speed managed to end up at Boise State despite being from Piscataway, New Jersey. Strangely enough, it WASN’T because Rutgers wasn’t interested. Wilson wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, but he proved his doubters wrong during his career with the Broncos. Not only did he finish his career with 11 interceptions and 2 defensive TD’s, he also added 3 punt return TD’s. Wilson’s speed isn’t a concern, but his size (5’10″) makes it difficult to assume he can transition from WAC star to shutdown NFL corner. There will be plenty of comparisons made between Wilson and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Gerald Alexander, who also went to the Draft coming off a BSU victory in the Fiesta Bowl.

TE Ed Dickson (Oregon)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpXURJqx8MU[/youtube]

Unlike Riar Geer, Ed Dickson does appear to be the type of TE who could develop into a big playmaker while splitting time with a former Pro Bowler like Todd Heap to start his career. Dickson has tremendous size (6’5″, 244 pounds); and could really make sure he doesn’t stick around until Saturday on draft weekend by posting a 4.6-ish 40 at the Combine. Dickson didn’t exactly put up insane numbers in Eugene, but he did average over 500 yards receiving and 4 TD’s over each of the final 3 seasons of his Ducks career. Dickson is a tremendous athlete, having previously played LB and DE in High School and early in his college career. What makes him even more intriguing is that his size (much like the size of Miami TE prospect Jimmy Graham) makes him a legitimate jump ball and endzone threat, which the Ravens are currently lacking.

LB Daryl Washington (TCU)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0gc2ODyM1w[/youtube]

While pass rusher Jerry Hughes is the Horned Frogs defender that is getting the most attention during Draft season, Washington has quietly made a name for himself as a riser at the ILB position. Washington had a stellar senior season in Fort Worth; tallying 109 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and a INT return TD. Washington moves well for someone who is about 6’3″, 234 pounds; but he moved to strong side during the Senior Bowl, and scouts will want to see continued progress from him at that position. Where he could fit in for the Ravens would be as a reserve MLB, as his ability to move downfield in pass coverage could get him playing time in obvious passing situations with Ray Lewis having appeared to lose a step in 2009. He looks like a Friday night pick as of right now.

OG Jeff Byers (USC)

jeff byers

If some schools are “Linebacker U” (like Penn State) or “Wide Receiver U” (Tennessee and Michigan State have been given that nickname), when will we finally recognize Southern Cal as “Interior Lineman U”? After players like Deuce Lutui (Arizona Cardinals), Ryan Kalil (Carolina Panthers), Sam Baker (Atlanta Falcons) and others, Byers is just another steady O-Lineman the Trojans are going to send to the NFL. The issue that is holding Byers back is his history of injuries. His career was slowed in 2005 and 2006 by hip and back injuries that caused him to miss the better part of two seasons. But Byers showed solid versatility in his senior season, even starting a game at center when Kris O’Dowd was hurt. Byers measures in at 6’3″ and right around 300 pounds-making his growth and bench performance very important as teams like the Ravens consider him on Saturday.

DE Alex Carrington (Arkansas State)

carrington

One of the most below the radar pass rushers in the entire FBS, Carrington is out to prove that his 19 sacks over his final two seasons in Jonesboro were about his own individual ability, not the Sun Belt level of opposition he faced with the Red Wolves. Carrington is an absolute monster, checking in at 6’5″, 280 pounds and expected to post a 40 somewhere in the 4.7 range at the Combine. Scouts in attendance at the Senior Bowl were blown away by his strength and versatility; as he’s believed to be capable of rushing in either a 3-4 or 4-3 set. Carrington would be a VERY intriguing selection for a Ravens team with Trevor Pryce’s long-term future in the air; and needing someone to perform opposite Terrell Suggs.

QB Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)

jarrettbrown

The inevitable comparisons with Brown will be to Miami Dolphins QB Pat White, but that’s only because the two players aren’t standing next to each other. Brown wasn’t overwhelming during his only season as a starter in Morgantown; he threw for 2,144 yards and 11 TD’s; adding 452 more yards and 6 TD’s on the ground. But Brown has great size for a player looking to prove himself at the next level-at 6’4″, 200 pounds. He’s not blazingly fast, but he definitely has the ability to move in the pocket-and his time in the 40 could change where he ends up getting picked. If the Ravens do end up moving Troy Smith-Brown’s size gives him an obvious advantage over the former Heisman Trophy winner as far as how his game will translate. He looks like a borderline Friday night or Saturday choice as of right now, which will certainly impact whether or not the Ravens would be interested.

Next week I’ll take a look back on the “Texas vs. The Nation” game risers.

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me for a few reasons….

1-Obviously, Maryland was very impressive last night.

2-I did NOT open the email my buddy sent me yesterday with the subject “WTF Greg Oden?!?!”

3-AND…..I’m not a NFL GM interested in Terrence Cody from Alabama………..

cody

The Andre Smith workout plan is clearly still effective in Tuscaloosa. Let’s see what everyone has to say….

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ed Reed has told others he intends to return

I explained everything I know there in the blog. I reported via Twitter (@WNST) that a source VERY close to Ed told me last week Ed intended to return to the Ravens. There are still some reasons why Ed hasn’t made an announcement-mostly because he has to continue to monitor his health. Saying Ed “wants” to come back and saying he IS coming back are clearly two very different things.

2. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Jim Zorn, Al Saunders candidates to replace Hue Jackson as Ravens QB Coach

Is this just an excuse for me to add another awesome podium pose from Jim Zorn? You better believe it….

zorn

Saunders is the easy choice because obviously he was working with John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron just last season. That being said, Jim Zorn has a VERY solid record as a QB coach in the NFL-and I think Matt Hasselbeck would be a solid mold for Zorn to use in trying to work hand in hand with Joe Flacco.

3. The Sun’s Ron Fritz says Dean Pees believes coming to Ravens ‘privilege and honor’

The other piece of news here is that Vic Fangio WILL be leaving the team, with an announcement about his future coming “soon”-which tends to make me think he may be retiring.

Best of luck to Dean Pees. He inherits a ton of talent-even beyond Ray Lewis-with Jarret Johnson and Dannell Ellerbe being other important parts of the future of the team. I expect Pees will have success here quickly.

4. Ravens Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Samari Rolle, Fabian Washington, Adam Terry, Lardarius Webb, Brendon Ayanbadejo amongst 13 players trying to bounce back from IR

This is a group that will have a profound impact on the 2010 Baltimore Ravens. Lardarius Webb might have been penciled in to be a starter on the team, but his health (as well as the health of guys like Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington) will be part of what shapes CB depth next season. Adam Terry is interesting as well-as the Ravens may have to make a decision on Jared Gaither’s longterm future with the team, and Adam Terry’s health will have to be considered in that decision.

5. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milbourne each scored 16 as Terps blew out Miami

As I tweeted last night, did Longwood get confused and show up for a second straight week wearing Miami uniforms?

Also, you know a team is defeated when Greivis Vasquez goes into his “shimmy” in front of their bench and the players (and coach Frank Haith) just really don’t seem to care.

You know the shimmy. It isn’t this one (I couldn’t find video of the one last night), but it looks a lot like this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cui-p0_efMI[/youtube]

6. Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps alone in first place in ACC after win over Hurricanes

Virginia will have a chance to move back into a 1st place tie when they play Virginia Tech Thursday night.

It really doesn’t mean much to be in first place right now, but it does mean something to be 4-1. As we’ve mentioned a couple times this week on “The Comcast Morning Show”, Gary Williams’ team needs to only go 6-5 the rest of the way in conference play to finish 10-6, which we all believe will clinch them another trip to the NCAA Tournament.

7. Towson Official Site previews Tigers’ trip to VCU tonight

I’ll make this quick. Pat Kennedy’s ballclub needs another CAA win. I don’t think it’s coming tonight. But I do think they’ll manage to cover the 18.5.

8. UMBC Official Site previews Retrievers’ tussle with Binghamton tonight at RAC Arena

I’ll make this quick as quick as well. Randy Monroe’s ballclub needs their first America East win. I think there’s a minimal chance it could come tonight. It’s a better chance than Towson tonight anyway.

9. Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says Maryland finishing deal to play Notre Dame at FedEx Field in 2011

PLEASE.MAKE.THIS.HAPPEN.IMMEDIATELY.

THEN.CHANGE.FEDEX.FIELD.TO.ANYWHERE.ELSE.

Of course, it might be a BIT embarrassing when there are more Irish fans at the game than there are Terrapins fans.

(Edit from GMC: For the record, I was unable to get further information on these negotiations from my guys in College Park. But they have told me in the past that they’d like to play a game every other year in Baltimore and the District of Columbia.)

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says former Terrapins FB Cory Jackson added to Senior Bowl roster

This is a great chance for Cory Jackson to make an impact before the NFL Draft. He may have missed the first couple of chances to practice in front of scouts and the NFL Network cameras, but there is still plenty going on in Mobile this week for him to impress.

11. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Tejada’s Orioles introduction delayed by humanitarian trip to Haiti

Which is VERY commendable.

Nothing to beat up here. God bless Miguel Tejada for taking it upon himself to go to Haiti and do the right thing.

12. MLB.com’s Spencer Fordin says Tejada never sold home in Charm City even after being traded to Houston

Really?

Okay…..

And finally, I leave you with this.

The best part about Tuesday was that Dave Matthews Band introduced their summer touring plans-including a stop at Nationals Park on July 23rd with Zac Brown Band. I will be there. Hoping for this….

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

Talk to you later today.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983……

-G

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Shedding Light on Ed Reed Situation

Posted on 26 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

I’m going to put this one on me. I probably should have really driven home the point I made on Twitter (follow us @WNST) last Friday at 12:48pm…

“GMC: Source close to Ed #Reed tells me he does not expect #Ravens Safety to retire. But nothing definitive imminent.

I should have written a blog that day to further explain the information I received.

I was informed by a source VERY CLOSE to Ed Reed last week that Ed had decided he was going to return to the Ravens this season. In fact, my source was particularly emphatic about Ed’s decision. In the 24 hours after I was given that information, I was given more information-which included news that Ed had spent part of the week informing football and non-football related people that he intended to be back in a Ravens uniform in 2010.

The story that is making the rounds today comes from an interview Ed did on SiriusXM radio Saturday, followed by some scuttlebutt coming from those in and around the team at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL this week. While Ed did not say anything definitive in the interview (remember-when I Tweeted this I said “nothing definitive imminent”), it has become clear to others that Ed is telling people about his thought process.

The question was posed to me today “Why don’t you just send a text to make it official?”.

That’s the problem.

This decision isn’t WNST’s to make. Or The Sun’s. Or the Carroll County Times’. Or ESPN’s.

The decision is Ed Reed’s to make and announce.

This is what I know. Ed Reed wants to return to the NFL next season to play safety for the Baltimore Ravens. Ed Reed is EXPECTED to return to the NFL next season to play safety for the Baltimore Ravens.

However, if Ed Reed wakes up tomorrow and can’t feel his neck, Ed Reed will likely NOT return to the NFL next season to play for the Baltimore Ravens.

That’s why I can’t make it official. Only Ed Reed can do that.

But the good news for Ravens fans is that if the decision was about whether or not Ed “wants” to play football in 2010, we know the answer is yes.

Now we just have to wait to make sure Ed Reed is physically capable of playing football in 2010.

-G

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 26 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a happy Tuesday for me (DESPITE staying up until 3am just to see Andy Roddick collapse again in the 5th set) because we had a great night at Hill Field House last night watching Morgan State paste UMES. The Morgan State band is always one of the highlights of a trip to see the Bears, and last night was no different. I didn’t get any new video of the band, but their highlight last night was a version of “Lollipop” by Lil’ Wayne. Thanks to the guy who filmed them doing it during football season….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46SHhjrf1LE[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say….

1. Pro Football Talk/NBC Sports’ Mike Florio reports former Patriots DC Dean Pees to become new Ravens LB Coach

Pees has a track record as a capable coach, even if his stint as Pats DC wasn’t as successful as fans in New England had hoped for. I think Pees would be a very nice addition to this Ravens staff, whether or not he is just taking the job in hopes of getting the old “Ray Lewis rub” that a number of coaches have gotten.

Pees’ link to John Harbaugh is via Miami (Ohio) University, where Harbaugh played CB under Pees as defensive coordinator. So far, I have found no link between either coach and Wally Szczerbiak, but I wish there was….

wally

2. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Vic Fangio could still have future with Ravens even if Pees hired to coach LB’s

I saw a lot of comments yesterday like “It’s a shame Vic Fangio had to learn he was getting fired this way”, but I just don’t know that we can assume that. Fangio came to this team in an undefined defensive assistant role, and I think it is safe to think that he might stay on in a defensive assistant role, with a focus on quality control.

For a team that struggled with small situations last year (need we relive the timeout disasters, review mistakes and the loss of 5 yards on a ball spot blunder), maybe having a single coach focused directly on quality control would be a good idea.

Remember, this is just me speculating. But Fangio is a Harbaugh guy, and I just don’t see him being given his walking papers to make way for Dean Pees. Something tells me this was worked out beforehand.

3. Chicago Tribune’s Vaughn McClure says Hue Jackson won’t interview with Bears

According to information obtained by WNST this morning, we expect Jackson to accept the Offensive Coordinator job with the Raiders.

And why not?

The Raiders have JaMarcus Russell, Chaz Schilens and Al Davis!

Best of luck to Hue Jackson. I’m just not certain this is a great move for him.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Drew’s speculation surrounding Al Saunders moving into Jackson’s role ended up being accurate, either.

4. Ravens Official Site’s Mike Duffy says team would be best to keep Derrick Mason

I understand Duff’s thought process here. With a likely uncapped year, the “Final 8″ rules will really hurt Ozzie Newsome’s pursuit of a legitimate playmaker at WR. With that in mind, Mason is a known commodity who has constantly put up numbers and been a reliable target right here in Charm City.

It makes sense.

Problem is, Derrick has to be willing to accept that he’s not getting the typical “big money” deal that many #1 wideouts would get. He also has to be willing to accept that the team wants to upgrade at WR, bringing in a new #1 threat that will likely take away from the number of times Joe Flacco goes to Mason.

I don’t necessarily think bringing back Derrick Mason would be a bad idea. In fact, I think the Ravens could be well served to have him for another season as they try to push towards a Super Bowl. But I don’t think it will be as easy as saying “we want you back.”

5. ESPN.com’s James Walker says losing Bart Scott, Jason Brown, Jim Leonhard and Marques Douglas could land Ravens multiple compensatory NFL Draft picks

Which makes the preparation the Ravens did last week in Orlando and this week at the Senior Bowl all the more important. This team is going to have to find some NFL-ready players in April’s Draft, as they will be hard pressed to keep all of the guys facing free agency, and they are a bit handcuffed by the Final 8 rules.

I couldn’t help but notice that Kyle Boller wasn’t on that list. He’s not an impact player per se, but isn’t he worth something?!?!?

6. Morgan State Official Site says Reggie Holmes, Troy Smith combined for 40 as Bears pasted UMES at Hill Field House

Just an overwhelming performance from Todd Bozeman’s crew last night. Troy Smith has really come on for them, responding after an incident in December that Todd Bozeman would only describe as a “transgression” postgame.

I guess you have to consider the fact that UMES was the opponent, but Frankie Allen has made improvements in Princess Anne, and the Hawks were coming off a win at Coppin State on Saturday. They had absolutely NOTHING to offer against Morgan last night.

The Bears return to action Saturday evening at Norfolk State, as they continue their quest for a perfect season in MEAC play. If you missed Todd Bozeman with Drew Forrester on “The Comcast Morning Show” this morning, check out the Audio Vault at WNST.net.

7. The AP says Quinston Reggins scored 14, but Coppin State fell to Delaware State at CSPEC

This was one of the Eagles’ best chances to make sure they got a win in conference play this season. They will be fighting to get a victory the rest of the way. They return to action Saturday afternoon at North Carolina A&T.

8. Maryland Official Site previews tonight’s ACC tilt with Miami at Comcast Center

It’s WAAAY too easy to say that the Terps shouldn’t lose to the ‘Canes tonight. We all know the Terps shouldn’t lose to the ‘Canes tonight. But there is certainly a danger to how well the Terrapins have been playing recently, as they need to remain focused. Frank Haith has had good success against Gary Williams, but usually with a more veteran team.

If I had to guess, I’d say 81-70 Maryland.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Jordan Williams excelling because he takes pride in playing with ‘back to basket’

I’m running out of adjectives to use to describe Jordan Williams-and his career is 18 games old.

As he progresses, this team can continue to go far this season. If he continues to improve during ACC play-the Sweet 16 aspirations this team had before the season could be very legitimate. If he levels off, this team will likely end up back on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

10. Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg remembers former Maryland AD Jim Kehoe

I wish I had gotten to know Jim Kehoe before he passed away. He certainly did a tremendous job as Athletic Director at Maryland, and he was honored with a moment of silence before Saturday night’s win over NC State.

I’d like to add more here, I am just forced to admit that I don’t know a whole lot more about Jim than what you can read in Stan’s story.

11. The Sun’s Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec say Jeremy Guthrie doesn’t think anything changes for him with Kevin Millwood joining staff

And other than not starting on Opening Day, he’s right. He will still have high expectations this season, and he will have to perform better than he did a season ago to remain a mainstay in an Orioles rotation with a lot of young pitchers coming up.

Here’s a more important question. When the Birds decided NOT to persue FA pitcher Brad Penny this offseason, were they aware he was dating Karina Smirnoff???

smirnoff

12. ESPN.com’s Eric Karabell says O’s lineup full of fantasy “sleepers”

He’s exactly right. This team is full of “sleepers.” If they all turn out to be rock stars, this team will be in good shape. If they turn out to be sleep-ing, they’ll be in trouble. But a lineup with Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Miguel Tejada, Garrett Atkins, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Luke Scott and Cesar Izturis looks on paper like it might be credible.

At least if someone in that group turns out to be a power hitter.

And finally, I leave you with this.

I have NO IDEA how I missed this, but thank God it was directed back to me. Back when Bruce Springsteen was honored by the Kennedy Center, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder did a version of the Boss’ outstanding tune “My City of Ruins”….

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

WOW.

Apparently you can buy the song on iTunes to help some sort of charity. Maybe Haiti. Maybe cancer. I should’ve done more research here. Go buy the tune.

Talk to you tonight from College Park.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Reports: Pees to Become Ravens New LB Coach, Bears Interested in Hue Jackson

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Reports: Pees to Become Ravens New LB Coach, Bears Interested in Hue Jackson

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

According to a report today from Mike Florio via ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports (who cites a “league source”), former New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees will become the next LB Coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Pees had been rumored to replace Mike Nolan as Defensive Coordinator of the Denver Broncos (after Nolan accepted the same job with the Miami Dolphins), a move that would have made sense, considering he could have reunited with Josh McDaniels.

Pees

No word on what this move would mean for current LB coach Vic Fangio, who could stay on with the team in a quality control role. Pees’ connection with John Harbaugh dates to Miami (Ohio) University, where Harbaugh played DB under defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

Pees served in the LB Coach role for the Pats before being promoted to DC in 2006. He has familiarity with the region, having served as secondary coach at Navy in the late 80′s. After roles as Defensive Coordinator, LB Coach or Secondary Coach at Toledo, Notre Dame, and Michigan State; Pees became head coach at Kent State in 1998 and served until 2003. Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Ted Johnson and Willie McGinest are amongst the LB’s he coached during his tenure in Foxborough.

The Ravens offices are closed this week-with much of the leadership of the team in Mobile, AL for the annual Senior Bowl; immediate requests for comment have been unreturned.

Edit from GMC: Also today, Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Chicago Bears are interested in speaking with Ravens QB Coach Hue Jackson regarding their open Offensive Coordinator position, and have reached out to the Ravens for permission. Jackson had interviewed with the Oakland Raiders last week, either for the OC position, or the still-filled head coaching position.

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention-NHL: Capitals @ Islanders (Tuesday 7pm from New York live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Ducks @ Capitals (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on NHL Network & Comcast SportsNet), Panthers @ Capitals (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Lightning @ Capitals (Sunday 3pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); College Lacrosse Preseason Scrimmage: UMBC @ Navy (Saturday 10am from Annapolis); Soccer: Milwaukee Wave @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm from 1st Mariner Arena streamed live on B2liveTV.com)

10-Wale (Wednesday 9pm Sonar), Martina McBride & Trace Adkins (Sunday 7:30pm Patriot Center), Owl City (Friday 6:30pm Rams Head Live), Theory of a Deadman (Saturday 7:30pm Bourbon Street), Bobby Lee (Friday-Sunday DC Improv), Hope for Haiti Now available on CD (Tuesday), Michael Jackson: This Is It available on DVD & Blu-Ray (Tuesday), Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (Saturday Sandy Point State Park), Vh1 Storytellers: John Mayer premieres (Thursday 8pm Vh1)

Once again, stuff all over the place this week.

First of all, if you didn’t like Wale before…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oown3SyBqRk[/youtube]

…you’re gonna have to start liking him soon, as Ravens RB Ray Rice makes a cameo in his upcoming video for “Pretty Girlz”

wale

I probably won’t go see Martina McBride & Trace Adkins (nay, definitely); but I will admit that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with a “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCm2XBrhbKA[/youtube]

I don’t care for Owl City myself. But if you’d like to hear this song for the 1,000,001st time, I’d imagine they’ll be playing it…..

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

If your girlfriend thinks this song is a great description of her, maybe just make sure everything is cool at home BEFORE you say “Yeah, she kicks ass!”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FoZ6onAZS8[/youtube]

I thought this guy was pretty funny on MadTV…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-915VRPI-U[/youtube]

I really kinda dug this Jay-Z/Rihanna/Bono/The Edge collaboration on Friday night……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQe2faE12rs[/youtube]

When I went to see “This Is It”, I really enjoyed the part of the show where MJ crooned some old Jackson 5 tunes. It made me sad knowing this could never happen again…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b90gbJaA_48[/youtube]

If I looked more like Martin O’Malley, I’d probably be more likely to participate in the Plunge…..

plunge

But, I may actually come out to Sandy Point, just because I’m still a fan of Kelly Bell Band…..

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

And if you think less of me because I like John Mayer, you’re just too lame to admit that you’re a fan….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pukH72Z8Xe0[/youtube]

9-Ballroom Boxing (Friday 8pm Michael’s 8th Avenue)

I am going to be attending this event with Bob Haynie and Ray Bachman; looking forward to seeing Darnell “The Dingaling Man” Wilson. If you’re looking for us, we’ll be this gang….

ratpack

8-Golf: PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm CBS. All Golf from San Diego)

Finally, there are boobs back in golf besides the ones Tiger Woods has been chasing…..

mickelson

Of course, I prefer Cori Rist’s (just not necessarily the rest of her)…..

rist

7-NBA: Lakers @ Wizards (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Wizards @ Nets (Friday 8pm from East Rutherford, NJ live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Knicks @ Wizards (Saturday 8pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Celtics @ Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

The most exciting week the ‘Zards could EVER ask for. They play the two defending champions in the C’s and Lakers-AND-there might be a pair of wins on the schedule with the Nets and Knicks.

I mean, if you lose to a team that previously lost by 50 points….to anyone…..shouldn’t you just be relegated out of the league???

And also, thanks to Yahoo! Sports’ “Balls Don’t Lie” for digging up THIS picture from the SI Vault, which is even better than the Manute Bol/Muggsy Bogues picture I found last week…..

manute

6-NFL Pro Bowl (Sunday 7:30pm from Miami live on ESPN)

What a disaster of an idea it was to play the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl. Instead of some combination of Peyton Manning/Tom Brady/Ben Roethlisberger/Phillip Rivers; the AFC is stuck with Matt Schaub, Vince Young and David freaking Gerrard at QB. I heard they were pretty close to adding this player to the roster…..

Quinn

(You thought I had a Kyle Boller joke prepared there! Oh you of little faith…..)

Also, since Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, Ray Bachman and I will be in South Florida at the time, I’m on call if the team needs another QB. Unfortunately, I probably throw the ball WAAAAY too much like Uncle Rico to be of help….

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

5-WWE Royal Rumble (Sunday 8pm from Atlanta live on Pay-Per-View)

I’ve always been a fan of the Royal Rumble. 30 dudes, 1 ring, 1 shot at going to Wrestlemania. It always works for me……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ83ZIKRpo0[/youtube]

I’m also big fans of any event that involves Michelle McCool……

mccool

4-Strikeforce Miami (Saturday 10pm from Sunrise, FL live on Showtime)

Is there ANY reason for me to want to watch a 47 year old football player fight???

herschel

Of course not. Will I do it anyway? Yes, yes of course I will. Also on the card? A gal who could kick my ass with her fingertips….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5o1voSAUho[/youtube]

And a pro wrestling/MMA badass that is near the level of Samuel L. Jackson…….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LnXCXYOHIk[/youtube]

3-College Basketball: Miami @ Maryland (Tuesday 7pm from Comcast Center live on ESPNU), Maryland @ Clemson (Sunday 5:30pm from Clemson, SC live on Comcast SportsNet locally/Fox Sports Net nationally); Towson @ UNC Wilmington (Saturday 6pm live on MASN); Binghamton @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm RAC Arena); Fairfield @ Loyola (Thursday 7pm Reitz Arena), Niagara @ Loyola (Sunday 3pm Reitz Arena)

For the record, I will be rooting like CRAZY for the Terps to kick some Tigers ass on Sunday night. BUT…..I want to be the first to point out that I am not fully against everything Clemson University-related……

clemson

2-College Football: Under Armour Senior Bowl (Game Saturday 3pm; Practice Tuesday-Thursday 9:30am & 1:45pm, Friday 9:30 & 10:30am. All football from Mobile, AL live on NFL Network)

Ready for some NFL Draft porn????

tebowducassemaysmccluster

1-Tennis: Australian Open (Tuesday 3:30am & 9pm live on ESPN2, 7pm live on Tennis Channel; Wednesday 3:30am & 9:30pm live on ESPN2, 7pm live on Tennis Channel; Thursday 3:30am live on ESPN2, 11pm live on Tennis Channel-Women’s Doubles Final; Friday 3:30am live on ESPN2; Saturday 3:30am live on ESPN2-Women’s Final, 5:30am live on Tennis Channel-Men’s Doubles Final; Sunday 12am live on Tennis Channel-Mixed Doubles Final, 3:30am live on ESPN2-Men’s Final. All of this from Melbourne, AUS)

Who do you think has been more of a tease to me in my life? My high school girlfriend Kristen, or Andy Roddick. I’ll give you a hint. The one who looks better with their shirt off…….

arod

I know Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko are still in the Draw, but this is as good a chance as A-Rod has had in a while.

Please don’t ruin this for me.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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