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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 25 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Pro Wrestling-Maryland Championship Wrestling Tribute to the Legends (Saturday 6:30pm New Green Room Dundalk); Golf: PGA Tour CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia (Thursday-Sunday 1am from Selangor, Malaysia live on Golf Channel); Auto Racing: NASCAR Tums Fast Relief 500 (Sunday 1:30pm from Martinsville, VA live on ESPN); Boxing: ShoBox-Brandon Gonzalez vs. Ossie Duran (Friday 11pm from Atlantic City live on Showtime); Canadian Football League: Edmonton Eskimos @ BC Lions (Saturday 10pm from Vancouver live on NFL Network); Soccer: MLS Playoffs-New York Red Bulls @ FC Dallas (Wednesday 9pm from Frisco, TX live on Fox Soccer Channel), Seattle Sounders @ Real Salt Lake (Saturday 10pm from Salt Lake City live on Fox Soccer Channel), Houston Dynamo @ Philadelphia Union (Sunday 4pm from Chester, PA live on ESPN2); Stony Brook @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park)

10. Butch Walker (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live); Charm City Devils (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre), Pietasters (Saturday 8pm Recher Theatre); Queensryche (Sunday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Ra Ra Riot (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), The Naked & Famous (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), Panic! At The Disco (Monday 6:30pm 9:30 Club); Moby (Wednesday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Ziggy Marley (Sunday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Tedeschi Trucks Band (Friday 8pm Warner Theatre), Marsha Ambrosius (Sunday 8pm Warner Theatre); Sting (Saturday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Ray Manzarek & Robby Krieger of The Doors (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Coldplay “Mylo Xyloto” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday); Pearl Jam 20 available on DVD (Tuesday)

I’m not the type that thinks Butch Walker is the greatest thing to ever happen to music, but I AM eternally grateful for Marvelous 3…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Obkkxng-0g[/youtube]

I’m hoping John Allen will join me to play “Everybody Beats Glenn” Thursday before the CCD show Friday night. Someone pressure him on this. I’m a fan!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUB08-RuwdM[/youtube]

I dig The Naked & Famous probably more than I realized initially…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YuSg4mts9E[/youtube]

I missed seeing the Pearl Jam documentary Friday night on PBS because I went to see 50/50 in Hunt Valley. It was really good, and even included a hell of a Pearl Jam tune…

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

9. John Oliver (Saturday 7:30pm Warner Theatre); The Great Big Halloween Parade of Light & Luminari (Saturday 7pm Patterson Park); Carlos Mencia (Thursday 8pm Baltimore Comedy Factory), Kevin Brown (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Shawn & Marlon Wayans (Friday-Sunday DC Improv)

With Halloween in mind, here’s the “Party Rock Anthem” Halloween house video for the 5-6 of you that haven’t seen it on Facebook yet…

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

And since we’re not legally allowed to post anything that doesn’t involve the name Tim Tebow, here’s John Oliver at a Florida State Homecoming event…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN7LEgi7szQ[/youtube]

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The 15-7-0 Might Not Be Statue-Worthy As Of Now, But Give It Time

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The 15-7-0 Might Not Be Statue-Worthy As Of Now, But Give It Time

Posted on 24 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. If there are any tickets left for Towson-Delaware next Saturday at Unitas Stadium, get them now.

There was no 4th & 29 miracle this time around, just a good old fashioned butt kicking of William & Mary for Terrence West and the Tigers…

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

And now Towson has an undefeated record in the CAA (they’re tied with Maine for first place) and returns home to face the Blue Hens Saturday night.

I might go as Rob Ambrose for Halloween this year. He’s created more magic than Harry Potter.

2. I don’t think much of the “Tebow Time” monicker, but I’m happy for the kid.

I mean, I get it. Tim Tebow leads comebacks in consecutive games, so the late moments of games involving Tebow will now be known as “Tebow Time”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcHoQupXhX8[/youtube]

I’m trying to figure out 67 more ways to put the word “Tebow” in this entry.

Yes, the Denver Broncos were TERRIBLE for most of their win over the lifeless Miami Dolphins. Who cares? Tebow was a winner, so America has a week to repeat his name over and over and over and over and over and over.

Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow.

tebow

Demaryius Thomas was so excited about Tebow’s performance he decided to plant one on his quarterback…

tebow

That’s just plain beautiful.

3. Christian Ponder had a nice day and all, but Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson play for the Green Bay Packers. Who did you think was going to win?

At least things were interesting enough that you get the feeling the Packers MIGHT somehow be vulnerable. Maybe.

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

Brian Robison did something to TJ Lang during the game that made everyone in America uncomfortable…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut1fPdSRsuQ[/youtube]

Oh. Oh…

4. It absolutely takes more time, but the end of the Wisconsin-Michigan State game was a reminder of how crucial it is to review every scoring play.

We should start by saying “thank God the replay officials in East Lansing got this one right”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek3yw6zADls[/youtube]

Doug Flutie and Gerard Phelan still have the greatest “Hail Mary” of all time (and I’ll assume Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook are still second on the list), but this was pretty awesome.

We can also all agree that if Russell Wilson and the Badgers had seen the ball again they would have won, right?

I’m certainly convinced of it.

5. Every establishment in Lubbock will now have a picture of Seth Doege with the words “his money is no good here” below it.

I’m not sure if you stayed up late enough (the game ended at about 1:30am) to watch all of Texas Tech-Oklahoma, but it turned out to be a really good game…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PkQF3aqFg0[/youtube]

Apparently the Red Raiders didn’t get the memo that no one EVER beats the Sooners in Norman.

While OU is likely done (as far as the BCS Championship picture is concerned), their “Bedlam” date with Oklahoma State still looms large in the title picture after the Cowboys got another brilliant performance from QB Brandon Weeden in a win over Missouri.

By the way, Brandon Weeden is my age. Does that mean I still have a future in football?

6. There are four playoff spots to be had between the NFC North and NFC South. Because of this, the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons picked up HUGE wins.

The Bears went to London and beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who never really looked in sync. This is why I never want to see the Ravens play across the pond…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdU34oGYJOg[/youtube]

The game involved a Matt Forte run that was so brutal it made two Bucs players run into each other…

forte

The Detroit Lions have now lost back to back home games after falling to the Falcons Sunday at Ford Field…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxS6k6TlQBM[/youtube]

The Lions have serious rushing issues, but still have Calvin Johnson. That should mean they’ll be okay. Miraculously for the Falcons, Matt Ryan survived a brutal hit in this one and came back to finish the game. That should mean they’ll be okay as well.

Also in this game, Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez passed Marvin Harrison for the 2nd most receptions in history, only behind Jerry Rice.

That’s actually really amazing.

7. Rex Ryan may be a lunatic, but on Sunday he was at least a victorious lunatic.

I like to think I appreciate a level of refreshing honesty from a head coach, but for some reason Rex just tends to come off as more of a horses’s ass than anything…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIEcgaR22WE[/youtube]

Plaxico Burress is 6’5″. It must be nice for the New York Jets to have a capable receiver that size. There isn’t one of those in Baltimore, and the Ravens still have to face the San Diego Chargers later in the season themselves.

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There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

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There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

Posted on 10 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I guess it’s safe to say Rob Ambrose made the right decision to not redshirt Terrance West

Especially seeing as how his 4TD’s helped Towson improve to 4-1 on the season with their win over Richmond Saturday night at Unitas Stadium….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT4vlLi_vWo[/youtube]

The Tigers are now 2-0 in the CAA for the first time EVER. Remember when they were picked to finish last in the conference? Nice call there.

(Editor’s note: Spiders QB-and USC transfer-Aaron Corp completed 31 of 34 attempts Saturday night. I still can’t figure out how Towson was ever able to stop them. How does someone go 31 or 34 and win???)

2. When they weren’t fighting, there was a pretty fun football game being played between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers

For some reason, Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins decided to fight about a pretty impressive Steve Smith touchdown from Cam Newton…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq7gVv7I4MA[/youtube]

…Yeah I really have no explanation for that. I will reiterate what I’ve been saying about the Saints all season however. You can tell me all you want about their defense not being great. Based on how good Drew Brees and company are, they’re fine.

3. We want to write the Pittsburgh Steelers off, but Ben Roethlisberger just won’t let us

Sitting on my fantasy football bench, Big Ben managed to toss FIVE touchdowns for the Steelers in the win, pissing off everyone in the world who has no connection to the Steel City. Oh, and Daniel Sepulveda executed a perfect fake punt just to rub it in…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rChOUXR7JyQ[/youtube]

Jonathan Dwyer also ran for over 100 yards as the bad guys beat the Tennessee Titans. That answers the age old question, “who is Jonathan Dwyer?”

4. BCS apologists might get their chance to say LSU-Alabama and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State ARE a playoff system for college football

We’ll start with LSU’s big win over Florida, a blowout that included a would-be touchdown on a fake punt-had it not been for a taunting call that we can all agree was questionable at best…

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

Seriously?

Next, The Crimson Tide started the season with a quarterback controversy. In their big win over Vanderbilt Saturday night, AJ McCarron reminded everyone why that didn’t last very long…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQrJYCbUFK0[/youtube]

Oh yeah. Trent Richardson is still pretty good too.

Elsewhere, Texas came into the Red River Rivalry this year with higher hopes based on the (Case) McCoy-(Jaxson) Shipley Combo Part 2. Landry Jones quickly ruined those hopes…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7BEMeOhYwQ[/youtube]

The path to the BCS Championship Game is also easier for the Sooners this year based on the fact that there is no more Big 12 Big 12 Championship Game.

Which leads us finally to Oklahoma State, who finished on the good end of a 70-28 beatdown of Kansas Saturday…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fgH624Jn-Y[/youtube]

Before you pencil Oklahoma into the national title game, a reminder that the Cowboys host this year’s “Bedlam” game in Stillwater. It’s significant.

5. Kellen Moore remains atop my “Heisman Trophy watch” personally, but I understand why everyone is so hot and bothered by Andrew Luck

Here’s my problem. Everyone always beats up the Boise State QB because the Broncos don’t play top-notch competition. For example, they shredded Fresno State most recently…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moapfuyqut4[/youtube]

…but thus far, the best team Stanford has beaten all season is Duke-and Duke was NOT playing with Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Marshall Plumlee or any other Plumlee anywhere on the planet…that I know of.

The Cardinal’s victim Saturday night was a less than impressive Pac 12 newcomer-Colorado. You only know anything about the game because Tiger Woods took a break from being crappy at golf to show up and watch the thing with John Elway…

tiger

Woods finished tied for 30th this weekend at an event won by some dude named Bryce Molder. Tied for 30th. Bryce Molder. Oh…and some dude threw a hot dog at him while he was playing. REALLY…

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

6. Cincinnati Bengals defense plus AJ Green equals late season games could be more interesting for Ravens than we want them to be

AJ Green was immediately more popular just for NOT being Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens. Now it looks like he’s really good to boot…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-FUlm0MGeI[/youtube]

I don’t think Cincy can stay in the AFC playoff race all season by any stretch of the imagination, but it looks like they’re not going to fall apart either. Marvin Lewis’ team will have two chances to make life miserable in Charm City later this season.

7. Sooo….maybe Jim Harbaugh WAS worth all that money?

Until this point, I have refused to believe in the San Francisco 49ers despite their early season success. After their blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, I might have to start buying stock…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59UTGUCaWo0[/youtube]

I’d say the Josh Morgan injury would hurt them, but they play in the NFC West. I get the feeling they could lose half their roster and still be in the mix.

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“The Reality Check” Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 21 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Power Rankings…

32. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 21)

I’ve been calling them fraudulent for some time. Anyone want to disagree with me?

31. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 20)

You can officially not worry about them playing in the Super Bowl in their home stadium…clearly.

30. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 30)

I still feel like they’ll steal a few wins, especially in the division. Why they haven’t signed David Garrard is beyond me…

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 29)

Yeah, Blaine Gabbert will have to play soon. Or they can just lose…

28. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 28)

I was surprised the Vikes played the Bucs tough. I wasn’t surprised they lost.

27. Miami Dolphins (LW: 25)

At least they didn’t waste their time with Reggie Bush. We’ll see if Daniel Thomas can get them back on track.

26. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 27)

They nearly beat the Cowboys, but then they turned into the Niners again.

25. Cleveland Browns (LW: 31)

They got a win, so I had to move them up. I’m still not buying into them.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 24)

I thought their defense was better than they showed against the Broncos. Is Carson Palmer REALLY just tailgating at USC games these days?

23. Carolina Panthers (LW: 23)

I shouldn’t let them be this far up winless, but they look kinda okay to me.

22. Denver Broncos (LW: 26)

Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow Tim Tebow.

21. St. Louis Rams (LW: 22)

They’ve played two tough teams. They have to play another Sunday. They’re going to win at some point. God I hope it isn’t this week.

20. Tennessee Titans (LW: 32)

This should be proof that I have no idea what I’m doing.

19. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 12)

They’re really close to being 2-0. They’re clearly the best in a terrible division thus far.

18. New York Giants (LW: 18)

They won Monday night. Why am I not more impressed?

17. Oakland Raiders (LW: 17)

They’re better than I gave them credit for initially. I just don’t know how much better.

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The Return of 15-7-0…Where We’re Still Looking For More Dogs and Less Cats

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The Return of 15-7-0…Where We’re Still Looking For More Dogs and Less Cats

Posted on 12 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Some of you (the diehards) will remember my extremely popular 15-7-0 blogs from a few years back.

Well….they’re back!

Sorta.

As I explained Monday afternoon on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, 15-7-0 will now be interactive, both in blog form and in radio form.

You hear Drew Forrester and Luke Jones share “Scores And Comment” every Monday on “The Morning Reaction” to recap the weekend’s football action. This will be a lot like that. The format for 15-7-0 will be as such…

I will make 15 positive observations from the weekend in football (NFL & College Football), seven NOT so positive observations and one moment from outside of football that made me go “oh no.”

It’s like the old 15-7-0 in that I have to do a lot of work. It’s not like the old 15-7-0 in that I have no freaking idea how it’s going to come over on the radio.

The 15-7-0 won’t reflect on the Baltimore Ravens. We’ll save that for Tuesdays when Ryan Chell and I introduce our new “5 Plays That Determined the Game” segment.

Here are 15 positive observations from the weekend in football…

1-I couldn’t have had a better time at the Towson football game Saturday night

I made a late week decision to attend Towson/Villanova Saturday night at Unitas Stadium with my girlfriend (“Lucky”). Thank God I did.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts5ve0peTE0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

It was cool seeing the Tigers stun the Wildcats. It was cooler seeing Towson students rush the field after the game. Rob Ambrose and Mike Waddell are doing their damndest to create a football atmosphere over there. I’m all in.

2-The only bummer about being at Towson Saturday night was that I missed the magic at Stevenson

I’m very excited for what the Mustangs are doing out in Owings Mills. I wish I could have been there Saturday night for the grand opening of Mustang Stadium.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3-9YGURdOE[/youtube]

Clearly it was more significant because the Stangs were able to get their first victory in school history thanks to a double overtime thriller over Christopher Newport. It’s awesome what they’re doing out there, I’m happy for SU/Villa Julie students/grads/fans everywhere.

3-Much like Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher isn’t “too old”

A pick, a fumble recovery and a touchdown for the Chicago Bears in their blowout win over the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InznVn2GNDQ[/youtube]

I don’t feel so good anymore about picking the Falcons to win the Super Bowl. Yep, I’m freaking out after one week. It’s what we do in this country. I also think Bruce Gradkowski will be MVP. 

4-Cam Newton was the most impressive losing quarterback not named Drew Brees this weekend

You can’t sneeze at 422 yards passing. The Carolina Panthers are going to struggle to win games all season, but they’ll steal a few if Newton plays like this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITZJnI3LqnU[/youtube]

Insert your own “he made less money Sunday than he did at Auburn” joke now. I’m above all of that personally.

5-Alabama’s win over Penn State further proof of just how much better SEC is than everyone else

Penn State isn’t a bad team. They’ll make noise in the Big Ten this season. There was a ton of emotion in Happy Valley Saturday afternoon, as students held a blackout to try to support the Nittany Lions.

It wasn’t enough. AJ McCarron was too good. Trent Richardson was too good. The Crimson Tide were too good. The SEC is just too damn good.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSVW9krMm5s[/youtube]

6-For a second straight week, I’m so damn grateful for Friday Night college football games

A week after the TCU-Baylor thriller, we were treated to another thriller, this one in Tempe. Arizona State stopped Missouri in overtime, and it was a lot of fun for me to watch after “Lucky” and I got home after a night out.

I would really appreciate having a game like this to watch every week.

The only question is, why were there ASU fans in blackface at the game??? (Thanks, The Big Lead!) 

asu

7-He wasn’t “lights out”, but Michael Vick IS an exceptional quarterback

14-32 for 187 yards and 2 TD’s (plus 10 rushes for 98 yards) doesn’t truly qualify as “lights out” (which is how Vick labeled his performance after the game), but he was exceptional.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYk_xvzJz40[/youtube]

All of us who picked the Rams to win the NFC West are freaking out a bit today, seeing as how everyone who plays for St. Louis had an icepack on them after the game.

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Maryland Could Do Much Worse Than Becoming “Oregon of the East”

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Maryland Could Do Much Worse Than Becoming “Oregon of the East”

Posted on 24 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I wandered down to College Park Monday night to see the Maryland Terrapins unveil their brand new Under Armour football uniforms at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

The entire event was highlighted by Terps DL AJ Francis, who delivered a Ric Flair-style entrance and then capitalized by giving his best WWE promo to WNSTV…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVeRmSy2834&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

(If you’re interested in more pictures of players in the uniforms, UMTerps.com has a gallery, including the photo of QB Danny O’Brien below.)

dob
In the 24 hours following the unveiling of the uniforms, I’ve heard/read a ton of responses. Just amongst WNST staff members, I’ve seen Nestor Aparicio use terms like “tacky” and “ugly” while our youngest contributor Peter DiLutis described the threads as “SICK” via Twitter.

For the most part, bloggers and analysts have been less than positive in their comments about the new duds, while younger Maryland fans and the players themselves have offered overwhelmingly positive feedback.

(For what it’s worth, I think some of the uniform schemes are fine-in fact some are pretty cool. Some of the color combinations however should just be avoided altogether. I’m not particularly enamored by the font or the numbers, but I like the state flag use and I will admit that I dig the turtle shell helmet scheme. That being said, I’m a Maryland fan. It’s unlikely they’d create a uniform scheme I completely hated.)

One of the most common themes in the light of the uniform unveiling, which included significant involvement of UA CEO and former Maryland Special Teams captain Kevin Plank, was that it appeared as though Maryland was trying to become the “Oregon of the East.”

Oregon athletics have been widely known to receive significant financial support to Ducks alum and Nike CEO Phil Knight. A high profile part of Nike’s involvement with Oregon athletics has been the school’s ever changing football uniforms, which Baltimore Ravens TE Ed Dickson and his former teammates prominently displayed in pictures like the one below…

ducksunis
We’ve had plenty of fun pointing out the over the top nature of Oregon uniforms in recent seasons. The uniforms they wore for the BCS Championship Game this past January were the subject of a number of giggles throughout the sports world, including a few comments about how parts of the uniform appeared to be designed by highlighter.

Sounds like a nice problem to have, doesn’t it?

You see, critics of the Oregon uniforms were complaining about the threads the Pac 10 champions wore while they were PLAYING FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

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After Stadium Practice, Better Idea of What Ravens Will Look Like in Preseason Opener

Posted on 06 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Following an annual open practice at M&T Bank Stadium in front of 24,078; fans will not have another opportunity to see the Baltimore Ravens again until their preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Sunday’s practice provided some clarity for Ravens fans however, as the team gave a look at would could be expected at various positions.

QUARTERBACK:

There’s of course no question as to who the team’s starting quarterback will be Thursday (Joe Flacco). But with starters not expected to play much in the opener, the retirement of 2010 backup Marc Bulger has left the Ravens with little experience behind him.

Rookie Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech) has worked as the team’s backup in Training Camp, and will be likely to get the most snaps Thursday night after Flacco departs. Following Taylor is Hunter Cantwell, a practice squad QB a year ago who is currently the team’s third stringer. Cantwell did VERY limited work in Saturday’s practice and appears to clearly be behind Taylor on the depth chart.

The team could still make a move to bring in a veteran backup before Thursday night, but it would be unlikely a new quarterback would get significant playing time as early as Thursday after limited practice.

RUNNING BACK:

Once again, the team has no questions as far as starters are concerned. 2009 Pro Bowl RB Ray Rice and 2010 Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach will patrol the backfield to open the game; but neither are expected to play significant time.

The RB position behind Rice is wide open at the moment. The most likely candidates to enter after Rice are Jalen Parmele and rookie Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech), who have each taken second team reps in practice. Parmele is more probable, but both are expected to see a number of plays.

Undrafted rookie Damien Berry (Miami) appears to be fourth on the RB depth chart at the moment, but should keep getting work. If the Ravens don’t add veteran depth at the position, he’s very much in the battle for a roster spot. The team also has undrafted rookie and Mervo grad Walter Sanders (St. Augustine) on the roster, he’ll likely see a few snaps in the second half of Thursday night’s contest as well.

The wild card in the group is veteran RB/ST Matt Lawrence, who missed all of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Lawrence has had very little participation in camp thus far (he did not practice Saturday), but would be expected to see playing time Thursday night if healthy.

Undrafted FB Ryan Mahaffey (Northern Iowa) could see snaps behind Leach.

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Morning Reaction NFL First Round Mock Draft

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Morning Reaction NFL First Round Mock Draft

Posted on 27 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

On Wednesday’s edition of “The Morning Reaction”, Drew Forrester and I did a full first round mock NFL Draft. Drew made the odd picks (starting with the Carolina Panthers at #1), I made the even picks (including the Baltimore Ravens at #26).

Here is how our first round went…

1. Carolina Panthers-Cam Newton (QB, Auburn)
2. Denver Broncos-Marcell Dareus (DT, Alabama)
dareus
3. Buffalo Bills-Blaine Gabbert (QB, Missouri)
4. Cincinnati Bengals-AJ Green (WR, Georgia)
5. Arizona Cardinals-Von Miller (LB, Texas A&M)

6. Cleveland Browns-Julio Jones (WR, Alabama)
7. San Francisco 49ers-Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU)
8. Tennessee Titans-Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn)
9. Dallas Cowboys-Robert Quinn (DE, North Carolina)
quinn
10. Washington Redskins-Aldon Smith (DE, Missouri)

11. Houston Texans-JJ Watt (DE, Wisconsin)
12. Minnesota Vikings-Tyron Smith (OT, USC)
13. Detroit Lions-Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska)
prince
14. St. Louis Rams-Corey Liuget (DT, Illinois)
15. Miami Dolphins-Mike Pouncey (OL, Florida)

16. Jacksonville Jaguars-Da’Quan Bowers (DE, Clemson)
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland)-Muhammad Wilkerson (DT, Temple)
18. San Diego Chargers-Cameron Jordan (DE, California)
19. New York Giants-Anthony Costanzo (OT, Boston College)
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Ryan Kerrigan (DE, Purdue)
ryankerrigan

21. Kansas City Chiefs-Nate Solder (OT, Colorado)
22. Indianapolis Colts-Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin)
23. Philadelphia Eagles-Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado)
jimmysmith
24. New Orleans Saints-Phil Taylor (DT, Baylor)
25. Seattle Seahawks-Marvin Austin (DT, North Carolina)

26. Baltimore Ravens-Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa)
clayborn
27. Atlanta Falcons-Torrey Smith (WR, Maryland)
torreysmith
28. New England Patriots-Martez Wilson (LB, Illinois)
29. Chicago Bears-Derrek Sherrod (OT, Mississippi State)
30. New York Jets-Cameron Heyward (DE, Ohio State)
31. Pittsburgh Steelers-Aaron Williams (CB, Texas)
32. Green Bay Packers-Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama)

If you missed our pick explanations Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, check the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Draft Season in Focus in Indianapolis for NFL Scouting Combine

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Draft Season in Focus in Indianapolis for NFL Scouting Combine

Posted on 23 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

The annual NFL Scouting Combine is underway at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. WNST.net will be live in Indy this weekend to provide coverage of the Combine.

Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest from the place our friend Merton likes to call “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest.” There will also be nearly day long coverage of the events in Indy throughout the weekend on NFL Network.

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)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (UConn)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal)
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)
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)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (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-A preview of players who will participate in this weekend’s 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
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

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

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vY06HXzEb0[/youtube]

When looking at Smith’s senior season in Boulder, it might seem odd that he didn’t record a single interception. But Smith was only thrown on about 20 times in man coverage during his senior campaign, so his opportunities were limited.

More impressive for Smith was that over his junior and senior seasons with the Buffaloes combined, he allowed just 11 receptions-only one of which was a first down. (He gave up one touchdown in his senior season.)

That lead Smith to gaining very deserved All-Big 12 honors.

The most appealing part of Smith’s candidacy as a first round pick is that he’s 6’2″, 205 pounds. That’s an ideal size for a potential shutdown corner in the National Football League.

The other appealing part about Smith is that he’s not afraid to tackle. He finished his Buffs career with 160 of them. Deion Sanders he’s not-at least through the first 22 years of his life.

Smith is likely going to be available when the Ravens pick at 26th. With Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington all expected to become unrestricted free agents, Smith could be a very intriguing possibility.

QB Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vHJTeM4S3I[/youtube]

Tyrod Taylor is not Michael Vick.

That being said, if I represented Tyrod Taylor I’d do my best to make sure the name Michael Vick was mentioned as much as possible during Draft season.

Taylor was certainly explosive at times during his career in Blacksburg. He was responsible for 67 career touchdowns (44 passing, 23 rushing) and thew for over 5,000 yards between his junior and senior seasons combined.

Hokies fans were frustrated by his decision making at times, and he certainly took advantage of lesser competition (572 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2010 came in back to back games against Duke and Wake Forest).

He’s 6’1″, 216 pounds and VERY quick (expected to clock in near 4.5 when he runs the 40). He has plenty of upside. He had a solid week at the Citrus Bowl during Shrine Game week. He plans on staying at quarterback, unlike fellow former Va Tech QB Marcus Vick-who was willing to try Wide Receiver during the Draft process.

He’s not likely to find his way into the fray any earlier than mid-Saturday. The Ravens aren’t likely to address the QB position before that point, as they will simply be looking for depth behind Joe Flacco in case free agent backup Marc Bulger departs.

It could be a fit. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be.

RB Jordan Todman (UConn)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucXw_CW2ov0[/youtube]

Todman might be too similar in size to current Ravens RB Ray Rice (he’s 5’9″, 193 pounds; Rice is 5’8″, 212 pounds) to be a true complement in the Charm City backfield, but that doesn’t mean he might not be an option.

The Ravens will still have the option of retaining FB Le’Ron McClain and using him as more of a compliment to Rice, which could enable them to find depth later on with a player like Todman.

Todman didn’t really play a Ray Rice-type role in the Huskies offense, either. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in both his junior and senior seasons, combining for 2,883 rushing yards and 28 TD’s between the two seasons. He caught just 40 passes in the same span.

Will his size allow for him to be a consistent runner at the next level? We’ll have to see. He’s smaller than Willis McGahee (who the Ravens are expected to let go), but he would bring fresher legs-and pottentially a fresher attitude.

Todman replaced a very good back in Donald Brown and more than lived up to the the standard. But despite winning Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors last season, he’s probably a late Friday night or early Saturday selection.

That might be around the time when General Manager Ozzie Newsome considers a RB.

S Ahmad Black (Florida)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MswzKgJ8DBc[/youtube]

What has made Ed Reed a future Hall of Fame safety in Baltimore has been the fact that he’s had a nose for the football.

It’s not the same level, but there’s no question Black had a nose for the football during his four seasons in Gainesville.

Black finished his Gators career with 13 interceptions (3 of which he returned for touchdowns) and two forced fumbles. He also collected 227 tackles and two sacks. I think it’s fair to use the word “playmaker” to describe him.

At 5’9″, 190 pounds; Black isn’t as big as Reed. With that in mind, he’s not really expected to be a free safety at the NFL level and play centerfield the way Reed does.

But with Dawan Landry a possibility to depart when free agency finally begins, the Ravens could use general depth at the position all around.

Black will go early. Perhaps too early for a team that still counts Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski as options at the position.

WR Jon Baldwin (Pitt)

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

His numbers over the last two seasons in Pittsburgh were very good but a bit short of earth shattering.

Between his junior and senior seasons, Baldwin caught 110 passes for 1,933 yards and 13 TD’s.

But there’s another number for Baldwin that is much more significant and makes him a likely first round pick after just three seasons at Heinz Field.

6’5″.

Baldwin’s unreal combination of size and speed (he’s believed to be able to post a sub 4.5 at the home of the Colts this weekend) makes him a potentially VERY dangerous downfield threat at the next level.

Interestingly enough, the Ravens need EXACTLY that type of receiver to complement Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason.

The question is now whether or not Baldwin sticks around to 26, or would it be worth it for John Harbaugh and company to try to move up to make sure they come away with him?

Not every tall, fast receiver selected early in the Draft has panned out and become a legitimate offensive superstar in the NFL. If the Ravens don’t walk away with Baldwin in the Draft, they’d still have free agency (should free agency ever actually happen) to consider addressing the need with a potential free agent like Minnesota Vikings WR Sidney Rice.

If he’s there at 26, I’d have to imagine it would be hard to pass up on him.

FB Owen Marecic (Stanford)

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

Two things to start. One-Marecic is NOT going to play both sides of the ball in the NFL the way he did with the Cardinal. Two-I know he’s white and he played for Jim Harbaugh in Palo Alto, but Marecic is NOT Toby Gerhart. The comparisons would be unfair.

With all of that said, Marecic is a VERY interesting prospect. He won the Paul Hornung Award in 2010 as the most versatile player in college football. In one game against Notre Dame, he ran for a TD and returned an INT for a TD within the span of 13 seconds.

Even without playing defense at the next level, the Ravens could certainly find ways to use his versatility. He’d be an immediate candidate to help Jerry Rosburg in Special Teams and would be truly valuable should Le’Ron McClain depart or be moved into more of a true halfback role.

Marecic certainly handled short yardage situations for Stanford, scoring 10 combined touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons on just 48 total touches.

John Harbaugh should know a thing or two about Marecic both from his brother and since his father (Jack Harbaugh) coached Marecic for a month in 2009 leading up to the Sun Bowl. He appears to be the exact type of football player would love, and should stay on the board until at least midway through the day Saturday.

LB Nate Irving (NC State)

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

After the Ravens selected Paul Kruger in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft, there was more discussion about Kruger overcoming a stabbing than there was about his actual football ability.

Should the Ravens select Irving this year, be prepared for a similar amount of discussion about things not related to football.

Irving missed the entire 2009 after a car accident that caused a number of serious injuries. Irving suffered a collapsed lung, broken rib, separated shoulder and a compound fracture in his leg and told reporters that summer he felt “blessed” to be alive.

Coach Tom O’Brien and the Wolfpack felt “blessed” to have him return to the football field in 2010, as he tallied 89 tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. He finished his NCSU career with 211 tackles, nine sacks, six forced fumbles and four interceptions.

There has been some question as to whether or not Irving (6’1″, 235 pounds) can play Inside Linebacker at the NFL level. There are also of course questions as to whether any of the Ravens’ trio of Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain can REALLY play ILB at the NFL level either.

And we all know Ray Lewis isn’t getting younger.

Irving is probably a Saturday selection, and teams will clearly be paying very close attention to the medical portion of his Combine participation this weekend. The Ravens have taken chances on players with red flags before, but after selecting Sergio Kindle last year, they might be a bit more guarded in their decision making.

DE J.J. Watt (Wisconsin)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QT2-mRCgX0[/youtube]

There’s no secret that new Defensive Coordinator DESPERATELY needs a true rush end, as the Ravens failed to find a complement for Terrell Suggs along the Defensive Line last year.

It’s also no secret that Watt is one of the top D-End prospects in the country, having collected 11 sacks and 36.5 TFL’s during his two seasons in Madison after transferring from Central Michigan.

Watt is a 6’6″, 292 pound monster who wrecked havoc on Big Ten passers during his two seasons with the Badgers. His 21 Tackles for Loss in 2009 resulted in 91 lost yards for opponents.

Does that sound like something the Ravens could use?

The good news for the Ravens is that there are a number of First Round DE prospects in this year’s Draft, including Ryan Kerrigan and Allen Bailey who we have already profiled. Given the number of DE prospects, there’s a chance a player like Watt could stay on the board until 26th, but it is no guarantee.

If Watt’s available, it would be very difficult for Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company to pass up on such a talented player at such a position of need.

C Kris O’Dowd (USC)

odowd

Southern Cal became a bit of an “Offensive Lineman U” during the Pete Carroll era, producing the likes of Ryan Kalil (Carolina Panthers), Sam Baker (Atlanta Falcons), Deuce Lutui (Arizona Cardinals), Winston Justice (Philadelphia Eagles) and more.

O’Dowd is the next in the line of Trojans lineman who is expected to make the transition to the NFL level.

He’s 6’4″, 303 pounds and was part of an O-Line that blocked for the 3rd leading rushing attack in the Pac 10 last season, behind just Oregon and Stanford. He made an immediate impact upon arriving in Malibu, becoming the first true freshman to start on the O-Line for USC since 1996.

Teams will be taking a particularly important look at O’Dowd medically in Indianapolis, as he battled knee and shoulder injuries during his college career. With Matt Birk expected to be playing in his final season in 2011, the Ravens could do well to spend a Saturday selection on a player like O’Dowd.

And if you’re at all concerned about O’Dowd off this field, this ESPN piece about his relationship with a young man named Jake Olson should probably ease those concerns…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhY4RnQLaOc[/youtube]

WR Greg Salas (Hawaii)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH94OG2Fcko[/youtube]

Salas’ numbers in 2010 were almost unreal.

The young man from Chino, California caught 119 balls for a ridiculous 1,889 yards and 14 TD’s for the Warriors as a senior. It wrapped up an amazing career in Honolulu that saw him catch 285 passes for 4,345 yards and 26 TD’s-the overwhelming majority of which came in his final three seasons.

Those numbers are amazing.

The problem with Salas is that there’s nothing about him in particular that would make him stand out in the Ravens’ receiving corps. He’s not terribly big (6’2″, 210 pounds) and isn’t lightning fast either (expected to post a 40 time in the mid 4.5′s in Indy).

With will-be free agents TJ Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth significant question marks to return, there’s no easy place to see Salas fitting in at the top with Boldin and Mason in Cam Cameron’s offense.

But the Ravens do need to find more receivers should Stallworth and Houshmandzadeh (and Marcus Smith who is also a free agent) depart. There is no doubt that Salas can catch the football. Should he stick around late into Saturday, he would have to be a player Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and company would want to consider.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

Comments Off

Draft Season in Focus in Indianapolis for NFL Scouting Combine

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Draft Season in Focus in Indianapolis for NFL Scouting Combine

Posted on 23 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

We’re just hours away from the start of the annual NFL Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. WNST.net will be live in Indy this weekend to provide coverage of the Combine.

Make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest from the place our friend Merton likes to call “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest.”

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)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (UConn)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal)
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)
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)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (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-A preview of players who will participate in this weekend’s 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
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

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

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vY06HXzEb0[/youtube]

When looking at Smith’s senior season in Boulder, it might seem odd that he didn’t record a single interception. But Smith was only thrown on about 20 times in man coverage during his senior campaign, so his opportunities were limited.

More impressive for Smith was that over his junior and senior seasons with the Buffaloes combined, he allowed just 11 receptions-only one of which was a first down. (He gave up one touchdown in his senior season.)

That lead Smith to gaining very deserved All-Big 12 honors.

The most appealing part of Smith’s candidacy as a first round pick is that he’s 6’2″, 205 pounds. That’s an ideal size for a potential shutdown corner in the National Football League.

The other appealing part about Smith is that he’s not afraid to tackle. He finished his Buffs career with 160 of them. Deion Sanders he’s not-at least through the first 22 years of his life.

Smith is likely going to be available when the Ravens pick at 26th. With Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington all expected to become unrestricted free agents, Smith could be a very intriguing possibility.

QB Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vHJTeM4S3I[/youtube]

Tyrod Taylor is not Michael Vick.

That being said, if I represented Tyrod Taylor I’d do my best to make sure the name Michael Vick was mentioned as much as possible during Draft season.

Taylor was certainly explosive at times during his career in Blacksburg. He was responsible for 67 career touchdowns (44 passing, 23 rushing) and thew for over 5,000 yards between his junior and senior seasons combined.

Hokies fans were frustrated by his decision making at times, and he certainly took advantage of lesser competition (572 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2010 came in back to back games against Duke and Wake Forest).

He’s 6’1″, 216 pounds and VERY quick (expected to clock in near 4.5 when he runs the 40). He has plenty of upside. He had a solid week at the Citrus Bowl during Shrine Game week. He plans on staying at quarterback, unlike fellow former Va Tech QB Marcus Vick-who was willing to try Wide Receiver during the Draft process.

He’s not likely to find his way into the fray any earlier than mid-Saturday. The Ravens aren’t likely to address the QB position before that point, as they will simply be looking for depth behind Joe Flacco in case free agent backup Marc Bulger departs.

It could be a fit. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be.

RB Jordan Todman (UConn)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucXw_CW2ov0[/youtube]

Todman might be too similar in size to current Ravens RB Ray Rice (he’s 5’9″, 193 pounds; Rice is 5’8″, 212 pounds) to be a true complement in the Charm City backfield, but that doesn’t mean he might not be an option.

The Ravens will still have the option of retaining FB Le’Ron McClain and using him as more of a compliment to Rice, which could enable them to find depth later on with a player like Todman.

Todman didn’t really play a Ray Rice-type role in the Huskies offense, either. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in both his junior and senior seasons, combining for 2,883 rushing yards and 28 TD’s between the two seasons. He caught just 40 passes in the same span.

Will his size allow for him to be a consistent runner at the next level? We’ll have to see. He’s smaller than Willis McGahee (who the Ravens are expected to let go), but he would bring fresher legs-and pottentially a fresher attitude.

Todman replaced a very good back in Donald Brown and more than lived up to the the standard. But despite winning Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors last season, he’s probably a late Friday night or early Saturday selection.

That might be around the time when General Manager Ozzie Newsome considers a RB.

S Ahmad Black (Florida)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MswzKgJ8DBc[/youtube]

What has made Ed Reed a future Hall of Fame safety in Baltimore has been the fact that he’s had a nose for the football.

It’s not the same level, but there’s no question Black had a nose for the football during his four seasons in Gainesville.

Black finished his Gators career with 13 interceptions (3 of which he returned for touchdowns) and two forced fumbles. He also collected 227 tackles and two sacks. I think it’s fair to use the word “playmaker” to describe him.

At 5’9″, 190 pounds; Black isn’t as big as Reed. With that in mind, he’s not really expected to be a free safety at the NFL level and play centerfield the way Reed does.

But with Dawan Landry a possibility to depart when free agency finally begins, the Ravens could use general depth at the position all around.

Black will go early. Perhaps too early for a team that still counts Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski as options at the position.

WR Jon Baldwin (Pitt)

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

His numbers over the last two seasons in Pittsburgh were very good but a bit short of earth shattering.

Between his junior and senior seasons, Baldwin caught 110 passes for 1,933 yards and 13 TD’s.

But there’s another number for Baldwin that is much more significant and makes him a likely first round pick after just three seasons at Heinz Field.

6’5″.

Baldwin’s unreal combination of size and speed (he’s believed to be able to post a sub 4.5 at the home of the Colts this weekend) makes him a potentially VERY dangerous downfield threat at the next level.

Interestingly enough, the Ravens need EXACTLY that type of receiver to complement Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason.

The question is now whether or not Baldwin sticks around to 26, or would it be worth it for John Harbaugh and company to try to move up to make sure they come away with him?

Not every tall, fast receiver selected early in the Draft has panned out and become a legitimate offensive superstar in the NFL. If the Ravens don’t walk away with Baldwin in the Draft, they’d still have free agency (should free agency ever actually happen) to consider addressing the need with a potential free agent like Minnesota Vikings WR Sidney Rice.

If he’s there at 26, I’d have to imagine it would be hard to pass up on him.

FB Owen Marecic (Stanford)

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

Two things to start. One-Marecic is NOT going to play both sides of the ball in the NFL the way he did with the Cardinal. Two-I know he’s white and he played for Jim Harbaugh in Palo Alto, but Marecic is NOT Toby Gerhart. The comparisons would be unfair.

With all of that said, Marecic is a VERY interesting prospect. He won the Paul Hornung Award in 2010 as the most versatile player in college football. In one game against Notre Dame, he ran for a TD and returned an INT for a TD within the span of 13 seconds.

Even without playing defense at the next level, the Ravens could certainly find ways to use his versatility. He’d be an immediate candidate to help Jerry Rosburg in Special Teams and would be truly valuable should Le’Ron McClain depart or be moved into more of a true halfback role.

Marecic certainly handled short yardage situations for Stanford, scoring 10 combined touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons on just 48 total touches.

John Harbaugh should know a thing or two about Marecic both from his brother and since his father (Jack Harbaugh) coached Marecic for a month in 2009 leading up to the Sun Bowl. He appears to be the exact type of football player would love, and should stay on the board until at least midway through the day Saturday.

LB Nate Irving (NC State)

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

After the Ravens selected Paul Kruger in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft, there was more discussion about Kruger overcoming a stabbing than there was about his actual football ability.

Should the Ravens select Irving this year, be prepared for a similar amount of discussion about things not related to football.

Irving missed the entire 2009 after a car accident that caused a number of serious injuries. Irving suffered a collapsed lung, broken rib, separated shoulder and a compound fracture in his leg and told reporters that summer he felt “blessed” to be alive.

Coach Tom O’Brien and the Wolfpack felt “blessed” to have him return to the football field in 2010, as he tallied 89 tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. He finished his NCSU career with 211 tackles, nine sacks, six forced fumbles and four interceptions.

There has been some question as to whether or not Irving (6’1″, 235 pounds) can play Inside Linebacker at the NFL level. There are also of course questions as to whether any of the Ravens’ trio of Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain can REALLY play ILB at the NFL level either.

And we all know Ray Lewis isn’t getting younger.

Irving is probably a Saturday selection, and teams will clearly be paying very close attention to the medical portion of his Combine participation this weekend. The Ravens have taken chances on players with red flags before, but after selecting Sergio Kindle last year, they might be a bit more guarded in their decision making.

DE J.J. Watt (Wisconsin)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QT2-mRCgX0[/youtube]

There’s no secret that new Defensive Coordinator DESPERATELY needs a true rush end, as the Ravens failed to find a complement for Terrell Suggs along the Defensive Line last year.

It’s also no secret that Watt is one of the top D-End prospects in the country, having collected 11 sacks and 36.5 TFL’s during his two seasons in Madison after transferring from Central Michigan.

Watt is a 6’6″, 292 pound monster who wrecked havoc on Big Ten passers during his two seasons with the Badgers. His 21 Tackles for Loss in 2009 resulted in 91 lost yards for opponents.

Does that sound like something the Ravens could use?

The good news for the Ravens is that there are a number of First Round DE prospects in this year’s Draft, including Ryan Kerrigan and Allen Bailey who we have already profiled. Given the number of DE prospects, there’s a chance a player like Watt could stay on the board until 26th, but it is no guarantee.

If Watt’s available, it would be very difficult for Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and company to pass up on such a talented player at such a position of need.

C Kris O’Dowd (USC)

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Southern Cal became a bit of an “Offensive Lineman U” during the Pete Carroll era, producing the likes of Ryan Kalil (Carolina Panthers), Sam Baker (Atlanta Falcons), Deuce Lutui (Arizona Cardinals), Winston Justice (Philadelphia Eagles) and more.

O’Dowd is the next in the line of Trojans lineman who is expected to make the transition to the NFL level.

He’s 6’4″, 303 pounds and was part of an O-Line that blocked for the 3rd leading rushing attack in the Pac 10 last season, behind just Oregon and Stanford. He made an immediate impact upon arriving in Malibu, becoming the first true freshman to start on the O-Line for USC since 1996.

Teams will be taking a particularly important look at O’Dowd medically in Indianapolis, as he battled knee and shoulder injuries during his college career. With Matt Birk expected to be playing in his final season in 2011, the Ravens could do well to spend a Saturday selection on a player like O’Dowd.

And if you’re at all concerned about O’Dowd off this field, this ESPN piece about his relationship with a young man named Jake Olson should probably ease those concerns…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhY4RnQLaOc[/youtube]

WR Greg Salas (Hawaii)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH94OG2Fcko[/youtube]

Salas’ numbers in 2010 were almost unreal.

The young man from Chino, California caught 119 balls for a ridiculous 1,889 yards and 14 TD’s for the Warriors as a senior. It wrapped up an amazing career in Honolulu that saw him catch 285 passes for 4,345 yards and 26 TD’s-the overwhelming majority of which came in his final three seasons.

Those numbers are amazing.

The problem with Salas is that there’s nothing about him in particular that would make him stand out in the Ravens’ receiving corps. He’s not terribly big (6’2″, 210 pounds) and isn’t lightning fast either (expected to post a 40 time in the mid 4.5′s in Indy).

With will-be free agents TJ Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth significant question marks to return, there’s no easy place to see Salas fitting in at the top with Boldin and Mason in Cam Cameron’s offense.

But the Ravens do need to find more receivers should Stallworth and Houshmandzadeh (and Marcus Smith who is also a free agent) depart. There is no doubt that Salas can catch the football. Should he stick around late into Saturday, he would have to be a player Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and company would want to consider.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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