The Ravens will have the option of an extra player on their practice squad this season as German fullback Chris Ezeala was awarded to them as part of the International Player Pathway program.
The initiative began last year and is designed to give a small group of international players the opportunity to compete at the NFL level. Ezeala will be on the preseason roster with Baltimore then having the option to place him on the practice squad during the regular season if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster. As a special exemption for the normal 10-man developmental squad, he would be ineligible to be activated during the season.
Ezeala, 22, played fullback and linebacker in the German Football League for the Ingolstadt Dukes and began playing the sport for the Munich Rangers and Allgäu Comets. He and seven other international players have been training alongside other NFL players and draft hopefuls in Florida for the past three months, working with a group of coaches that included former Ravens running back Earnest Byner and former Ravens defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson
“My coaches told me that while there are many linebackers like me in the NFL, there is no fullback that is so athletic and fast,” Ezeala said in a press release. “They are trying to create a new type of player with me.”
Ezeala has typical fullback size at 5-foot-11 and 243 pounds, but his 40-yard dash time really stands out as he completed the run in 4.54 seconds, according to the Ravens official website.
In other Tuesday roster news, the Ravens claimed former Cleveland defensive back Kai Nacua off waivers. The 2017 rookie free agent from Brigham Young appeared in all 16 games for the Browns as a rookie, making three starts and collecting 14 tackles.