Tag:Baltimore Ravens
Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:14 am
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McAdoo, King, Wilson, Mace sign deals

The NFL's supplemental draft came and went Monday with Terrelle Pryor being the only one of the six eligible players to get drafted.

Since, three others have signed NFL free agent contracts. Another has signed with the IFL. Only former Western Carolina cornerback Torez Jones remains without a deal to play for a professional team.

Michael McAdoo signed with the Baltimore Ravens a day after the draft. He had been pursued by a few teams, but surprised clubs by showing up to pre-draft team visits in the neighborhood of 230 pounds. McAdoo had been listed by North Carolina at 6-7, 245 pounds. The former defensive end will be asked to play outside linebacker for Baltimore.

Caleb King signed with the Minnesota Vikings yesterday (Wednesday). Like McAdoo, King surprised teams with his build -- and not necessarily in a good way. He appeared to be "out of shape" according to Tom Pellisero and dropped two passes in his practice debut with the club. King had been viewed by some as a potential draft pick, until being clocked at only 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash in a pre-draft workout.

Perhaps the most interesting signing is Wilson, who was signed yesterday by the New York Jets. Wilson, 6-2, 203 pounds, didn't receive much in terms of pre-draft buzz due to a "pro-day" workout that some teams characterized as "not NFL caliber." The Jets clearly didn't agree and it is difficult to argue with Wilson's success at Northern Illinois. He posted 171 tackles over the past three years for the Huskies, recovering four fumbles and intercepting a pass during that time, as well.

There was a lot of buzz, on the other hand, about Mace. While Mace did generate some interest from clubs prior to and following the draft, it was discovered that he could not sign with an NFL team due to a pre-existing contract with the UFL. Mace has signed with the Omaha Nighthawks, as first reported via Twitter by the team's general manager Rick Mueller. Mueller had worked previously in the NFL, serving as a scout and college scouting director with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1994-2000) before moving on to be the Director and later Vice President of Player Personnel with the New Orleans Saints (2000-2008). 
Posted on: May 14, 2011 4:46 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- Cornerbacks

Over the last week and a half I have been highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

Here are the links for the other positions:
Perhaps not surprising considering that I had LSU's Patrick Peterson as the No. 1 player in this draft, I was higher on this year's cornerback class, as a whole, than most. The three corners taken in the first round deserved to be so -- and that isn't always the case. Kareem Jackson (Texans), Kyle Wilson (Jets) and Patrick Robinson (Saints) were all selected in the first round last year and struggled as rookies. I don't believe this year's first round class will experience the same growing pains.

The 2011 corner class, however, wasn't just talented up top. There were a few middle round fits that I believe could pay off quickly, as well. A couple of other fits that I liked, but didn't make the final cut below were the Chargers plucking Shareece Wright in the third round, the Panthers, Chiefs, and Packers adding Brandon Hogan, Jalil Brown and Davon House, respectively in the fourth round.

Players are listed alphabetically.

Quality Fits:

Prince Amukamara, New York Giants: The day before the draft I started hearing rumors that Amukamara could slip out of the 13. Detroit, at No. 13, had previously been the furthest most thought the All-American would slide. I didn't understand it. I remain an Amukamara fan and love the fit in New York. His length, strength and speed will serve him well and he'll have the advantage of playing behind a disruptive pass rush. One of the reasons for Amukamara slipping, I've been told, is that as scouts watched more tape, they saw returning senior Alfonzo Dennard making just as many impressive plays as Amukamara.

Rashad Carmichael, Houston Texans: I could have just as easily listed the Texans' second pick -- former Miami cornerback Brandon Harris -- in this space, as I like both selections. Like Harris, Carmichael is a good -- but not elite -- athlete who projected nicely as a zone cornerback due to his instincts and tackling. Houston, you had a problem. In drafting Harris and Carmichael (and hiring Wade Philllips as defensive coordinator), the problem is being fixed. 

Chris Culliver, San Francisco 49ers: Having evolved from wide receiver to free safety to cornerback throughout his career, Culliver enters the NFL still learning the intricacies of the position. He is an impressive athlete who had been enjoying a solid first starting season at cornerback after having earned Second Team All-SEC honors (behind Eric Berry) in 2009. A torn pectoral ended his senior season after only eight games, however. Culliver also is a standout special teamer (South Carolina record 2,464 career kick return yards). I projected the 49ers taking a cornerback in the first round in my 2012 early mock. Culliver is a little raw, but he is an ascending talent who could allow the team to look elsewhere.

Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals:
The fact is, Peterson was my top-rated player in the 2011 draft, so the fact that he "fell" to the Cardinals at No. 5 already makes him a rare value. Value doesn't necessarily equate to schematic fit in some cases, but it does in this one. The Cardinals ask their cornerbacks to play a lot of press man coverage, which is Peterson's strength. With another premier talent opposite him in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a starting-caliber corner in Greg Toler slipping inside to nickel, the Cardinals' secondary is formidable. Against the relatively weak passing games in the NFC West, Peterson is all the more likely to impress early.

Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens: Say what you will about Smith's off-field issues, the man can flat play some football. Smith's length, physicality and speed make him an ideal press corner. Smith also gets the advantage of going to a very good defense. He turned some off when boastfully praising his own ball skills to that of Nnamdi Asomugha. With this defense forcing wild throws, Smith might very well get the opportunity to prove his playmaking ability.


Questionable Fit:

Demarcus Van Dyke, Oakland Raiders: In all honesty, it isn't fair to characterize Van Dyke as a poor schematic fit, as he certainly possesses the size (6-1, 176) and straight-line speed (4.25) that Al Davis has always placed a premium on at cornerback. "DVD" as he was called at Miami, obviously has a unique combination of size and speed, but he rarely demonstrated the physicality, toughness and technique while with the Hurricanes to stand out. As such, I and scouts I've spoken with, thought that Van Dyke was a significant reach at No. 81. Quite frankly, I believe that the Raiders will ultimately be more pleased with the play of 4th round pick, Chimdi Chekwa (No. 113 overall), than they will with Van Dyke, taken in the third. At that point in the draft, I belive the stakes were too high to make this gamble.

Posted on: April 18, 2011 10:32 am
 

Baltimore Ravens Draft Preview

BALTIMORE RAVENS

  2010 record: 12-4, second place AFC North

2011 draft rundown

  Nine total picks (round): 26 (1), 58 (2), 90 (3), 123 (4), 164 (5), 165 (5), 180 (6), 191 (6), 225 (7) 

Top needs:

  Wide Receiver: QB Joe Flacco would like a speedy target outside, as Derrick Mason won't be around forever and "Housh" doesn't stretch the field across from Anquan Boldin.

  Offensive Tackle: Ozzie Newsome could select a left or right tackle, depending on what coaches want to do with Michael Oher and assuming Marshal Yanda returns to guard.

  Cornerback: Team has plenty of nickel/number two corners, needs reliable starter with size to take on opponents' top receiver.

  Linebacker: Finding a pass rusher to take pressure off Terrell Suggs may be on the team's radar.

  Center: Matt Birk will retire soon and Chris Chester is a free agent.

  Safety: Ed Reed is still a playmaker but has had injuries and is getting older, SS Dawan Landry could be free agent.

First round focus

  26th overall

  --The Ravens are in a relatively good position because they should have multiple ways to meet a need with their first round pick. A talented front-seven prospect, either at defensive end or linebacker, could be available. If one of the top offensive tackles is available to GM Ozzie Newsome at 26, he may find a bookend partner for Michael Oher because of there is a drop-off of talent after the early second round. Finding a speed threat at receiver is another consideration, and keeping former Terp Torrey Smith in-state could help QB Joe Flacco stretch the field effectively. 

Five names on Ravens' board

  --CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
  --WR Torrey Smith, Maryland
  --OLB Brooks Reed, Arizona
  --DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
  --OLB Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh 

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Posted on: March 12, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 5:01 pm
 

29 teams attend rare Saturday Pro Day at Arizona

Proving the intrigue developing around an underrated senior class of prospects from the University of Arizona, 29 NFL teams were represented at the Wildcats' Pro Day, Saturday.

Typically, Pro Days are reserved for the normal work week. But with the buzz being created by Brooks Reed and his fellow pass rushers, Ricky Elmore and De'Aundre Reed, who were also invited to the Combine, plenty of NFL personnel men showed up Saturday. 

It was a senior not invited to the Combine, however, who best took advantage of the opportunity to workout in front of NFL personnel, however.

Running back Nic Grigsby was clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash by one league source I spoke to following Saturday's workout. The scout also noted that the 5-11, 199 pound Grigsby had a 43" vertical jump, which would have led all Combine participants this year.

Grigsby's athleticism does translate onto the football field. His lateral agility and explosiveness have made him a big play threat for the Wildcats throughout his career. Unfortunately, his thin build caused him to struggle with injuries throughout his career, as well. In fact, he played only one full season with the Wildcats, earning Honorable Mention all-conference honors in 2008 with 1,153 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Since his breakout sophomore season, Grigsby finished with 567 and 569 yards each of the past two years, respectively.

Considering that Reed enjoyed one of the Combine's best overall performances , it wasn't surprising to hear that he elected to sit on his numbers from Indianapolis. He did, however, perform defensive line and linebacker drills in front of scouts and coaches, Saturday, including Jacksonville defensive line coach Joe Cullen and Cleveland linebackers coach Bill Davis.

Considering the hype he's getting as a potential late first round pick, Reed's production at Arizona wasn't staggering. In starting all 13 games for the Wildcats, Reed registered 47 tackles and ten tackles for loss. He only had 6.5 sacks, however. That said, a strong Senior Bowl and an impressive workout that provided evidence that he might be able to handle the transition to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme has his stock soaring.

According to a source close to him, Reed has already scheduled private workouts with the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills -- each of whom, of course, run the 3-4.

The 6-4, 255 pound Elmore was clocked at 4.80 in the 40-yard dash on Saturday. Elmore led the Wildcats with 11 sacks last season as a defensive end. While his time in the 40-yard dash was better today than at the Combine (4.88-5.0 on his two attempts), teams are still going to have a tough time moving him to outside linebacker at that speed. His best bet might be to remain as a 4-3 defensive end.

Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Virtual Who's Who of NFL expected at Miami ProDay

Though the top Hurricane prospects invited to the Combine -- cornerback Brandon Harris, defensive lineman Allen Bailey, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, linebacker Colin McCarthy, offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, running back Graig Cooper and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, among them -- aren't expected to perform the measurables at today's Pro Day, a virtual Who's Who of NFL personnel is expected to be hand to see them perform their positional drills.

Head coaches Bill Belichick, Jack Del Rio, Tony Sparano, Mike Tomlin and Raheem Morris and high ranking front office personnel Gene Smith (Jaguars), Jeff Ireland (Dolphins), Kevin Colbert (Steelers) and Mark Dominik (Bucs), among many others are expected to attend this morning's workouts, according to Miami's official athletic website . According to Hurricanes' staff, 29 of the 32 NFL teams will be represented, with only the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans not on the list. The Patriots have the largest contingent in Miami, with no less than seven representatives having checked in.

Interestingly enough, the Ravens and Jets have their wide receiver coaches on hand (Jim Hostler, Henry Ellard, respectively). Each club is thought to be high on Hankerson and may be considering the Miami receiver with their first round pick.

There are also a host of former Miami stars on hand to watch the workout, including Warren Sapp, Bernie Kosar, Willis McGahee, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and DJ Williams.

Keep NFLDraftScout.com refreshed for updates as we get them.

 
Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:07 pm
 

SEA win should (but won't) quiet playoff re-seeds

As the only sub-.500 division winner in NFL history, the Seattle Seahawks entered the playoffs largely as a joke, at least to many.

The idea that they'd be rewarded for their 7-9 regular season record with a home playoff game rankled some. Critics pointed to Seattle as a primary example of why the NFL should consider re-seeding the playoffs based in wins, rather than division titles.

One might argue, as I, Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter (and many others) did on Twitter yesterday that the Seahawks' victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints would end the discussion. By convincingly winning a game in which many of the national experts predicted Seattle would be slaughtered, it would serve to reason that the NFL's policy of rewarding division winners with a home playoff game, is indeed, working.

Critics maintain, however, that Seattle's win over New Orleans, could, in fact, have the opposite effect. They argue that New Orleans, due to their significantly better record (11-5) while playing in the more competitive NFC South division deserved the right to host the game. That Seattle, essentially, got an unfair advantage and if Saturday's divisional playoff game would have ended quite differently had the game been played in New Orleans.

There are elements to their argument that I understand. The Saints' regular season was unquestionably more deserving of recognition than the Seahawks'. Critics who feel that the NFL should consider re-seeding can point to Seattle, the 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs (who host the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens today) and countless other teams in history as "proof" that the NFL's playoff system needs fixing.

However, if the Seahawks' win Saturday doesn't convince critics that the NFL is right to continue their playoff system, I don't know what would. I don't believe anything would.

Isn't it obvious that if Seattle had been throttled by the Saints Saturday (as so many expected) that playoff critics would have pointed to the lopsided score as evidence the Seahawks didn't deserve to be in the playoffs, much less host a game? Hell, even if Seattle had lost despite giving a "surprisingly" competitive effort, that those same critics would give a collective, "See, we told you so."

And now, because Seattle did win the game, they still don't deserve it?

Pick a side. You can't have it both ways. 

There remains a lot that needs fixing in the NFL -- the rookie wage scale, the miniscule pension provided to retired players, and the ridiculously long review policy among them.

The NFL playoff seeding is one of the league's longest standing traditions. The system makes divisional games mean more than others, creating and maintaining natural rivalries that are good for the competitiveness of the game.  To change the seeding based on the NFC West winner's 7-9 record is a bad idea.

To change it now, after Seattle (like many other division winners in the past) took advantage of the spoils of their title and beat a wildcard team, would be a slap in the face to the traditions and competitiveness that makes the NFL the world's greatest sporting league.

Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Focus was on Mallett, but Heyward stole the show

NFL scouts watching last night's Sugar Bowl may have tuned in primarily to watch Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett play in what is widely expected to be his final collegiate game, but a funny thing happened along the way -- Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward stole the show.

Heyward was dominant, lining at RDE, LDE and defensive tackle and beating virtually every blocker the Razorbacks put in front of him, including All-SEC offensive tackle DeMarcus Love, a potential first round pick.

Heyward, the son of the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, played inspired football last night on the same field in which his father had once starred at fullback for the New Orleans Saints. Ironhead succumbed to a long battle with brain cancer and passed away in May of 2006 at the age of 39.

After a breakout junior season in which young Heyward registered 46 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks while earning Second Team All Big-Ten honors, expectations were high. Heyward's production in 2010 was similar in tackles (42) and tackles for loss (10) but with only 2.5 sacks on the season, many characterized his regular season as a disappointment. Big Ten coaches certainly did not, as they voted Heyward to the First-Team all-conference team.

Against the Razorbacks, however, Heyward was a terror, registering six tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. On numerous other occasions, his rare combination of burst upfield, stellar strength and recognition forced Arkansas ball-carriers to alter their running, presenting Buckeye teammates with easy tackles near the line of scrimmage.

Heyward lacks the burst off the edge that teams operating out of the 4-3 defense are looking for in a first round defensive end. However, with enough burst to occassionally surprise pass blockers, an effective swim move and most importantly excellent size and strength, Heyward rates as one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the draft.

Considering that roughly half of the NFL listed the 3-4 scheme as their base defense this season, there should be plenty of suitors for Heyward early in the draft - including the Baltimore Ravens - who I currently project as taking Heyward in the first round.

Posted on: December 10, 2010 1:35 pm
 

Rare opportunity to scout QB Pat Devlin tonight

Pat Devlin , NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated senior quarterback, gets a rare national television opportunity tonight when he and his Delaware teammates take on New Hampshire in the FCS quarterfinals.

Devlin originally signed with Penn State out of high school but transferred to Delaware after being beaten out for the Nittany Lions' starting job by Daryll Clark.

Devlin has starred for the Blue Hens since the transfer, immediately emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in Colonial Athletic Association in 2009 and earning the CAA Offensive Player of the Year award this season despite being hampered by a broken bone in his left (non-throwing) wrist. The injury limited Devlin in several contests and sidelined him against Duquesne.

Devlin's numbers aren't gaudy (2,414 passing yards and 18 TDs) despite the fact that he operates out of a QB-friendly spread attack for the Blue Hens. However, his 67.8% completion rate and only two interceptions this season certainly catch your attention. Scouts like his mobility, smarts and accuracy in the short to intermediate range but know that Delaware's scheme protects him.

Considering the inconsistencies of Washington's Jake Locker and Florida State's Christian Ponder this season, Devlin could make a push up the board with a strong performance in this game and in any all-star games he's invited to.

The all-star games, in fact, will likely make or break Devlin's chances at breaking into the first three rounds of the draft. There, scouts will ask Devlin to operate out of a pro-style offense that will force him to make the multiple reads and throw the deeper passes through tighter windows that he'll face at the NFL level.

Devlin is often compared to Joe Flacco, who preceded him at Delaware. The comparison is a pretty lazy one. Devlin is shorter, slighter and more athletic. He relies on timing and accuracy to complete his throws -- quite the opposite of the Ravens' 6-6, 238 pound strong-armed Flacco.

This game will be televised by ESPN2 and begins at 8:00 pm EST.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com