The Baltimore Ravens needed to have a successful showing in the 2013 NFL Draft in order to maintain a championship-caliber roster while still building for the future.
They did just that!
They found two instant starters on the defensive side in safety Matt Elam and Arthur Brown. They also added defensive tackle Brandon Williams and John Simon, who both figure to contribute heavily in a rotational role this season.
All 10 draft picks figure to make the final 53-man roster, and there could be room for an undrafted free agent signee or two. Right after the draft ended, the Ravens delved into the pool of undrafted free agents and were able to sign players who could either make the final roster or practice squad.
Last year, undrafted free agents Justin Tucker and Deonte Thompson made the final roster for the Ravens and both contributed, particularly Tucker, who was a vital part of the team’s Super Bowl run.
Nathan Stanley, QB, Southeastern Louisiana – a developmental quarterback with great size at 6’4, but he was exposed at the East-West Shrine Game and Casino Del Sol All Star Game, so possible upside would be the only thing that could keep him around.
Trent Steelman, QB/WR, Army – after playing quarterback at Army, he’s working on transitioning to wide receiver in the NFL. A quick, shifty guy who brings all the character a player could bring, so his determination to contribute on special teams could lead to a practice squad spot.
Ray Holley, RB/WR, Louisiana Tech – the 5’8 pure athlete may have the greatest chance to at least make the practice squad or roster of any player the team signed. A running back with great vision who averaged 5.2 yards per carry last season and ran a 4.56 40-yard dash. He has a small, compact frame and can also be a receiving option out of the backfield. (see video below)
Omarius Hines, RB/WR/TE, Florida – one of the most underused players in all of college football over the past four years. In 2012, Hines averaged 10.5 yards per reception and 8.0 yards per carry, but only had 20 carries. If the Ravens are creative enough with him, they’ll find that he can be a valuable asset.
Gerard Shepard, WR, Towson – the local product is 6’2, 215 pounds and runs a 4.45 40-yard dash, but was still developing as a receiver during his final season at Towson. His ideal build and athleticism could intrigue the Ravens and could lead to him sticking around for the duration of training camp to see if he develops.
Murphy Holloway, ATH, Ole Miss – the 6’7 athlete played basketball at Ole Miss and averaged 14.5 points per game last season. He hasn’t played football since high school, but he figures to give tight end a shot in the NFL.
Perry Jones, RB, Virginia – he shows a quick burst out of the backfield and is a valuable receiving option (49 catches for 397 yards in 2012), but a crowded group of talented running backs currently on the roster plus the additions of Holley and Hines may prevent Jones from lasting too long.
Matt Furstenburg, TE, Maryland – adding Furstenburg seemed inevitable, as the Ravens value local players in the free agency period. He shows effort as a blocker and could develop into the team’s third tight end. (pictured)
Rogers Gaines, OT, Tennessee State – a large player at 6’6, 334 pounds. Earned a draftable grade from NFL.com. With depth uncertainty at both tackle positions, Gaines has a chance to at least make the practice squad.
Jeff Braun, OL, West Virginia – the Winters Mill graduate projects as a guard in the NFL. He’s a strong player and was an All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2012.
Jordan Devey, OL, Memphis – did not play football in high school but started every game for Memphis during his career. At 6’7, 317 pounds, he figures to play tackle in the NFL and could be worth it as a developmental player.
Will Pericak, DE, Colorado – figures to fit as a 3-4 defensive end with the Ravens in order to make an impact during training camp. Was worked out by Ravens assistant coach Juan Castillo at his pro day, so the writing was on the wall for him to possibly join the team.
Brandon Copeland, DE/OLB, Penn – a three-time All-Ivy defensive end who recorded 11 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss during his career. The Sykesville, Md., native has good size at 6’3, 280 pounds and may have the best chance to stick around of the defensive prospects.
Moe Lee, CB, Utah – stands tall at 6’1 and was the top cover corner for the Utes last season. Had success against some of the better Pac 12 receivers.
Gary Walker, FS, Idaho – an All-WAC first-team selection who recorded 99 tackles last season. A thin depth chart at free safety could open the door for him to prove himself.
Brynden Trawick, SS, Troy – a physically imposing player who has a well-built 6’2, 221 pound frame. Was an All-Sun Belt Conference first-team selection in 2012 and could contribute on special teams.
Jose Cheeseborough, CB, Florida International – started every game from 2010-2012 and recorded an interception, had five pass breakups and 54 tackles.
The list of signings by the Ravens is courtesy of NE Patriots Draft, one of the most extensive databases for undrafted free agent signings, and BaltimoreBeatDown.com