The Ravens signed 14 players who took part in rookie minicamps the previous week, and those guys all now hope that they can make enough impact to earn a spot on the team.
One of those players is Jeff Braun, an offensive lineman from West Virginia. Jeff didn’t get drafted, but he now hopes that he can find a home with the Ravens’ organization.
Though Braun is listed as a guard in most places, he shared with me that he isn’t limited to playing guard, but could end up playing center, or even tackle. Below is my full interview with Braun, who is trying to make the team not just as a guard, but as an overall offensive lineman.
Joe Wedra: Who notified you that you were going to get a chance to sign as a UDFA, and what did they say?
Jeff Braun: I spoke with Coach Moeller the week of the draft. In the seventh round he called me and said he didn’t know who they were going to draft with their last picks but said he would call back right after. I got a call back and he said congratulations you are a Raven.
JW: Where were you when you found out and what was your reaction?
JB: I was with my family and my uncle’s house in Manchester, MD. I was just relieved that the draft process was over and I finally had an opportunity to go and prove my worth. My family was very happy that I can come back home for now.
JW: Coach Harbaugh has said that you have looked good, and he thinks you can make it in the NFL. What are you going to do to impress the coaches and try to earn a spot on the team?
JB: First and foremost I have to learn the system and show them through practice I can make the calls and from there, when the pads come on, I need to produce. I need to make those blocks and pass protect and show I am a good Offensive Lineman.
JW: You know that being undrafted puts you as an underdog. What are your current goals going into this opportunity?
JB: Take it step by step. First was minicamp and now comes OTAs. I needed to make a good first impression which I think I did. Once training camp comes around I need to make the most of my opportunities with limited reps and prove I can make the 53 man roster.
JW: Did you have any other offers? If so, who and what is special about the Baltimore Ravens that you chose to come here?
JB: I had a list prior to the draft for free agency and Baltimore was number 1. I can play center which is where they played me at minicamp. I can play guard and I can play tackle. It was about where the best fit was and I know the Ravens organization keep their best players whether drafted or free agent.
JW: Have you talked to coaches about what your possible roles will be? If so, what have they said?
JB: No I have not. Right now it is about improving my technique.
JW: Is it true that you grew up a Ravens fan? If so, who was your favorite player and why?
JB: I did grow up a Ravens fan. I am from Westminster, so I have been to many training camps and tried to watch and learn as a young player. My favorite player was The Goose. I loved how he played and his personality off the field.
JW: Who do you compare yourself to, and why?
JB: I really wouldn’t compare myself to anyone. I try to blend myself out of what every offensive lineman should be. I want to be a cerebral player and understand the defense and what we are trying to do as an offense. I want to be a technician and a master of my craft. And finally I want to bring a nastiness to the table and play the way an Offensive Lineman should play.