NFL Draft ~ Baltimore Ravens

Christian Thompson eager to learn from Ed Reed

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OWINGS MILLS — Over dinner earlier this year at a Florida restaurant, Baltimore Ravens All-Pro free safety Ed Reed began schooling Christian Thompson on the various nuances of the NFL. The South Carolina State free safety talked football with the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, exchanging numbers and staying in touch throughout the draft process. "He told me to stay on top of my game," Thompson told the Times on Sunday in a telephone interview. "He told somebody is always trying to take your position from you and to...

Ravens fill holes through draft

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OWINGS MILLS — Huddled around general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh with cameras capturing the moment, the Baltimore Ravens’ top three draft picks donned purple team baseball caps and broke into big smiles. As outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and running back Bernard Pierce were introduced at team headquarters Saturday, the defending AFC North champions stuck to their strategy of reinforcing the depth of the roster. While Upshaw and Osemele will immediately compete for starting jobs at strongside linebacker and left guard and Pierce is...

Ravens forming undrafted rookie class

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OWINGS MILLS — Every year, the Baltimore Ravens are looking for the next Bart Scott, Jameel McClain, Mike Flynn or B.J. Sams. The quest to find good football players doesn’t stop when the seventh round of the NFL draft ends. "Even though we’re done collecting players with draft picks, this starts the process of the undrafted college free agents as soon as the draft is over," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Saturday night. "We’re putting that process in place right now, working with the coaches. The coaches and the...

Ravens select ‘Bama’s Courtney Upshaw

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Courtney Upshaw boarded a train from New York to Baltimore late Friday night, a short journey that delivered the latest defensive standout to the Baltimore Ravens’ roster. The Ravens were intent on upgrading a pass rush headlined by NFL Defensive Player of the Year outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. And they wanted to reinforce a run defense left with a gaping hole after the departure of gritty outside linebacker Jarret Johnson when he signed a $19 million contract with the San Diego Chargers. By drafting Upshaw, an imposing Alabama All-American outside...

Ravens draft Iowa State lineman Kelechi Osemele

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Months after Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs joined the New Orleans Saints via a $36 million contract, the Baltimore Ravens acquired an imposing potential replacement. The Ravens drafted Iowa State left offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele in the second round Friday night with the 60th overall pick with designs on having the mauling 6-foot-5, 333-pounder compete with Jah Reid for the starting left guard vacancy created by Grubbs’ departure. The Ravens will also evaluate the four-year starter at right offensive tackle, currently manned by Michael Oher, who has played left...

Ravens draft Temple running back Bernard Pierce in third round

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Maneuvering upward in the third round through a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens drafted bruising Temple junior running back Bernard Pierce. By sending their third-round draft pick, 91st overall, and a fifth-round pick, 164th overall, the Ravens went up seven spots to obtain their likely primary backup to Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice. Although Pierce will have to compete with Anthony Allen and Damien Berry, the ultra-productive 6-foot, 218-pounder immediately becomes the frontrunner to win the job and provide a physical presence behind the Ravens’ franchise...

Upshaw makes it to Baltimore, but hasn’t had a crab cake yet

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Courtney Upshaw was one of six players left in the Radio City Music Hall green room as the first round of the NFL draft concluded. Even though the Ravens took him with the 35th pick in the NFL draft, it was later than he anticipated. Upshaw’s journey as an NFL player got underway Saturday, as he boarded a train and headed to the Ravens complex in Owings Mills to be introduced to the media along with fellow 2nd round pick Kelechi Osemele (G-Iowa State) and third round pick Bernard Pierce...

Ravens trade out of first round again

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The Baltimore Ravens retreated out of the first round for the second time in three years, a strategy that provided them more ammunition in terms of draft picks and still allows them to potentially land one of their coveted prospects. It wasn’t a hasty move. It was a calculated reaction after the New England Patriots drafted two intriguing defensive players by maneuvering up to draft versatile Alabama middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower and Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, the younger brother of Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones Despite trading the 29th...

Hightower a punishing linebacker

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OWINGS MILLS — Dont’a Hightower bulldozed fullbacks, chased down swift running backs, bull-rushed hefty offensive tackles and led the Alabama defensive huddle with intelligence and leadership. It’s not hard to ascertain why the punishing Crimson Tide middle linebacker is so coveted by NFL teams. Hard-nosed, athletic and built for heavy contact at a sturdy 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, Hightower is capable of playing inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and as a situational pass rusher in the NFL. A two-time team captain, Hightower recorded 85 tackles, 11 for losses, four sacks...

IN SEARCH OF: Heir apparent to Ray Lewis

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The Baltimore Ravens are interested in bolstering the linebacker position in general. They also brought in Utah State inside linebacker Bobby Wagner and Cal inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks for visits to team headquarters and worked out North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown. All three are graded as potential second-round picks. Wagner is a four-year starter, two-time captain and a three-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection. He was voted the Most Outstanding Player on the North squad during the Senior Bowl with seven tackles (one for loss) and an interception and is graded...

Stephen Hill an interesting option

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens could be presented with an intriguing debate late Thursday night if Georgia Tech junior wide receiver Stephen Hill is still available when they’re on the clock. Hill is a rare kind of prospect, imposing and strong at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and also one of the fastest players in the draft with a 4.36 time in the 40-yard dash. Traditionally, a player with his kind of physical gifts wouldn’t be around for the Ravens’ 29th overall pick of the first round. There are more pressing...

Ravens full 2012 mock draft

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Round 1:  Dont’a Hightower (ILB) Alabama:  Though the Ravens almost pull the trigger on an offensive center or guard in round one, the depth at both of those positions, coupled with the lack of depth at inside linebacker in this draft, steers them to Hightower, an explosive defender with a high football IQ.  If Baltimore wants a young Will LB, who can contribute in some way immediately, then they will have to get one early, and Hightower is the best of the bunch. Round 2:  Ben Jones (C) Georgia:  Baltimore...

Ravens consider intriguing pass rushing prospects

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OWINGS MILLS — Ozzie Newsome has never forgotten the adage he learned from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick: “You can never have enough pass rushers.” It’s become an even more impactful statement for the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager as the NFL continues to trend toward a league that emphasizes passing the football. As the defending AFC North champions head into the draft Thursday night, bolstering the pass rush could be on their agenda. This fall, the NFL’s third-ranked defense from a year ago faces 11 quarterbacks who have been...

Shea McClellin on Ravens’ radar

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OWINGS MILLS — Boise State outside linebacker Shea McClellin is a rising draft prospect, one worth keeping in mind for the Baltimore Ravens’ first-round draft pick. McClellin visited or worked out for a total of 11 NFL teams. That included visits or workouts with the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns. Among the other teams that are logical fits for McClellin and believed to have interest in him: the Ravens, San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans,...

Offensive line a likely focus in the draft

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OWINGS MILLS — Joe Flacco rarely hit the dirt last season, sacked roughly twice per game. And Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice bolted for a career-high 1,364 rushing yards and a dozen touchdown runs. There were instances, though, where the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line was unable to budge big defensive linemen in the red zone and Flacco was under duress. And the departure of Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs via free agency to the New Orleans Saints represents a significant talent drain. Grubbs was the Ravens’ top all-around blocker....

Ravens draft history, Part 3 – The Harbaugh era

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This is Part 3 of a three-part series examining the history of the Baltimore Ravens’ strategy and results in the NFL Draft. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, click here and here. In Part 3, we look at the Ravens’ drafts to date under head coach John Harbaugh. 2008 The Ravens held the eighth pick. Perhaps it was time for a payback for 2003, back when the Jags grabbed Leftwich and put the Ravens into their own five years of QB hell. The Ravens traded pick #8 and got...

Columbia native Zach Brown works out for Ravens

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OWINGS MILLS — University of North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown has worked out for the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. The former Wilde Lake standout and Columbia native has visited the Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions and the New York Jets. An All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, Brown is one of the most athletic players in the draft. The 6-foot-1, 244-pounder ran the 40-yard in 4.50 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, improving that time to 4.48 seconds at his campus Pro Day workout. Brown had a 33...

Ravens keeping up on Georgia’s Jones

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OWINGS MILLS — University of Georgia center Ben Jones has worked out for the Baltimore Ravens. The All-Southeastern Conference blocker visits the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. Jones has also had private workouts with the Eagles, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals and the St. Louis Rams. "They like that I’m a smart player that knows the offense," Jones said in a telephone interview. "I was a leader in college. I’m definitely able to communicate and make all the checks. That’s a vital part of what we...

Oregon State DB Brandon Hardin visits Ravens

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OWINGS MILLS — Oregon State defensive back Brandon Hardin has a total of 15 visits and is regarded as a rising draft prospect after being sidelined last season due to undergoing surgery on his left shoulder. Hardin has visited the Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and the Chicago Bears. He has several upcoming visits. Hardin is projected as a third-round or fourth-round draft target by draft analysts. The 6-foot-2, 216-pounder played in the East-West Shrine all-star game in January. Hardin ran the 40-yard dash...

Ravens draft history, Part 2 – The Billick era

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This is Part 2 of a three-part series examining the history of the Baltimore Ravens’ strategy and results in the NFL Draft. If you missed Part 1, click here. In Part 2, we look at the Ravens’ drafts under head coach Brian Billick. 1999 The Ravens again have the tenth pick and again they stand pat to draft a cornerback, this one having much better value than Starks – Chris McAlister. McAlister was selected three picks after the Redskins took Champ Bailey, a future Hall of Famer at the same...
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