For front office executives in the NFL, scouting and preparing for the NFL draft every year is an endless task, so it’s no surprise that Ozzie Newsome & Co. have already met with over a dozen prospects in this year’s draft. Visits can be driven by the need to learn more about the person inside the uniform or to address medical concerns.
Let’s take a look at the offensive prospects who appear to have hit the Ravens radar screen leading up to the upcoming scouting combines.
OG- Gabe Jackson- Mississippi State- (Proj. Round: 2nd round)- After being a four-year starter at Left Guard (52 starts), two 2nd Team All-SEC selections (2011 and 2012) and a 1st Team All-SEC selection in 2013, the 6-4, 340 pound native of Liberty, Mississippi is going into the combine as one of the top OL prospects in this year’s draft class. The 22-year-old (23 in July) is very quick and agile on the line, has great size and strength and is rock solid in pass protection ( Didn’t allow a single sack in 2012) along with being an absolutely dominating mauler in the run blocking department.
OT- Kevin Graf-USC- (Proj. Round: Late round prospect (5-7)- The Agoura Hills, California native was a three-year starter at RT for the Trojans (2011-2013) and the 22-year-old (23 in June) capped off his solid collegiate career with an All-Pac 12 honorable mention in 2013. At 6-6/295, Graf has a solid size/strength combo and is durable (39 straight starts) but his average athleticism will put him in the day 3 category. He does have a lot of the skills you look for in a RT, so he could be a name to keep an eye on in the later rounds this year.
OG- Christopher Burnette-Georgia-(Proj. Round: 7th round)- A very underrated member of the Bulldogs, the 22-year-old (23 in April) native of LaGrange, Georgia was a three-year starter at RG in Athens, making 37 starts while earning a 2nd Team All-SEC selection in the coaches poll in 2012 and a spot on the 2013 Outland Trophy Award watch list. The 6-2, 314 pound Burnette is a very smart football player (Literally- He graduated HS with a 5.0 GPA) who is experienced and plays tough. Known as a class act, he’s the type of player you hope hears his name being called in the spring.
C- Tyler Larsen- Utah State-(Proj. Round: 5th round)- A four-year starter at Center for the Aggies, the Salt Lake City, Utah native ended his decorated collegiate career with two 1st Team All-WAC selections (2011 and 2012) and a 1st Team All-MWC selection in 2013. The 22-year-old (23 in July) also earned a spot on the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Trophy watch list in 2013. At 6-4 and 312 pounds, Larsen is quick and athletic, while proving that he can do well in run blocking and pass protection. Definitely keep an eye this Aggie leading up to the draft.
TE- Jacob Pederson- Wisconsin-(Proj. Round: 6th round)- This 22-year-old from Menominee, Michigan could be a perfect fit in Gary Kubiak’s system. In 2013, the 6-5, 240 pound Badger set career highs in catches (39) and yards (551) with 3 TD’s and ended his career at Madison with 104 catches for 1,394 yards (13.4 avg) and set the school record for most TD’s by a TE with 17. A two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention selection in 2012 and 2013, Pederson shows great receiving skills and could have a bright future as an H-Back in the NFL, showing good hands and speed while holding his own in the blocking game. Needless to say, he has a high upside and could be a real steal in this year’s draft.
WR Kevin Norwood-Alabama-(Proj. Round: 6th round)- A two-year starter for the Crimson Tide, the 24-year-old (25 in September) set career highs in receptions (38), yards (568) and TD’s (7) as a Senior in 2013 and ended his career in Tuscaloosa with 81 catches, 1,275 yards (15.7 avg) and 12 TD’s. At 6-2 and 195 pounds, the D’Iberville, Mississippi native has good speed and sure hands to go along with his size and toughness, and looks to have a promising future as a slot WR in the NFL.
WR Mike Davis-Texas-(Proj. Round: 3rd-4th round)- After posting 51 receptions for 727 yards (14.3 avg) and career-high 8 TD’s as a senior in 2013, the 6-2, 195 pound native of Dallas, Texas will leave the Longhorns with his name firmly cemented in the record books. The 22-year-old was a two-time 2nd Team All-Big 12 selection while being named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list from 2011-2013, and finished his career with the 4th most receptions (200) and yards (2,753) in school history, and the 5th most receiving TD’s (18). Davis has great speed with good hands and route-running ability, while also being dynamic with the ball in his hands. Davis is definitely a prospect with serious upside to keep an eye on during the off-season.
Click HERE for a list of defensive players who are drawing interest from the Ravens scouting staff