Ravens Address Offense on Day 3 of 2014 NFL Draft

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OWINGS MILLS — After taking primarily defensive players with their first four picks, the Baltimore Ravens spent the majority of the third and final day of the draft Saturday adding to their offense.

Baltimore used its first pick Saturday on Virginia defensive end Brent Urban and then drafted four straight offensive players — Coastal Carolina running back Lorenzo Taliaferro with its second fourth-round pick, Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel in the fifth round, Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning in the sixth round and Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro in the seventh round.

So after addressing inside linebacker, defensive tackle, free safety and tight end Thursday and Friday, the Ravens took care of some of their other pre-draft positions of concern.

“We got guys that we think are going to be here for a long time that are going to help us win games,” Baltimore assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said.

The Ravens did not take a right tackle or a cornerback, but they did address their most pressing concern heading into the draft by taking Taliaferro.

Baltimore starting running back Ray Rice was arrested in February and charged with third-degree aggravated assault. Even if he does not go to jail, he could be suspended by the NFL.

Meanwhile, backup running back Bernard Pierce is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and will be sidelined from football activities until at least the beginning of training camp in late July.

The Ravens signed journeyman Justin Forsett to add depth at the position, but Taliaferro provides another option and also the type of big, power runner they would have targeted even had Rice not gotten into trouble.

The 6-foot, 230-pound Taliaferro ran for 1,779 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior at Coastal Carolina last year.

“The size, the physicality he has, he’s a good scheme fit,” DeCosta said. “Gary [Kubiak] has had good success in his offense with players like this guy, and I think he’s a good, young developmental prospect.”

Director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said something similar about Urban.

Baltimore took a defensive lineman earlier in the draft — Timmy Jernigan in the second round. However, Jernigan is a defensive tackle who can also play nose tackle. Urban is a defensive end who the Ravens believe could eventually replace 31-year old Chris Canty.

Urban missed time last season because of a high ankle sprain, but he had 11.5 tackles for a loss in eight games.

He also has prototypical size for a 3-4 defensive end at 6-foot-7, 295 pounds.

DeCosta said Baltimore had been high on Urban since the fall, and Urban further impressed the Ravens at the Senior Bowl before having to leave due to problems with his ankle.

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens began talking about drafting Urban as early as the second round.

“With Urban, what you’re looking at is a guy who’s coming off an injury, and that’s probably why he fell on some teams’ boards, but he’s got the potential to develop into a starting [3-4 defensive end],” Hortiz said.

Urschel will likely provide depth at guard and center.

He played guard at Penn State and was selected first-team All-Big 10 each of the last two seasons.

And to Newsome, Urschel has the trait most important to being a successful offensive lineman: Intelligence.

Urschel graduated from Penn State with a 4.0 in mathematics, has a master’s degree in math and was the winner of the William V. Campbell trophy as the nation’s premier college football scholar athlete.
“This kid we just got is at the top of the charts for [intelligence],” Newsome said.

The Ravens also added a quarterback, Wenning, to compete with Tyrod Taylor for the backup quarterback job behind Joe Flacco.
Even if Wenning does not beat out Taylor, he may be kept as a No. 3 quarterback and groomed to take over for Taylor next year should Taylor leave as a free agent.

Kubiak in particular liked Wenning, who was a four-year starter at Ball State and led 10 fourth quarter comebacks during his career.

He threw for 4,148 yards last season with 35 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

“Gary has a lot of hope with Keith,” Newsome said.

The Ravens then closed out the draft with Campanaro.

They did not originally own a seventh-round pick, but they traded a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the pick to select Campanaro.

Campanaro, who is from Maryland and went to River Hill High School, is Wake Forest’s all-time leader in career receptions.

He missed time last season due to injury, but he had 67 catches for 803 yards and six touchdowns.

He played exclusively in the slot in college and will compete for time in the slot with Baltimore.

“It seems like every year, we’re always looking at these slot receivers on other teams, and their really good guys are always sixth-round picks, seventh-round picks, undrafted free agents who develop,” DeCosta said. “We think Mike can be one of those guys.”

 

Click here for more Ravens draft coverage from Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times

One Rave about “Ravens Address Offense on Day 3 of 2014 NFL Draft

  1. chris on said:

    So we pick up an undersized injury prone “good character” WR in the 6 or 7 round? We let the browns take West right infront of us, and we got a 3rd string TE to compete for the practice squad.

    Wow I guess our offense will depend on finding UDFA and other teams cast off lineman…. Sounds good. Its not like our offense was historically bad.

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