As the NFL Combine rolls along, the Ravens have spoken to a large number of guys at the event in Indianapolis. Last season at least three of the guys the Ravens met with were drafted. They are first round selection Matt Elam, fourth rounder John Simon, and fifth rounder Ricky Wagner.
I was able to scour the internet and twitter to find out as many people as I could that the Ravens have met with. I’ve been able to find 22 players the Ravens had meetings with over the last few days in Indy. In this article, we’ll take a look at the skill position players the Ravens must be interested in, at least a little bit.
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Wide ReceiverKelvin Benjamin, FSU Mike Evans, Texas A&M Marqise Lee, USC Mike Davis, Texas Jarvis Landry, LSU Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt Brandin Cooks, Oregon St
Well, not much to read into here. They reached out to the three big names we have tossed around here quite a bit in Evans, Lee and Benjamin. Evans and Lee expected to go mid-first round, with Benjamin a late first rounder. Evans improved his stock at the combine with a 4.47 40-yard time, impressive for his size, and a guy not known for his speed. Lee ran a 4.50 and Benjamin a 4.61. Not good for Benjamin.
After those three, the next group can be found later in the draft. Mike Davis projects as a 3rd to 4th rounder. 6’0”, 197 lbs. Long arms, big hands. Davis had a great showing at the Senior Bowl where he showed off great hands and return ability. Quick off the line of scrimmage to beat press and uses hesitation in his routes to get behind the secondary. Weaknesses include “alligator arms” in traffic, gets down on himself easily, questionable mental toughness.
Jarvis Landry was one of the nation’s top high school prospects. 5’11”, 205 lbs. He’s projected as a second rounder. Landry is not the fastest guy, 4.77 40 time, but operates smoothly with great body control. Great catch and go type. Fearless and resilient over the middle and very determined. His only weaknesses are his limitations of size and speed. Also struggles in press coverage.
Jordan Matthews was projected as a late 1st round, 2nd round type. However he disappointed at the Senior Bowl. Dropped passes all week, failure to get separation, lacked burst of speed. His biggest strength is that he is chiseled. His physicality allows him to make plays at any place on the field. At 6’3”, 212 lbs, he has long arms for a large catching radius. Great route runner. He’s the cousin of a pretty good former NFL receiver. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Jerry Rice. He lacks speed, but posted a 4.46 40 time. It goes to show that there is a big difference between running in gym shorts, and running in pads with guys trying to rip your head off. Maybe he drops to the third round with a poor Senior Bowl showing.
Brandin Cooks is most likely to move up into conversation with the Evans, Lee, and Benjamin’s in the first round. Cooks ran a 4.30 40, twice, at the combine. He’s this year’s version of Tavon Austin, but with a little more size than Austin at 5’10”, 189 lbs. Everything I’ve read makes this kid look to be a superstar, except for his size, and lack of physicality. Otherwise, scouts love his hands, speed, joystick moves, return game. There’s a reason he was the Biletnikoff Award winner in 2013.
As deep as WR appears to be, I think getting Jordan Matthews in the third round could prove to be great value. Don’t know why his play suffered at the Senior Bowl, but it’s one day. Keenan Allen was a guy who was projected as a late first rounder in 2013. For whatever reason falls to the third round, and Allen made a run at Rookie of the Year. Falling short to Eddie Lacy. Matthews looks to be a great fit in the West Coast scheme.
Running backTerrance West, Towson Carlos Hyde, Ohio St Andre Williams, BC Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
The Ravens like to pluck local guys whether they played at UMD, are from the area, or both. Guys like Dominique Foxworth, Jared Gaither, and of course Torrey Smith are few who made a mark in familiar territory. Could Terrance West be next? West, a Baltimore native, could have gone to a big time college program, but sub-par SAT scores limited his choices and he settled on Towson. He was runner up for FCS player of the year, and is projected to be drafted in the 3rd round.
Carlos Hyde projects as a 2nd rounder. I don’t think the Ravens will be in the market for a RB this early. Hyde also served a three game suspension in 2013 stemming from an “incident” at a nightclub involving a female. While that might hurt his draft stock and the Ravens rarely let those character issues be a deterrent (Jimmy Smith) this might not be the offseason to add another player who has a history of poor decision making.
Andre Williams is interesting, but likely not a fit in Kubiak’s West Coast offense. He projects as a 4th rounder and is a work horse. He was the nation’s leading rusher and notched a 42 carry, 339 yard effort against NC State last year. But didn’t catch one pass all season. It’s unknown if he can do that, which is a focus of the WCO. A shoulder injury kept him out of the Senior Bowl.
Ka’Deem Carey was the second leading rusher in the country, but is listed as the best RB prospect in the draft. He won’t be around when the Ravens could take a flier on a RB.
If the Ravens go RB, I think they could tab West, the Towson product with a comp pick in the 4th. Assuming they get a 4th round comp pick. They could get compensatory picks for the losses of Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Cary Williams, and Ed Reed if they get real lucky. They traded away their 4th and 5th round picks for Eugene Monroe, and their 7th round for A.Q. Shipley. Comp picks can’t be traded.
Tight EndEric Ebron, UNC Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
We have talked a lot about Ebron and he impressed with a 4.50 40 time at the combine. He doesn’t lack confidence with quotes like, “Teams don’t play press coverage against me because it doesn’t work.” Have to wonder if he even falls to #17.
Jace Amaro lined up mostly in the slot at Texas Tech. He’s big at 6’5”, 265 lbs, But with small hands for his size. Amaro is dangerous after the catch as he is tough to bring down. He projects as a late first round option.
Tight end is tricky. We’ll have to see how the Pitta situation plays out leading up to the draft. The Ravens are currently in talks with Pitta and have until March 3rd to offer Pitta a contract extension before choosing to apply the franchise tag. Pitta could receive the TE tag but could seek the WR tag value, likely upwards of nearly $5M more if he can prove he lines up as a WR more often then TE. The Ravens could also let the sure handed Pitta test the open market less than eight months after a devastating hip injury that sidelined him for most of 2013. I still believe solid TEs can be found later in drafts. Pitta is a prime example.
Next, we’ll take a look at the defensive and O-line prospects the Ravens met with.Credit Aaron Wilson of The Sun for updates of each player met with. Credit Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of CBS Sports for the scouting reports of each prospect.