Maxx Williams hasn't set foot on an NFL practice field, yet is getting a ton of early praise from analysts and fans.
Some of that is because Williams was believed to be the top tight end in the 2015 draft. Some also comes from the sheer joy that was generated when the Ravens essentially stole the Minnesota tight end from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Williams was effective but not spectacular for the Golden Gophers, catching 36 passes for 569 yards and eight touchdowns last season. But his new team has a darn-good track record when it comes to selecting tight ends high in the draft.
Before this year's draft, the Ravens had selected nine tight ends since 1996, including four in the fourth round or higher. Each of those players, at the least, became solid contributors and a couple became stars.
Todd Heap, selected 31st overall in 2001 out of Arizona State, leads the list. In 10 seasons with the Ravens, Heap made 467 receptions for 5,492 yards (both second-most in franchise history) and scored...Read more
Terrence Magee operated in a versatile role for the LSU Tigers, lining up at running back, wide receiver and returning kicks. A high school quarterback, Magee even completed a 44-yard pass in a game against Mississippi State.
He is hoping to provide similar versatility for the Ravens after agreeing to a three-year contract (which includes a $3,000 signing bonus) as an undrafted free agent.
"I'm an all-around back and my biggest attribute is my ability to play on third downs and protect the quarterback and win matchups with linebackers," Magee told The Baltimore Sun. "I have all-around skills."
Magee chose the Ravens over the Atlanta Falcons and several other teams after talking with running backs coach Thomas Hammock. He rushed for 1,330 career rushing yards and a dozen touchdowns.
"I was very excited to go to the Ravens," Magee said. "I was kind of unsure where I was going to go, but, after talking it over with my agent and talking to coach Hammock, that was the best fit for me."
Former Morgan State cornerback Joe Rankin was invited to the Cleveland Browns' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, according to his agent, Scott Bergman.
Former Kentucky outside linebacker TraVaughn Paschal, an Arundel graduate, has been invited to the Buffalo Bills' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, according to a source.
Rankin worked overnight for several months as a forklift operator this past year, toiling away to save up enough money to train for another shot at the NFL.
Rankin went undrafted last year, participated in the Ravens' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis and was not signed.
"I'm definitely very hungry and excited," Rankin said in a telephone interview. "I've been training and trying to better myself to give it another go and hopefully put up some good numbers and grab the attention of NFL scouts.
"I was working overnight so I could train during the day. I did that for five months to save enough money to devote myself full time to training. I'm taking all of the experiences...Read more
The Ravens will host a free summit for area youth football coaches on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.
The event, which is part of the organization's RISE program, will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Former Baltimore Colt Joe Ehrmann and former Ravens Brad Jackson, Michael McCrary and Matt Stover are scheduled to attend.
It will include a coaching seminar led by Ehrmann and a Ravens alumni panel discussion on youth football. Coaches in attendance will also get breakfast and a tour of the Stadium.
"Youth coaches have a unique opportunity to educate and inspire young athletes, helping provide a foundation to be successful in every area of life," said Ravens team president Dick Cass. "The Ravens are committed to developing football coaches who embody these ideals, and we salute Mr. Ehrmann for the impact he continues to make."
THe Ravens RISE program was started last year to cultivate area youth football coaches.
Ehrmann, a Baltimore resident, speaks to NFL, college and high school coaches around...Read more
Oklahoma cornerback Julian Wilson chose the Ravens after being in heavy demand following the NFL draft.
He went with the Ravens over the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns. The deal with the Ravens includes a $9,000 signing bonus, according to a source.
Wilson worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Falcons prior to the draft.
He met with the Ravens at the NFL scouting combine, discussing defensive schemes with secondary coach Chris Hewitt.
“It’s a great opportunity with a great team,” Wilson told The Baltimore Sun. “Things didn’t go as planned in the draft, but I still have a shot to make my dream come true of playing on Sundays. I felt like it was a good fit for me.”
Wilson has prototypical size and speed for an NFL defensive back.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound cornerback has 32 3/8-inch arms, 9 1/4-inch hands and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at his campus Pro Day workout and bench-pressed 225 pounds 15 times.
An Academic...Read more
The Ravens drafting of two tight ends – Minnesota’s Maxx Williams in the second round and Delaware’s Nick Boyle in the fifth – doesn’t necessarily mean that veteran Dennis Pitta won’t play football again. But it does reflect the reality of the situation after Pitta fractured and dislocated his hip in each of the past two seasons.
Pitta recently expressed hope that he’d return for the 2015 season and the Ravens have said that the player and the doctors will make that decision. But they obviously have to prepare for the strong possibility that Pitta won’t play again.
“I still don’t know what’s going to happen with him,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said Saturday.
This isn’t a recent revelation. When Pitta was hurt last September against the Cleveland Browns without making contact with another player, it was widely reported that the tight end’s career was in jeopardy. You need only to look back at Bo Jackson’s career to get a reminder of how significant hip injuries are, and the effect that...Read more