The Ravens have agreed to four-year contracts with sixth-round offensive lineman Ryan Jensen and seventh-round wide receiver Aaron Mellette, according to sources.
Jensen was a Division II All-American at Colorado State-Pueblo. He's the first player drafted from his school since the Kansas City Chiefs picked running back Herman Heard in the third round in 1984.
"I was the late bloomer," Jensen told The Baltimore Sun. "Big schools didn't want to take a risk on me. I went down to Pueblo, and the rest is history."
Run-game coordinator Juan Castillo went to Pueblo to work out Jensen privately, and the Ravens flew Jensen in for a visit at team headquarters earlier this month.
"A great organization like Baltimore is going to find the players who they want and think they can develop into great players," Jensen said. "In talking with Juan, his background as a Division II coach was a big influence on that aspect."
Besides visiting the Ravens, Jensen also visited the Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks. He conducted private workouts for the Arizona Cardinals, Vikings, Cincinnati Bengals, Patriots and Dallas Cowboys in Colorado.
Jensen didn't disappoint scouts, running the 40-yard dash in 5.28 seconds and bench pressing 225 pounds 30 times.
"He's a good athlete," Hortiz said of Jensen. "Good bender, gets to the second level. He can run, smart kid and tough kid."
One of the things the Ravens like about Jensen is his hard-nosed approach to the game, which sounds a lot like how Ravens Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda plays football.
"I like to consider myself a nasty player who likes to get down and dirty," Jensen said. "I don't necessarily want to hurt people, but I do consider myself kind of a sneaky, dirty player. I think that's something they like."
The 6-foot-2, 217-pound Mellette caught 97 passes for 1,398 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and also excelled at the Senior Bowl all-star game.
He dominated the Southern Conference with 304 career receptions for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns.
"I think I can do a little bit of everything," Mellette said in a conference call after the draft. "I can beat people deep, go across the middle, break tackles, go up and get the ball. I’m just a versatile guy. That’s how I look at myself.”
Mellette had private workouts with the Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks. He didn't visit or work out for the Ravens, but talked to coach John Harbaugh at the NFL scouting combine and met with offensive coaches and did some blackboard work.
Mellette ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, bench pressing 225 pounds nine times with a 33 1/2 inch vertical leap, a 10-3 broad jump, a 4.41 20-yard shuttle and a 7.11 three-cone drill.
"He's a big athlete," Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. "He's kind of a subtle route runner. You don't realize he's as fast as he is when you watch him on film. He's really smooth. He has quick feet after the catch and at the top of his route. He catches the ball well. If you watch him our, our scouts noticed it and recognized it during the meetings.
"He has played against a lot of stepped up competition. Appalachian State is obviously one of the top teams in that conference, but he has played against North Carolina. He has played against Vanderbilt . He has always stepped up. He has torched [Appalachian State] for over 500 yards in the past three years. So big competition doesn't bother him. He has played well. He went to the Senior Bowl and had a good week down there."
Last October, Mellette had 237 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
The Ravens drafted Mellette with the 238th overall selection. Ge was wondering if he would get picked at all when he got a call from general manager Ozzie Newsome.
"After round four, five, six, I was like, ‘Man,'" Mellette said. "I thought I was going to be a free agent … but then Mr. Newsome called me with the great news and I was shocked. But God has a plan for everybody and I’m glad I was able to land with the Ravens.”
Mellette didn't play football until he was a sophomore in high school growing up in Sanford, N.C., where he initially concentrated on basketball.
Now Mellette is the first Elon player to go to the Senior Bowl and the first Elon player to get drafted since linebacker Chad Nkang was picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the seventh round in 2007.
Mellette is under no illusions about what awaits him.
“I’ve just got to come in and learn the playbook and figure out new ways to get open because what we did in college is more than likely not going to work in the NFL.”
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