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Ravens' rookie class getting acclimated to NFL

Draft picks, undrafted free agents hit the field for first NFL practice at three-day rookie minicamp

By Aaron Wilson

The Baltimore Sun

6:01 PM EDT, May 3, 2013

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It was a whirlwind day for the Ravens' rookie class, getting acclimated to its new surroundings during their first NFL practice.

For the Super Bowl champions' 10 draft picks headlined by first-round safety Matt Elam and second-round inside linebacker Arthur Brown and 14 undrafted rookie free agents, it was a lot of information to absorb as the team started a three-day rookie minicamp.

"I'm working to get better each day, and this is just the first step," said Brown, who was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last season at Kansas State. "Honestly, I think the No. 1 thing is learning my role as a linebacker and just attempting and providing what I do to fulfill that role: learning from the guys who are here and learning from the coaches. Honestly, it's just great to be here. It has been a tremendous process, one in which I have enjoyed. The main goal is playing football.

"A class act, I walked into the locker room and the first thing I saw was, 'Team, Team, Team.' So, that was definitely comforting to me, just recognizing that it's all about the team. I come from a  school that definitely focuses on a team effort. So, really just seeing that from teh coaching staff and the other players is definitely what I'm all about."

Brown is making the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. He's also expected to quickly assume a major role in the middle of the Ravens' defense and has drawn comparisons to a young Ray Lewis.

"Honestly, the way I look at it is [there's] no replacing Ray Lewis. He's still a part of this team. He has had a major impact on so many of the guys that are already here. Really, I'm just an addition looking to fulfilly my role and be an impact player."

Outside linebacker John Simon, a Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year from Ohio State drafted in the fourth round, said the Ravens' playbook is similar to what he's accustomed to from playing for the Buckeyes.

"It's about getting to know each other and getting the playbook down extremely well," Simon said. "It's learning a whole new system, a new terminology. To get that stuff down is going to take a couple of weeks and we are trying to get a jumpstart on that right now. It's very similar to Ohio State's, so I was fortunate in that aspect. We just have a little bit different terminology, but I think I'm picking it up pretty fast."

Simon said he'll be sure to ask a lot of questions when he gets around veteran outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.

"Those are some of the best guys in the league, so to learn from them, be able to ask them questions, be able to pick their brain, it's going to be something special in the meeting rooms," Simon said. "I'm going to try to get every little detail I can out of them. I look forward to it. I look forward to meeting them.

"Learning the playbook is half the battle, and the mental part of it and then getting speed down when we start playing with the veterans is going to be another thing. It's just getting yourself feeling comfortable out there on the field at a new level of play. This minicamp is like a jumpstart to that."

awilson@baltsun.com

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