The Ravens’ front office has long been admired for its decision making during the draft, but Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Company also take great pride in the work that they do in the couple of hours following its conclusion. Offensive lineman Mike Flynn and linebackers Bart Scott, Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe are among the undrafted free agents that the Ravens have signed and developed into key contributors.
The Ravens won’t announce their latest undrafted free agent class until the players officially pass physicals and sign contracts, which will happen at some point before the start of the rookie mini-camp in the second week of May. But most – if not all of the names have come out and been confirmed – either on the player’s Twitter accounts, by their college athletic departments or in media reports.
Below are the undrafted free agents on the offensive side of the ball. The defensive players will be discussed in a follow-up entry.
Chris Anzenvino, Kent State, C: Anzenvino, who is 6-foot-1 and 295 pounds, started all 48 games at center during his college year and was twice named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, the award given annually to the nation’s top center. Anzevino, a senior captain last season, will have long odds to make the roster, which will include at least four others capable of playing center: starter Matt Birk, holdovers Cecil Newton and Justin Boren and fourth-round draft pick Gino Gradkowski.
John Brantley, Florida, QB: A former Gatorade National Player of the Year in high school, Brantley broke Tim Tebow’s Florida high school record with 99 touchdown passes and then succeeded him at the University of Florida. Brantley, who is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, started 23 games for the Gators, compiling a 15-8 record while playing for three different offensive coordinators. He has solid arm strength and good intangibles, but there are questions about his durability and his mechanics. He’ll battle veteran Curtis Painter for the No.3 quarterback job.
Lamont Bryant, Morgan State, TE: Bryant did a little of everything in his career for the Bears, including playing quarterback. Last season, Bryant (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) caught 21 balls for 371 yards and two touchdowns. He lacks the physical size and strength to be a blocking tight end and he’s also pretty raw as a route runner. He is athletic with good physical tools. He’ll likely have to beat out holdover Davon Drew and fellow undrafted free agent, Nick Provo, for the third tight end spot behind Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.
James Carmon, Mississippi State, OT: Carmon, who went to City, doesn’t have to look very far for inspiration. Last offseason, wide receiver LaQuan Williams, who went to Poly, made the team as an undrafted free agent. Carmon is a converted defensive tackle so he’s still pretty raw. But he has the size (6-foot-6, 330 pounds) and strength to open up eyes in training camp. The Ravens have a bunch of young offensive linemen already on the roster, and they’re not afraid to take on projects at the position.
Jack Cornell, Illinois, OT/OG: Cornell played in 26 games the past two seasons, starting 19 of them. Last year, he started all 13 games at guard for the Illini. He was a team captain his senior season and the recipient of the Red Grange Award for his dedication to the program. After drafting two offensive linemen and adding five more as free agents, Cornell (6-foot-5, 295 pounds) will need to distinguish himself in training camp to make the team.
Chad Diehl, Clemson, FB: One of two fullbacks signed after the draft, Diehl has good size (6-foot-1, 257 pounds) for the position, and he also has the requisite mentality. He loves contact and taking on defenders as a straight-ahead blocker. However, he’s one dimensional, having gotten just six carries in his college career and catching just seven passes. Vonta Leach is obviously entrenched as the Ravens’ fullback, and the team doesn’t figure to carry another one on the roster during the regular season.
Bruce Figgins, Georgia, FB: Figgins is 6-foot-2 and 262 pounds, and he is a converted tight end having been moved to fullback before last season. He had 16 catches for 179 yards and four touchdowns for the Bulldogs. He made eight starts in 2011 and then was invited to participate in the East-West Shrine Game. The Ravens don’t figure to keep another fullback behind Vonta Leach, but Figgins does bring extensive special teams experience.
Devin Goda, Slippery Rock, WR: The Ravens love unearthing small-school gems, and they are hoping that Goda, who is 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, is the latest one. Goda was a three-year starter who caught 75 balls for 1,011 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior season. He’s a tall target capable of acrobatic catches, and a solid down-field blocker. The Ravens’ roster is loaded with receivers so Goda will need a great training camp to stick.
Dorian Graham, Syracuse, WR: Graham was an all-purpose threat for Syracuse in his final season, catching 24 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns, rushing eight times for 91 yards and one touchdown and averaging 22.5 yards per kickoff return with one touchdown. A converted safety, Graham’s size (5-foot-10, 189 pounds) will likely hurt his chances to make the team as a wide receiver but his explosiveness could make him a factor on kickoff and punt returns.
Antoine McClain, Clemson, OG: McClain was a three-year started and saw action in 54 games during his college career, but that experience and his size (6-foot-5, 330 pounds) wasn’t enough for him to get drafted. He played mostly right guard at Clemson and developed a reputation as a physical run blocker with long arms and big, strong hands. The questions on him concern his athleticism and balance. He’ll be part of the Ravens’ offensive line competition in training camp, one of the offseason’s biggest storylines.
Alfred McCullough, Alabama, OT: McCulllough was an unheralded but extremely valuable member of last year’s national champs, and an offensive line that gave up only 17 sacks. The 6-foot-1 313 pounder played pretty much every position along the offensive line and he even spent one season as a defensive lineman at Alabama. If he has a place in the NFL, it will probably be as a reserve guard.
Nick Provo, Syracuse, TE: Provo was projected as a fifth or sixth-round pick so it was a little surprising that the Ravens were able to get him as a undrafted free agent. Provo, who is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, had 51 catches for 537 yards and nine touchdowns in his Syracuse career. He is a smart player with good hands though his ability to make the Ravens will likely depend on how much improvement he shows as a blocker. The Ravens already have two receiving tight ends and they need a good blocker at the No.3 tight end spot.
Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky, RB: Rainey (5-foot-7, 205 pounds) had a extremely productive college career, finishing as Western Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher. He led the Sun Belt with 1,695 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last season. However, he doesn’t have great speed and he’s also not considereda powerful inside runner. With Ray Rice, Anthony Allen and Damien Berry already on the roster and Bernard Pierce having been drafted in the third round, Rainey is a long shot to make the team.
Deonte Thompson, Florida, WR/CB: Thompson is an all-purpose player who can absolutely fly. He never developed into a top wide receiving threat in college, making 101 career catches for 446 yards and nine touchdowns, but nobody questions his speed. He ran between a 4.23 and a 4.33 40-yard dash during workouts with teams. It will be a tough task for him to move up the wide receiver depth chart, but his speed could get him an opportunity in the return game.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun