By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
8:41 AM EDT, May 23, 2014
When the third day of the NFL draft arrived, Middle Tennessee State cornerback Sammy Seamster still had hopes of being drafted in the later rounds.
He had drawn plenty of interest before the draft, visiting the New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. And the Ravens and several other teams were recruiting him in case he went undrafted.
When the Ravens didn't pick any cornerbacks during the draft, Seamster opted for their contract offer after fielding calls from roughly 20 teams. Seamster considered the Ravens, Dolphins and Jaguars as his final three choices, with the Ravens' offer including an $8,000 signing bonus.
"I felt like before the third day I had a chance to get drafted, but I wouldn't get down on myself if I didn't," Seamster said. "I got to pick my team. I saw the Ravens only had four corners on the roster, didn't draft no corners and they said they keep about six so I've got a pretty good chance of making the team. I feel great about being here."
Size and speed were two of the primary factors in Seamster being in demand after the draft.
At 6 feet, 200 pounds, Seamster ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 and 4.47 seconds at his campus Pro Day workout. He also registered a 35-inch vertical leap, a 10-4 broad jump, a 4.19 short shuttle and a 6.86 three-cone drill.
"The fastest I've run before was a 4.38," said Seamster, who made 33 tackles last season with an interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. "I feel like press coverage is a big strength for me because I've got long arms and can really disrupt the receiver at the line.
"It's about my work ethic and my speed. The key is me honing in on my technique and really working hard on my fundamentals. I have to come out and compete hard every day and show I really want this job."
In high school, Seamster ran the 100 meters and 200 meters and won a state track title as a junior. He also played on the basketball team. He had six interceptions as a senior with 27 pass deflections.
"I liked football more than track and basketball," Seamster said. "Basketball and track were something for me to do in the offseason from football. I got recruited by Syracuse and Tennessee. I felt at home at MTSU."
And now Seamster is hoping to find a home with the Ravens, who return Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb as their starting cornerbacks and have Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson as backups after veteran nickel back Corey Graham signed with the Buffalo Bills in March.
The Ravens also signed Oregon cornerback Avery Patterson (5-8, 191), North Carolina A&T cornerback Deji Olatoye (6-1, 198) and Texas A&M cornerback Tramain Jacobs (5-11, 182) after the draft.
"It’s interesting," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after a rookie minicamp last weekend. "When you have a need at a position and you don’t draft a guy, the interest from the undrafted free agents is pretty high. We have three big, long guys that we signed and those guys have looked good.
"They’re fast. They’re all low 4.4s. They have long arms, they have pretty good hips, good feet, all of them have good ball skills. So, I think our scouts did a really good job of finding those guys. Patterson, he’s not as big, but he has really good feet. So, it’s a good group."
Seamster said he thinks he got off to a good start during the rookie minicamp, which sets the table for several months of competition to try to make the 53-man roster or earn a spot on the practice squad.
"I felt like that was a pretty good couple of days getting to compete against the other guys," Seamster said. "It's going to be very competitive to earn that spot."