By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
7:13 AM EDT, May 19, 2014
When the Ravens landed undrafted rookie free agent offensive tackle James Hurst, they beat out a lot of competition.
The former All-Atlantic Coast Conference lineman from North Carolina had 17 offers from NFL teams and chose the Ravens after they didn't draft an offensive tackle.
After a rookie minicamp this weekend, the Ravens are happy that Hurst picked them.
"We're excited," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We like him."
Hurst went undrafted after initially being projected as high as the second round or third round during his senior season. He fall is primarily because he broke his left leg during the Tar Heels' bowl game in late December. That prevented him from playing in the Senior Bowl or participating in the NFL scouting combine. He still wasn't 100 percent during his campus Pro Day workout.
A former blue-chip recruit from Indianapolis who chose North Carolina over Alabama, Florida and Ohio State, Hurst started a school-record 49 games and was a freshman All-American. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder had a solid game against South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney last August, holding the eventual top overall pick of the Houston Texans to three tackles and no sacks.
During the Ravens' rookie minicamp, Hurst moved well and showed no signs of any lingering problems with his leg and impressed Harbaugh, as did his fellow undrafted rookie offensive linemen Parker Graham (Oklahoma State) and Brett Van Sloten (Iowa).
"All three of those guys, very happy with them," Harbaugh said. "I think they're all going to make a run. Of course, Hurst at the left tackle draws my attention a lot. He has very good feet. He seems like he's picking it up quickly. He likes to practice. He has a heavy punch. So, he has a chance."