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Ravens pick up returner, lineman in 3rd round

The Baltimore Sun

If the Ravens are concerned about losing the services of return specialist B.J. Sams for two drunken driving charges in a 14-month span, the team got some insurance in the third round of the NFL draft last night.

With the 10th pick in the round and 74th overall, the Ravens selected Kansas State wide receiver and returner Yamon Figurs. Figurs, who is listed at 5 feet 11 and 174 pounds, is expected to make the team primarily as a backup return specialist and reserve wide receiver.

The Ravens also added some depth on the offensive line by swapping picks with the Jacksonville Jaguars and grabbing Iowa guard-tackle Marshall Yanda later in the third round.

The selection of Figurs gives the Ravens an option if Sams, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2007 season, decides to test the market or is disciplined by the league.

"With B.J., he could be a UFA [unrestricted free agent]," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We already have someone on campus now to be a returner."

Sams was arrested and charged with drunken driving last October and in August 2005. His court date for the most recent DUI charge is scheduled for May 15.

Sams' case mirrors that of the Kansas City Chiefs' Jared Allen. According to Friday's edition of the Kansas City Star, Allen was suspended for the first four games of the season after being charged twice with DUIs.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has pledged to enforce a stricter conduct policy, could impose a similar punishment for Sams.

The team got Figurs after trading picks with the Detroit Lions. The Ravens gave up the 61st overall choice in the second round for the Lions' third-round (74th overall) selection and first of two fourth-round (101st) picks.

Detroit used the 61st choice on Boise State safety Gerald Alexander.

To get the 6-4, 304-pound Yanda, the Ravens shipped their fourth- (101st overall), fifth- (166th) and sixth-round (203rd) choices to the Jaguars for the 86th overall pick.

Yanda, who played guard for the Hawkeyes, can also play tackle and is expected to add depth at that position behind starters Jonathan Ogden and Adam Terry.

"To have someone now that we can start to groom to be a tackle, we feel very good about it," Newsome said. "He was a guy our scouts had a great feel for."


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