As former Michigan defensive end Brennen Beyer went through the process of auditioning for NFL teams, the Ravens undrafted rookie had a strong advocate.
Former Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, the defensive coordinator at Michigan for the past four seasons and now the Wolverines defensive line coach under new coach Jim Harbaugh, guided Beyer and gave a strong recommendation to the Ravens coaching staff.
"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
Beyer chose to sign with the Ravens over the Oakland Raiders, who brought him in for an official visit prior to the draft.
The Ravens' track record of having at least one undrafted rookie make the roster under coach John Harbaugh was a major factor in Beyer's decision to sign.
"I definitely noticed that they've kept a lot of undrafted guys," said Beyer, who received a $6,000 signing bonus. "They give everyone a fair shot. If you're one of the best guys, they'll get you on the field. I'm hoping to be one of them."
Beyer is making the transition to a full-time outside linebacker in the NFL after playing both defensive end and linebacker at Michigan. As a senior, Beyer had 35 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and 7 1/2 tackles for loss.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound former All-Big Ten Conference academic selection is learning to play strongside outside linebacker behind veterans Courtney Upshaw and Elvis Dumervil.
"I think it's gone pretty well so far," said Beyer, who had 92 career tackles in college with 7 1/2 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and an interception. "The rookie minicamp was pretty intense. I thought I did pretty good.
"I'm trying to learn the plays and get it all down and show the coaches what I can do. Courtney has been around a lot, and I've been learning a lot from him. The defense is pretty similar. Playing at Michigan prepared me a lot for a versatile position."
Beyer has taken notice of the route traveled by former Michigan outside linebacker Cameron Gordon. Gordon made the Patriots as an undrafted rookie last year and earned a Super Bowl ring
"It's really cool to see a guy like that who played my position and see him succeed elsewhere," Beyer said. "He earned a spot and made that happen. Hopefully, I can do the same thing."