Not long after they sign and report to the team facility, Ravens' rookies are given a piece of advice that is true with every NFL team, but it's particularly emphasized by head coach John Harbaugh. The more they can do, they're told, the better their chances are of making the 53-man roster.
Ravens undrafted free agent defensive lineman Patrick Ricard certainly had that in mind when he was approached by the coaching staff recently and told that he'd get an opportunity to play fullback.
"Right now, honestly, I just fill in and play where they need me," Ricard said. "I want to get on the field and enjoy the opportunity. I love this. I used to play fullback in high school. It feels great just going out there and slamming people."
Ricard, who played his college football at Maine, has impressed team officials with his energetic and physical play along the defensive line, where he's trying to win a job at one of the Ravens' deepest positions. But the 6-foot-3 and 305-pound rookie has recently started working in practice as a lead blocker, and said the fullback position feels natural to him given his experience at David Prouty High in Mass.
He certainly looked the part against the Dolphins, playing five snaps at fullback, and springing Buck Allen on a nice run by driving a Dolphins linebacker to the ground. He also played eight snaps defensively.
"I think more the focus is on defense, defensive line," Ricard said. "When they need me, just go and practice, get a couple reps in practice, just make sure they can trust me to do my job right and then I come out here when my name's called. Like tonight I had five, six plays on offense, just execute when I'm out there."
That the Ravens are trying out Ricard at fullback obviously doesn't bode well for the roster chances of Lorenzo Taliaferro and Ricky Ortiz, who were believed to be the top fullback candidates on the roster.