One day into their rookie minicamp, the Ravens' draft class has one obvious strength: nicknames.
Four of the team’s draft picks are known by more evocative monikers, headlined by former Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown, whose “Hollywood” nickname is a Gus Johnson-inspired nod to his Hollywood, Fla., roots.
Then there’s “Sack Daddy.”
“It’s kind of funny, you walk around a bunch of grown men, and, like, ‘Hey, there’s Sack Daddy,’ — you know what’s coming,” third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson, who set the NCAA’s career sacks record at Louisiana Tech, said Friday, the team’s first of two days of rookie minicamp.
“It could be taken two ways. For the most part, it was just from all the sacks, coming in after a game in one of my sack games. … I might have had three or four sacks. I came in the room joking around with my teammates and [somebody said], ‘Oh, you’re the Sack Daddy now. You got all the sacks. You’re on top of everybody.’ So [I said], ‘OK, just don’t call me that in public, because I’m not that kind of person.’ ”
Fourth-round pick Iman Marshall, a California native who starred at cornerback for Southern California, has a nickname that pays tribute to an East Coast rap legend. His aunt, inspired by The Notorious B.I.G. hit "Hypnotize," which was released as a single two days after he was born in 1997, called him "Biggie" as a baby.
For a 336-pound defensive tackle, Daylon Mack’s nickname is obvious. It’s there in Twitter handle: “THEE MACK TRUCK.” Mack, whose car is, in fact, not a truck — he drives around in a Chevrolet Malibu, a midsize sedan — got the nickname from his high school, complete with a sound effect.
“They said they needed something to play on the speakers at the game when I made the [tackle for loss], so they started playing the mack truck horn and it just kind of stuck,” he said.
Even Trace McSorley is something of a nickname. The sixth-round pick’s birth name: Richard Thomas McSorley III.
Mack in action
Defensive tackle Daylon Mack got back on the NFL’s radar with a standout 2018 season at Texas A&M in which he finished with 10 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks.
He might have secured where he’d eventually land with an equally impressive showcase showing.
At the East-West Shrine Game in January, Mack so impressed Drew Wilkins, a position coach at the all-star game, that the the assistant defensive line and outside linebackers coach for the Ravens called team officials after just one day.
"He was like, 'Hey, I called our people and said, Hey, that guy plays like a Raven. We're going to make him a Raven,’ ” Mack recalled Wilkins telling him. He added: “I kind of felt like I’d end up here.”
Ahead of Mack’s senior season, it was no sure thing that he’d even get drafted. A former blue-chip recruit in high school, he didn't start until his junior year with the Aggies. But when Jimbo Fisher and his coaching staff took over, the line played more aggressively and Mack looked more like his old, dominant self.
"When they showed up, they showed me how film of how I was playing in high school,” he said. “They just told me to get back to being that player, and I changed my number to 34 [his high school number] as part of the mentality change, and I ended up going back to being that player.”
‘Fuel’ for McSorley
McSorley wasn't expected to start at quarterback for four years or win three Virginia state titles in high school. Nor did anyone expect the onetime Vanderbilt commit and three-star recruit to become Penn State's record-holder for career wins, passing yards and total offense.
So no, what he heard during the predraft process did not surprise him.
“There’s always things out there, especially kind of with me,” he said. “People say certain things, that I’m not an elite passer, all those kind of things that people feel like they can sit back and watch. Everyone’s got their own opinion at the end of the day, so they’re entitled to that, but I’ll agree to disagree on those things and I’ll just use that to fuel me.”
McSorley arrived in Baltimore hoping to prove himself as a quarterback but prepared to hear questions about Taysom Hill, the New Orleans Saints’ third-string quarterback and special teams weapon.
“I’ve just kind of been watching him [for] fun, not necessarily studying it,” he said.
Instead, he’s familiarizing himself with the Ravens’ schemes and playbook. The fastest quarterback at the NFL scouting combine, he has a skill set similar to that of Jackson. But he said he’ll do whatever’s required.
“One of the things I want to do here is just provide value for anything the coaching staff needs me do or Coach Harbaugh asks me,” he said. “Wherever I can fit in and help this team win games and be able to compete at the highest level, that’s kind of my mentality and that’s what I want to do. I’m definitely excited to try and see what else I can do out there and get out there on the field anyway I can.”
The Ravens announced that they have signed running back Justice Hill, guard Ben Powers, Mack and Marshall to four-year deals.