Ravens rookie linebacker Jaylon Ferguson talks about having a really good pre-draft meeting with defensive coordinator Don Martindale before the draft. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
Former Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis is the headliner of the Ravens’ class of undrafted-free-agent signings, which the team announced Friday.
One of 17 signings, Willis was widely expected to be drafted, possibly as early as Day 2. A second-team All-American who had 18 tackles for loss and four sacks last season, Willis had a somewhat checkered history before his breakout 2018. He was dismissed from Florida early in his career and took a leave of absence from Miami in 2017 as he worked out personal issues.
After not taking an inside linebacker during the draft, the Ravens signed three, tied for the most of any position: Texas A&M's Otaro Alaka, North Texas' E.J. Ejiya and Incarnate Word's Silas Stewart. Ejiya was a first-team All-Conference USA selection last season, while Alaka led the Aggies in tackles.
At wide receiver, the Ravens followed their picks of Oklahoma’s Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin by signing Texas Tech's Antoine Wesley, Louisville's Jaylen Smith and Boise State's Sean Modster. Wesley finished third in the Football Bowl Subdivision in receiving yards (1,410) last season, and Smith is a close friend of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Elsewhere on offense, the Ravens added Virginia tackle Marcus Applefield, California guard Patrick Mekari, Elon center C.J. Toogood, Purdue tight end Cole Herdman and Delaware tight end Charles Scarff.
On defense, they also signed Kent State defensive tackle Kalil Morris, Angelo State outside linebacker Markus Jones, Texas A&M-Commerce outside linebacker Mike Onuoha and Colorado safety Evan Worthington. Azusa Pacific long snapper Matthew Orzech was the lone special teams signing.
Several other players are in rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.
In the early years of the franchise, 5-foot-7 Jermaine Lewis became the Ravens' top weapon as a receiver and still holds many team records as far as punt and kickoff returns. Naturally, he liked the team's pick of 5-9 Marquise Brown.