Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews was connected to the Ravens throughout the pre-draft process, but the pairing seemed highly unlikely when the team used the 25th overall selection on South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst.
Andrews, though, knew something about the Ravens that led him to believe he could still wind up in Baltimore.
“The Ravens have always had a history of loving their tight ends,” Andrews said Friday after the first on-field workout of the team’s rookie minicamp. “It was never out of the picture for me.”
The Ravens ultimately selected Andrews with the second of their two third-round picks. Now, they have two rookie tight ends who became friendly during the NFL scouting combine and figure to instantly become factors in the passing game.
“Being able to work off each other, it’s going to be a big thing,” Andrews said. “We’re going to be able to grow and compete with each other and have a healthy competition where we’re able to grow as players.”
Hurst is known for being a well-rounded tight end, capable as a blocker and reliable as a downfield threat. Andrews is known almost exclusively for his receiving skills. He had 112 receptions for 1,765 yards and 22 touchdown catches in three seasons at Oklahoma.
The criticism of Andrews in the lead-up to the draft was that he’s not a viable or willing blocker. However, he seemed eager Friday to put that label behind him.
“I grew up being a receiver. I know how to do it. It’s something that I’m really good at, but I’m a big-bodied guy,” said Andrews, who is 6-foot-5 and 256 pounds. “I haven’t gotten a lot of reps at [blocking] in college, but that’s something I’m going to learn. I think I’m going to thrive at it one day.”
“I want to be a complete receiver and one day I will be. I’m not there, but it’s something I’m going to work on. I know being here, it’s something they’re going to ask me to do and they have asked me to do. I’m only going to get better at it, so I’m excited to learn it.”
Jackson having fun
Predictably, one of the prominent topics Friday was Ravens first-round quarterback Lamar Jackson, who seemed to make an immediate impression on his rookie teammates.
“Lamar, first play, I think, he tried to run. Good thing it’s pro, where we can’t tackle him,” Ravens fourth-round linebacker Kenny Young said while offering a wide smile. “But no, Lamar, I think you can see that he has the spirit that he wants to be a leader, wants to be a guy that wants to soak up what the older guys are teaching him, and [he’s] a great guy. Great guy.”
“He’s fun to play with,” Andrews said. Just watching him run around, he makes guys laugh, he has fun with the game, which is what it’s all about. The same thing with Baker, he did the same thing. He loves to play. It’s awesome to see that. I think he relates to the guys really well and he throws the ball incredibly well. He’s a great athlete. He’s got all the intangibles for sure.”
I feel like a number
The start of rookie minicamp means the assigning of jersey numbers. It was announced last week that Hurst will wear No. 81 and Jackson will wear No. 8.
Third-round offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. gets No. 78, one of the numbers his father wore during his time with the Ravens.
Below is a rundown on the numbers the Ravens rookies will wear:
No. 6: Kaare Vedvik, P
No. 8: Lamar Jackson, QB
No. 12: Jaleel Scott, WR
No. 17: Jordan Lasley, WR
No. 18: Andre Levrone, WR
No. 21: DeShon Elliott, S
No. 27: Darious Williams, CB
No. 28: Anthony Averett, CB
No. 31: Mark Thompson, RB
No. 35: Gus Edwards, RB
No. 40: Kenny Young, ILB
No. 47: De’Lance Turner, RB
No. 58: Alvin Jones, ILB
No. 59: Mason McKendrick, ILB
No. 60: Randin Crocelius, G
No. 61: Alex Thompson, C
No. 63: Justin Evans, G
No. 64: Greg Senat, OT
No. 66: Trent Sieg, LS
No. 77: Bradley Bozeman, C
No. 78: Orlando Brown Jr., OT
No. 80: Jaelon Acklin, WR
No. 81: Hayden Hurst, TE
No 82: Nick Keizer, TE
No. 89: Mark Andrews, TE
No. 91: Christian LaCouture, DE
No. 95: Zach Seiler, DE
Undrafted class revealed
After failing to land a running back in the draft, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said that he expected the team to add to its running back depth in the undrafted free agency period.
The Ravens announced their 15-player college free agent class Friday and it included three running backs: Rutgers’ Gus Edwards, Alcorn State’s De’Lance Turner and Florida’s Mark Thompson.
The rest of the class consists of wide receivers Jaelon Acklin (Western Illinois) and Andre Levrone (Virginia), tight end Nick Keizer (Grand Valley State), offensive linemen Randin Crecelius (Portland State), Justin Evans (South Carolina State) and Alex Thompson (Monmouth), defensive end Christian LaCouture (Louisiana State), inside linebackers Alvin Jones (UTEP) and Mason McKendrick (John Carroll), cornerback Darious Williams (Alabama-Birmingham), punter Kaare Vedvik (Marshall) and long snapper Trent Sieg (Colorado State).
When the Ravens full team comes together for its first practice, veteran middle linebacker C.J. Mosley won’t have to introduce himself to several of his defensive teammates.
Fourth-round cornerback Anthony Averett said Mosley is “legendary” at Alabama, where both players, along with defensive teammates Marlon Humphrey and Tim Williams, went to college. Young said that he studied both Mosley and former Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis while he was at UCLA.
“What I try to do, I try to study some of the top guys that are playing in this league. I even asked one of the guys at UCLA to try and get me some Ray Lewis, old tape, just to watch the energy they play with, the passion they play with,” Young said. I know I’ll never be like a C.J. Mosley, but if I could take away his mindset of things, the way he looks at the game, the way he anticipates, that will make me a better player.”
Andrews called Mayfield, “the best player in the country by far,” but couldn’t resist throwing a verbal jab at his close friend who now also resides in the AFC North. “I know we’re going to beat him twice,” Andrews said. “Other than that, I’m sure he’ll do really well.” … Asked what he knows about the AFC North, Young said, “The only thing I’ve heard up until this point is that some teams are scared to play Baltimore.” … Ravens waived-injured offensive tackle Steven Moore. … The minicamp runs through Satuday.