From contract negotiations with quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice to a potentially season-ending Achilles injury to star linebacker Terrell Suggs to coach John Harbaugh's comments on the New England Patriots to mercurial safety Ed Reed's controversial radio interviews, the Ravens have made plenty of off-the-field news this offseason.
Kelechi Osemele and Gino Gradkowski were drafted by the Ravens, in part, because of their ability to play multiple offensive line positions, but they spent the majority of the minicamp at guard. Both rookies will compete with Jah Reid for the vacant starting lineup spot at left guard.
The Baltimore Ravens don't play their first preseason game until three months from now and veteran players aren't obligated to be in Baltimore until a mandatory minicamp next month. But that hasn't stopped many of the players from taking an active role in the community during the offseason. Matt Birk's charity event on Monday night is a great example.
Gino Gradkowski grew up following his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, but after the rival Baltimore Ravens took him early in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Delaware interior lineman couldn't have sounded more pumped about joining the Ravens in a Saturday conference call with Baltimore media.
Now that Ravens reporter Matt Vensel has had a couple of days to defragment his brain after a hectic NFL draft weekend, he figured he would hand out superlative style-evaluations of the Baltimore Ravens' eight-player draft class. These are just the opinions of one man (though it's a man who spent much of the past two months researching draft prospects).
After the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft Saturday, Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron made a cameo at the introductory press conference for Courtney Upshaw, Kelechi Osemele and Bernard Pierce. In addition to Kelechi, an Iowa State offensive lineman, and Pierce, the big Temple back, the Ravens had just drafted him another offensive player in Delaware center Gino Gradkowski.
Temporarily ignoring their needs on the offensive line, the Ravens made linebacker Courtney Upshaw, a defensive standout on an Alabama team that won the national championship last season, their first selection of the 2012 draft.
Each day this week leading up to Thursday's NFL draft, we will highlight one prospect whom the Ravens could draft with the 29th overall pick. Today's player is Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler, who started 36 games at right guard for the Badgers. He is seen as the draft's second-best guard behind Stanford¿s David DeCastro.
In advance of the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston gives his take on six college prospects who are linked to the Ravensin the latest mock drafts from prominent national analysts.
In a couple of our recent NFL draft stories, we quoted Matt Williamson of ESPN's Scouts Inc. Williamson is a former scout for the Cleveland Browns who now evaluates current NFL players and college draft prospects for ESPN.com. He and I had a long conversation about the Ravens and their draft needs two weeks ago. Instead of focusing on just a few things that I asked Williamson about, here is the transcript of our entire conversation.
For Peter Konz, at least, it's by offering a quick fix and a long-term answer. With left guard Ben Grubbs off to New Orleans, the Ravens need immediate help at one interior line position. With center Matt Birk's uncertain future, they'll need help at another before long.
Each day this week leading up to Thursday's NFL draft, we will highlight one prospect whom the Ravens could draft with the 29th overall pick. Today's player is Wisconsin center Peter Konz. Konz, who declared for the draft after his junior season, is widely viewed as the draft¿s consensus top center.
The Ravens could use their 29th overall draft pick in next Thursday's first round on a guard or they could just as easily sign one of the available free agents at the position. Reid, however, isn't spending a whole lot of time thinking about either scenario. He's too busy trying to earn the position for himself.
Every weekday through Wednesday, the day before the first round of the NFL draft, The Sun will examine where the Ravens stand at each position, the likelihood that they will address that spot early in the draft and some of the prospects that they may consider. Today, we'll examine the offensive line:
The Baltimore Ravens have made at least one trade in each of the past 10 drafts and 14 of 16 overall. Their preference has been to trade back, but they can be aggressive when trying to secure a player they believe is special. And with eight picks this year, the Ravens have the assets to move around.
"We have to upgrade the offensive line," Ravens coach John Harbaugh saud during the owners meetings Tuesday at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. "I don't even know if we have a full complement of linemen to be on our 53-man roster right now."
Maybe it's because I was a star mathlete in high school, but I love numbers. And we've spent plenty of time crunching them these past 10 days while waiting for the Ravens to make moves -- or purposefully not make moves -- in the new league year. So if you're a fan of numbers, here is a handful of relevant numbers from this quiet free-agency period, at least in Baltimore.