OWINGS MILLS - If outside linebacker Kamalei Correa is feeling the pressure of being the Ravens’ second-round pick, he is not showing it.
Check out Correa’s response Friday when asked how it felt to sign his contract before the start of rookie minicamp.
“First off, those taxes on that contract, that hurt,” Correa said with a deadpan delivery.
Then Correa turned more reflective.
“But on a serious note, it was very fun to get back out there and actually play some football again. I’m just so happy to be a part of the Baltimore Ravens. It’s just so surreal. I still can’t believe that I’m here. I’m just trying to soak in every moment, because I could be gone tomorrow.”
The Ravens are expecting Correa to be a cog in their defense as a rookie, particularly as a pass rusher. That’s why the Ravens chose Correa with the 42nd overall pick, after trading down twice, from No. 36, to No. 38, to No. 42. Correa had 20 sacks during his college career at Boise State, and had the kind of motor loved by Ravens coach John Harbaugh – relentless.
“I’m a see-ball, get-ball kind of guy,” Correa said. “I love to hit. I love to get to the ball.”
Yet, drafting Correa was a Ravens’ decision that will be monitored closely over the next few years. The Ravens could have stayed at No. 36 and taken a few other players who had been linked to them in mock drafts:
- After the Ravens traded down with Jacksonville from No. 36 to No. 38, the Jaguars drafted UCLA inside linebacker Myles Jack.
- After the Ravens traded down again with Miami from No. 38 to No. 42, the Dolphins took cornerback Xavien Howard from Baylor.
- Outside linebacker Noah Spence went No. 39 to the Buccaneers, after the Ravens passed on him at No. 36 and No. 38.
The Ravens felt Correa was the better choice for them over Jack, over Spence, and over Howard. Ravens’ outside linebackers Terrell Suggs (33 years old) and Elvis Dumervil (32 years old) won’t play forever. Correa’s addition is part of the Ravens hoping to get younger and faster on defense. The quicker Correa makes an impact, the less pressure there will be on Suggs and Dumervil to carry the pass-rushing load.
To make good on the Ravens’ confidence in him, Correa needs to be a player Ravens’ fans see consistently on Sundays in the opponent’s backfield - harassing quarterbacks, disrupting plays, making things happen in a way the Ravens’ defense couldn’t last season, especially after outside linebacker Terrell Suggs went down Week 1 with his Achilles injury.
For Correa, it all starts this weekend at rookie minicamp. And asked about the pressure, Correa had a succinct response.
“They’re paying me, so on Sundays I better show up and play,” Correa said.