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All Grown Up? Robert Griffin III ready to move forward as new, grown player with the Ravens

All Grown Up? Robert Griffin III ready to move forward as new, grown player with the Ravens

It's been over a year since Robert Griffin III was officially part of the NFL.

That changed Wednesday when RGIII made his first appearance as a Baltimore Raven at an introductory press conference.

Last week — to much surprise — the Ravens announced that they had signed the 28-year-old quarterback to a one-year deal worth $1 million.

The former second-overall pick has not played in an NFL game since Week 16 of the 2016-2017 season, and while he says he had opportunities during the 2017 offseason to sign with a team, the fit with an organization never seemed quite right until now.

"I picked the Ravens because I wanted to be apart of an organization that had an identity," Griffin said.

"And I think what I tweeted out, 'Play like a Raven' is that identity and I'm excited to get to work with these guys and really learn what it means to play like a Raven."

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Griffin, who in his rookie year as a Redskin threw for 3200 yards and 20 touchdowns before dealing with a several injuries that ultimately led to the demise of his time with the Redskins, says he's not only learned how to protect himself better but that he hasn't felt this good in a while.

"If I'm being 100 percent honest, I probably haven't felt this good since I came out of college. A year off of football can do that when trucks aren't landing on you every play. I feel good about this opportunity, I feel good about my ability and I just really want to get in and learn from these guys that have been here for a long time."

RGIII's injury spell began during the Redskins' 2012 Week 14 matchup with the Ravens when defensive end Haloti Ngata drilled the quarterback low, around his right knee, causing it to twist in ways knees are not meant to twist.

The Grade 1 LCL sprain kicked off his decline with the team, but he doesn't look back on that play with a foul taste in his mouth.

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"Nah, I mean I don't think that's necessarily bad history. I feel like if I was only planning to play a couple more years, maybe I would look at that as a turning point, but that's not my goal, not my focus. Hopefully this is something that can manifest and be a long-term thing, but right now all I can focus on is what I can do to help the Ravens this year and go out and prove it every single day and come in ready to compete."

One thing the Heisman Trophy winner made clear throughout the press conference is that he has learned from his past and is ready to move forward in this next chapter of his career.

“I think that's kind of what [the Ravens] are excited about, [which] is I'm not just relying on what I did in the past,” Griffin said.

“I want to show them the player that I am, the player that I can be moving forward. So it's time to let that stuff go and move forward as a new player, a better player, a grown player. And that's what I'm excited about and I'm glad that they saw that in me and have given me this opportunity.”

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The best quotes and one-liners from the Ravens pre-draft press conference

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USA TODAY Sports

The best quotes and one-liners from the Ravens pre-draft press conference

In less than three weeks there will be several new members of the Baltimore Ravens.

Ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft, General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Director of College Scouting, Joe Hortiz sat down to answer draft questions from both the media and PSL owners.

The team is coming off of a 9-7 season in which they missed the postseason for the third consecutive season, and after 22 years as GM, Newsome will be handling his last draft. A lot is riding on who they pick at No. 16 and throughout the draft.

Many attribute the Ravens missing the post-season of late to draft misses by Ozzie and Co.

2015 pick, Breshad Perriman has yet to prove why he is playing in the NFL and 2013 pick, Matt Elam had several disappointing seasons before his 2017 drug related arrest sealed his fate in the NFL. The GM accepts the blame is on him. 

“No doubt," Newsome said.

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 "The acquisition of players over the course – just like it was when we were having success – we were getting all the credit, and then we haven’t had the success. I need to take all the blame. And it falls right on me. So yes, John and his staff do an unbelievable job, but we have to do a better job of bringing in players. Whether that’s through the draft, through free agency or through trade, we have to do better, and that will help them to do better."

So with a new league year upon us, what can we expect from the team in this years draft and how does Newsome feel about his last ride?

Here are the best quotes and one-liners from the press conference that was kicked off with the surprise announcement of signing RGIII.

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— "So, you might be surprised at who we pick at 16 this year – if we pick at 16." Both Newsome and DeCosta hinted that the team could trade up or down in the draft, even saying, "If we pick in the first round." One thing they all made clear is that they have - and always will be-  interested in the best player available in the first-round. 

— "We have an opportunity here to really fix our team – which we need to do. We try to start to do that in free agency, but we look at the draft as a real opportunity for us to take the next step to be the team that we all want to be, That starts right now. I think we’ll worry about next year, next year."  — Eric DeCosta will take over the reigns as General Manager after the 2018 season, but it is clear that his focus is making the 2018 draft a success first. 

— “First of all, from my perspective, no. No, we will grade the players, set the board, and if there’s a quarterback that we feel that we can pick at any of our picks, we’ll do it." — After the surprise signing of RGIII to a one-year deal, the Ravens are not shutting down the possibility of drafting a young quarterback. 

— "I think that the wide receiver class … Is there a Julio Jones in this draft? I don’t know. We didn’t think there was an Antonio Brown when Antonio Brown was selected. So, you never know. The biggest thing we have to do is find guys that we like – good football players – and whoever we pick across the board, we’ve got to find the right guys." — DeCosta's thoughts on if the 2018 wide receiver and tight end draft class is weak.

— "We think that we should at least do our due diligence and consider a lot of different things, and we do that – whether it’s personality, whether it’s analytics, whether it’s profiling. It could be all of these different things. But, the biggest thing is, how does the guy play? Does he play like a Raven? And that will never change.” — How the draft process has changed throughout the years and if the team takes analytics into consideration more than in the past.

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— “What are they like on the clock? I’ll tell you, it’s like a volcano, kind of. It’s like festering, like, ‘Is this thing going to blow?’ It never quite blows, but there’s so much tension." — Harbaugh on the dynamic between Newsome and DeCosta in the draft room. At the end of it all, Newsome is always the one to pull the trigger. 

— "And I enjoy that aspect of it, just like I enjoyed competing on the field, because you’re still competing with 31 other clubs about getting it right. And that same enthusiasm, that same fear that I had coming out of that tunnel, I have it on Thursday nights now, especially when we get within an hour of our pick, because that’s when things start to happen." — What Newsome finds most rewarding about the draft year in and year out.

— “I just think that over the last 22 years, that for me, probably the most rewarding thing for me has been working with Ozzie, and I don’t see that changing. He said this to me one time: ‘His strengths are my weaknesses, and my strengths are his weaknesses.’ So, you know what? We’re a family, we want to win, and we’re competitive people. We believe in what we do, we want to be good, and we want to build a team that you guys are proud of. And I’ve got probably the best GM in the history of football. At least one of the top five, here right now, and I hope he always stays.”  — What DeCosta sees Newsome's roll being after the 2018 season.

— "I would hope not, because we’ve got some areas on offense that we think we can improve, based on the players in the draft. But I can’t control … I’ve always said I can’t control what those other 15 people in front of me are going to do." — Newsome on whether or not the team will have a defense-heavy draft similar to 2017. 

— "So, I think we’re in a good spot for a lot of different reasons. I think 16 is a good spot to be in this draft. It plays well to our needs and different strategies. There are a lot of different things at play, and I think it will be an interesting first round.”  — DeCosta's thoughts on wether or not No. 16 is a tough spot to trade out of being right in the middle of things. 

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2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup 5.0: Calvin Ridley leading the vote

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USA TODAY Sports

2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup 5.0: Calvin Ridley leading the vote

Four weeks from today there will be a new member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Will it be a wide receiver? An offensive lineman? A quarterback? Or will Ozzie and Co. surprise us with a defensive player?

With the better part of free agency behind us, a clearer picture has been painted at positional needs in the draft.

With the additions of Michael Crabtree and John Brown, how aggressively will the Ravens be with one of the few first-round wide receivers available?

Here is what pundits are not predicting for the Ravens at No. 16 post-free agency.

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NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig (Link) CBS Sports (Link) NFL.com (Link) Bleacher Report (Link) Sporting News (Link)

— Calvin Ridley (WR)

Ridley is seen as the only real first-round WR in the 2018 draft and the Ravens may not want to let him pass by for just that reason.

He had an underwhelming combine, running a 4.43 40-yard dash, recording a 31-inch vertical, a 110-inch broad jump and a 6.88-second three-cone drill. 

The bottom line on his draft profile says, "Ridley has game-changing talent complete with blazing speed and rare route-running ability for a college prospect. He ran the full route tree at Alabama, has experience working in a pro-style attack and is a plug-and-play starter on day one. He must improve his ability to defeat press corners off the snap or he'll become a feast or famine target. Ridley's elite speed and separation talent gives him the potential to become one of the more productive and dangerous receivers in the league."

Even with a mediocre combine, Ridley could bring a breath of fresh air to the Ravens' WR corps.

Standing also has the Ravens taking TE Mark Andrews in the second round

Andrews scored 22 touchdowns in three seasons at Oklahoma and could fill the need at tight end the Ravens haven't addressed in free agency. 

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Land of 10 (Link)

— Christian Kirk (WR) 

The 5-10, 201-pound junior finished with 71 receptions, 919 yards and 10 touchdowns at Texas A&M.

At the combine, Kirk ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, recorded a 35.5 vertical jump and a 7.09 second three cone drill. 

His bottom line states, "Kirk is a well-built, mentally tough slot target whose game is built around pace more than explosiveness. His lack of speed and length make him less likely to impact games down the field, but his footwork, route tempo and hands should give him an opportunity to find catches underneath. Kirk's ability to help in the return game is a plus, but the difference between average and good as a receiver could depend on finding the right fit."

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ESPN's Mel Kiper (Link)

— Mike McGlinchey (OL)

With the exit of Ryan Jensen, the Ravens are now in need of an offensive lineman.

Kiper says, “McGlinchey is a plug-and-play right tackle who would be playing on the same line as his college teammate Ronnie Stanley. McGlinchey played on the right side for Notre Dame two years ago, and he was dominant. Then he took Stanley’s spot at left tackle — and was dominant. This move would also allow Baltimore to keep Alex Lewis at guard instead of trying him at right tackle. Lewis could also move to center to replace Ryan Jensen.”

At the combine, McGlinchey put up 24 reps on the bench press, had a 28.5 inch vertical and a 105 inch broad jump.