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Ravens take OL Gradkowski in 4th

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Ravens take OL Gradkowski in 4th

At the State of the Ravens press conference in January, GM Ozzie Newsome made one promise about the teams 2012 roster.

We will have another center, he said.

Even though the team eventually re-signed incumbent starting center Matt Birk, Newsomes pledge led to months of speculation about the Ravens possibly drafting Wisconsin center Peter Konz with their top pick. Birk could mentor Konz and pave the way for a generational handoff at the position, the thinking went.

The Ravens didnt end up drafting Konz, but they did possibly address their future at center and make good on Newsomes pledge Saturday when they selected Delawares Gino Gradkowski with their fourth-round pick the 98th overall selection in the draft.

The 6-2, 300-pound Gradkowski the younger brother of NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski -- was an All-American who can also play guard, giving them another big body to throw into the mix in 2012 as they try to replace Ben Grubbs.

But he hopes to play center eventually.

I'm elated right now because Baltimore plays football the way it's supposed to be played," Gradkowski said Saturday.

The Ravens selected him with the pick they obtained from Minnesota Thursday night when they moved down six spots from the 29th overall selection to the 35th overall.

Gradkowski had worked out for the Ravens before the draft and seemed to know he was on their radar.

"Baltimore would be a great situation for me, he said an interview last month. To learn behind Matt Birk, it would be awesome to be able to pick his brain.

He didn't play at Delaware with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who also played for the Blue Hens. But if he ends up snapping the ball to Flacco, it would be a Blue Hen-to-Blue Hen snap.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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