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Shortening their odds


Shortening their odds

It was on one of the first days of training camp last week when Ravens coach John Harbaugh made this comment without prompting: This rookie class is the deepest one weve had since we have been here. Theres going to be some guys making this team that people hadnt heard of going in.

At the time, with camp just beginning and so many players littered across the practice fields at Owings Mills, it was hard to distinguish whom Harbaugh might be talking about. But its becoming clearer after more than a week of workouts.

Here are some of the candidates to continue the Ravens recent tradition (Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, LaQuan Williams) of finding undrafted rookie free agents who can contribute:

Bobby Rainey, RB, Western Kentucky

It was impossible not to notice Rainey at Tuesdays workout as he broke several long runs.

The short, quick Rainey, who rushed for over 4,500 yards in college, looks and runs so much like Ray Rice that he could probably play the double in a movie. His size kept him from being drafted, but like Rice, he just has that play-making knack.

Bobby has opened eyes. Bobby Rainey is a really good player, Harbaugh said. It just holds true year-in and year-out, the guys who are most productive in college, often and most times, are the most productive guys in the NFL. And here is a guy that people wanted to say didnt have this or that, but he did have about 4,000-plus yards in college. He is putting yards up out here.

Deonte Thompson, WR, Florida

The speedy wideout started making plays in OTAs and never really stopped. The inconsistency that knocked him out of the draft reared itself when he dropped a couple of balls in a practice last week, but he continues to stabd out.

He has done a good job, receivers coach Jim Hostler said. For a guy that was pretty much off the street coming in, hes done very well. He had some questions about how well he caught the ball. Was he going to be able to transition that to this level? And hes done great. Its been outstanding. Hes a football player. He understands fundamentals. He understands football. He can play fast. He has done a really outstanding job so far. His (issue) is going to be can he carry that over time?

Nigel Carr, LB, Florida State

Another guy that is impossible not to notice, as he is one of the loudest, most forceful players on the practice field unusual for a rookie.

Nigel is one of those guys that absolutely has a burning passion for this game, linebackers coach Ted Monachino said. He is attentive to detail in everything he does. Hes an over communicator, which is huge. At that position to be a mute is a problem. Nigel is an over communicator and thats great.

Jack Cornell, OL, Illinois

He burst out of obscurity when he earned snaps with the starters in the wake of Bryant McKinnies absence. Then Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti outed him in a radio interview as a favorite of GM Ozzie Newsome's.

Cornell faces tough odds, just like the others, but the Ravens are looking for offensive line depth.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

With training camp just six days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. Ian Rapoport reported that the Ravens have placed Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson and two others on the reserve/NFI list. He later added that Brown is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery but is "progressing well" and Ferguson is dealing with a "minor hamstring" injury.

2. The entire Baltimore Ravens class is officially under contract after the signing of wide receiver Miles Boykin. Boykin was a third-round pick out of Notre Dame.

3. Michael Vick joined The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Friday morning and when asked which young quarterbacks in the NFL most emulate his style, he answered: "Lamar Jackson" along with Kyler Murray and Cam Newton.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.


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A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

The number eight is sports royalty in the city of Baltimore thanks to Cal Ripken Jr.

If Lamar Jackson has the career many are hoping for, he’ll be another reason for that one day down the road.

For now, he’s a young, athletic quarterback entering his second season in Charm City. But his successful rookie year hasn’t been reflected in Madden NFL 20’s newest ratings.

Jackson came in with an overall rating of 76, tied for 24th among all quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, his athleticism is highly-regarded, as he leads all signal-callers in speed, acceleration, agility, and elusiveness.

Questions abound about his throwing abilities, leading to the low rating. But that’s not a concern for Jackson himself.

“I can’t feel no way,” the quarterback told media members prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles-Nationals game Wednesday night. “You know, I don’t make Madden. That’s them. But I feel like our team, we’re going to show ‘em this season.”

Jackson continued to praise the Ravens roster. When asked about the high ratings for teammates like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Earl Thomas, Jackson put his thoughts quite succinctly: “We look stacked!”

Of course, with speed and acceleration ratings like Jackson has, it’s fun to imagine how he might fit in on a baseball diamond as well.

“Whew, somewhere in the middle, to make a play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided when asked where the Ravens quarterback might play on his roster.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m a big football fan, so watched him play a lot. And if he wanted to play center field or up the middle, it’d be great,” Hyde continued.

The speedy quarterback agreed, though it came with a caveat.

“Probably,” Jackson quickly answered when asked about his best fit being center field. “But you know, I’m the Ravens QB right now, so I’m good.”

He doesn’t know what his walk-up song would be if he played baseball, but Jackson was definitive about one thing at least: his hot dog preferences.

“I don’t really eat mustard,” he emphasized. “So I just put ketchup, relish...I just go from there. Pretty standard.”

When he’s not eating hot dogs, Jackson is working hard to build chemistry with his new receiving corps, and he seemed optimistic about the results it will bring on the field.

“Looking pretty good,” he described. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”

Knowing how many dual Orioles and Ravens fans there are in Baltimore, Jackson was also happy to provide a little hope as the city’s attention starts to shift from baseball to football. He gave a message to O’s fans who have sat through months of losing baseball and are looking to the Ravens to bring winning back to the city.

“Look forward to us coming out and balling,” he said. “Can’t say too much right now, [the] season’s not here!”

The Ravens season will be here soon enough, and when it is, Jackson will be ready to go out and show both local and national fans what he can do, regardless of what his Madden rating says.