With 19 days until the NFL draft begins, here is another potential draft prospect for the Baltimore Ravens:


Position: Running back

School: Ohio State

Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 230

Round projection: Second

File this away: Hyde said he models his game after Ricky Williams and wears the same uniform number (No. 34) as Williams.

Good: Hyde is the consensus top running back in this year's draft. He runs angry with a powerful combination of size and drive. Known as a strong finisher, Hyde will drag tacklers for extra yards. It's difficult to stop him for a loss. Hyde averaged 7.3 yards per carry and failed to gain positive yards on just 12 of his 208 carries, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He has deceptive lateral agility for his size and has enough burst to get to the edge. Consistent production has been the calling card for Hyde, who became the first 1,000-yard rusher under Urban Meyer. He rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the last nine games in 2013, including two 200-yard performances.

Bad: Hyde was suspended first three games of 2013 season for an alleged bar altercation with a woman. Police closed assault case against Hyde when the woman decided not to pursue charges. There is some concern over Hyde getting winded in games. He only had nine career games with over 20 carries. There have been questions about his work ethic and eating habits in the past.

Bottom line: Running back should be among the Ravens' priorities because of Ray Rice's legal trouble and Bernard Pierce's injury history. Hyde is a perfect fit for Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme. He has patience to wait for creases and doesn't hesitate when they open up. But Hyde's off-the-field issue could scare off the Ravens after what has happened with Rice this offseason. The Ravens might not have a decision to make. Hyde might be taken early in the second round before the Ravens are on the clock with the No. 48 overall pick.

What Hyde said: "I feel like I came back stronger after the suspension. It was my last year. I wasn't going to get these games back. So my mindset going into those games was this is it. You have to give it your all. So ever game, I gave it my all."
It's that time again to click open our weekly Twitter mailbag for the Baltimore Ravens:


There's obviously no lingering hard feelings between John and Jim Harbaugh.

Two seasons after battling in the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will hold four joint practices after their preseason opener in Baltimore on Aug. 7, John Harbaugh said Friday night.

This is certainly not the Har-Bowl -- which was the unofficial name when the Ravens beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl in February 2013 -- but it's certainly a way for John and Jim Harbaugh to break up the monotony of the preseason.

After playing a preseason game on Thursday, the Ravens and 49ers will hold a light workout together at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday before conducting practices the next three days at the Ravens' Owings Mills headquarters.

"It's just going to be fantastic. I can't wait to do it," John Harbaugh told The Baltimore Sun in Oxford, Ohio, where he is going to have his statue erected Saturday at his alma mater, Miami (Ohio). "Dad is going to be out there. He's going to be the unofficial official."

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With 20 days until the NFL draft begins, here is another potential draft prospect for the Baltimore Ravens:


Position: Quarterback

School: Eastern Illinois

Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 226

Round projection: Second

File this away: Garoppolo broke all of Tony Romo's career passing records at Eastern Illinois.

Good: Garoppolo is as confident as any of this year's quarterback prospects who came from bigger programs. His game is based on timing and smarts. When watching him on tape, his quick release stands out the most. Garoppolo has good vision and anticipation, which leads to fast decisions. He has enough athleticism to escape the pocket and buy more time. ESPN's Bill Polian predicts Garoppolo will be a first-round pick.

Bad: He doesn't have an elite arm, which shows up in a lack of velocity on certain throws. Garoppolo's height and body size are good, but not ideal, for an NFL quarterback. His gunslinger mentality shows up when he forces passes in tight windows. Garoppolo needs to protect the ball better. He had the second highest fumble percentage of top quarterback prospects in the 2014 class, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Bottom line: There's a good chance the Ravens take a quarterback at some point in the draft. They have been a little disappointed with backup Tyrod Taylor's play in games, and they have to look to the future because Taylor is in the final year of his deal. By bringing Garoppolo in for a pre-draft visit, the Ravens obviously have some level of interest in him. That said, the only way the Ravens get Garoppolo is if he somehow falls into the fourth round, which appears very unlikely. Joe Flacco has never missed a game in his six-year NFL career, so using a Day 2 pick (second and third round) on a backup quarterback doesn't make sense when there are more pressing needs.

What Garoppolo said: "The exposure really helps a small school guy like me. It's tough for us to get our names out there. We're not always on ESPN and on TV, so every little bit of exposure like that helps get my name out there. Playing well in both the games (East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl) really helped me and mentally helped me, too."
The weekly Baltimore Ravens chat was not surprisingly loaded with draft questions. You can click right here for a full transcript. Here are some highlights:

Ryan (Baltimore): If Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is gone by No. 17, what would you think of the Ravens drafting Dennard or Gilbert if they are there? It would fill a need and give the Ravens a potential starter next year if they cut Webb.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I believe cornerback is the dark horse choice for the Ravens in the first two rounds. Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert are the top two corners in the draft. There's a chance both will be gone before the Ravens select at No. 17. I wouldn't have a problem with the Ravens taking either one in the first round. The Ravens need a nickel back this year and could use a starter in 2015, when Lardarius Webb's cap number increases to $11 million.

Bobby (Baltimore): What's more likely: the Ravens adding a cornerback in the third or fourth round or a defensive lineman?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Cornerback. Ravens are in good shape at defensive line with Brandon Williams and Kapron Lewis-Moore. There is more of a need at cornerback after losing Corey Graham.

Mark (Pennsylvania): Is there any chance the Ravens still sign someone like offensive tackle Eric Winston before the draft? It would give the Ravens only one real need at free safety heading into the draft.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Winston played six years for Kubiak, so there is a connection. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh recently said there are no current talks with him. So, don't expect anything to happen with him before the draft.

Eric (Bel Air): Are the Ravens considering drafting Terrance West to add depth at RB? I think he would be a great addition and impact our running game a lot! And theres not even question that the kid is a hard worker!

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): West is among the running back candidates that all teams are going to be looking at when it comes to the third and fourth rounds.

Jerry (Eastern Shore): When in the draft do you expect the Ravens to draft a tight end? Who do you think could be possible targets?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Here is how I see the TE class: Eric Ebron (first round), Jace Amaro (second round), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (second or third round), Troy Niklas (third round) and C.J. Fiedorowicz (third or fourth round).
The Baltimore Ravens picked up the fifth-year option on cornerback Jimmy Smith well before the May 3 deadline, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

This was never in doubt because coach John Harbaugh said at last month's NFL owners meetings that the Ravens would exercise it. The real question is whether Smith will play the 2015 season under that option salary.

[+] EnlargeJimmy Smith
Kiichiro Sato/AP PhotoRavens CB Jimmy Smith has held his own against the likes of Chicago star Brandon Marshall.
“We are hopeful that we can sign Jimmy long-term," Harbaugh said in late March. "That will be our goal.”

In 2013, Smith lived up to the expectations of being the No. 27 overall pick after a couple of up and down seasons. He not only emerged as the team's top cornerback in his first full season as a starter but he ranked among the best in the AFC North.

The key to Smith's development was staying healthy and gaining confidence. He made two interceptions and broke up 16 passes while limiting some of the best receivers in the league: Cincinnati's A.J. Green, Cleveland’s Josh Gordon, Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Chicago's Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.

The option will pay Smith somewhere between $6.5 million and $6.9 million, the average of the 25 highest-paid players at the position, with the top three excluded. Once the Ravens exercised the option, Smith's fifth-year pay in 2015 is guaranteed for injury. If he’s on the roster at the beginning of the 2015 league year, it’s fully guaranteed.

The Ravens would like to reach an extension with Smith because he's young (he turns 26 in July) and he's going to be hitting the prime years of his career soon. There's an added incentive to reduce that $6 million-plus cap number, but the Ravens have dealt with bigger financial burdens (Lardarius Webb's cap number is $10.5 million this season).

Jimmy Smith, though, isn't the Ravens' priority when it comes to extensions. Wide receiver Torrey Smith is entering the final year of his contract, so he's currently first on the pecking order.

The Ravens ideally would like to sign Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith both to long-term deals this year. If they can't sign either one, the Ravens know they can keep both around for the 2015 season if they use the franchise tag on Torrey Smith and let Jimmy Smith play out his option year.

This is an enviable situation for the Ravens to have. No one would've envisioned the Ravens picking up this option during the 2012 season, when Jimmy Smith couldn't beat out Cary Williams or Corey Graham for a starting job. Then, in two critical end zone plays against the San Francisco 49ers, Smith helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl and turned around his career in the process.

J.J. Watt has option exercised

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17

The Houston Texans have officially exercised the fifth-year option on defensive end J.J. Watt's contract for the 2015 season, a league source said.

The 2012 Defensive Player of the Year has 36.5 sacks over his first three seasons.

Teams have until May 3 to make a decision on whether to exercise the fifth-year option, which is guaranteed for injury only until the final day of the 2014 league year. It becomes guaranteed at the start of the next league year.

For players drafted in the top 10, the value of the fifth-year option is equal to the transition tag for their position during this offseason.

For players drafted with picks 11-32, the value of the fifth-year option is equal to the average of the 25 highest-paid players at their positions, excluding the top three highest players.

The San Diego Chargers have exercised the fifth-year option on defensive lineman Corey Liuget, and offensive tackle Tyron Smith's option will be picked up by the Dallas Cowboys, according to sources

The Baltimore Ravens announced they exercised the option on cornerback Jimmy Smith

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The Baltimore Ravens activated Rolando McClain off the reserve-retired list Thursday, two days after his disastrous first workout with the team.

It's unknown whether this is to allow McClain to participate in the team's offseason workout program, which begins Monday, or this is the first step toward the Ravens releasing the troubled inside linebacker. Ravens officials aren't providing any official comment on the move, which was reported on the NFL's transactions list.

Even if McClain reports to their offseason regimen, it doesn't mean he is a lock to make the Ravens' final roster. The Ravens signed McClain to a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum $700,000. It's a risk-free contract for the Ravens because it doesn't include any guaranteed money.

It also wouldn't be surprising if the Ravens cut McClain. Last month, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team would welcome him back if he proved that he had matured. On Tuesday, McClain was reportedly 22 minutes late for his workout with the Ravens and failed to complete the team's conditioning test. Later that day, McClain posted on Twitter: "No excuse for my failures. My success no apologies. I that I owe is absolute honesty. Keep it 100, but that's what they all say."

The Ravens have been interested in McClain because they want to improve their depth at inside linebacker. Alabama's C.J. Mosley, the top linebacker prospect in the draft, recently made a pre-draft visit with the Ravens, who hold the No. 17 overall pick.

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Tandon Doss arrested in Indianapolis

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis police have arrested Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Tandon Doss on a disorderly conduct charge, but he will not be prosecuted.

A police report says the 24-year-old Doss was "out of control" and arrested during a disturbance with another man Wednesday afternoon. The report provided no additional details on the incident. Police spokesman Sgt. Kendale Adams said he also had no details.

Adams said the Marion County Prosecutor's Office declined to file charges.

A Jaguars spokesman said they are aware of the incident but have no comment at this time.

A telephone message seeking comment was left with Doss' agent, Jared Fox.

Doss was a fourth-round draft pick out of Indiana by the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. Jacksonville signed him as a free agent last month.

Doss attended Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.

ESPN.com Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco contributed to this report.

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With 21 days until the NFL draft begins, here is another potential draft prospect for the Baltimore Ravens:


Position: Wide receiver

School: Texas A&M

Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 231

Round projection: First

File this away: Evans averaged 13.4 yards per target last season, best among wide receivers with at least 40 targets.

Good: Evans is the consensus No. 2 wide receiver in this draft behind Clemson's Sammy Watkins and has the tools to be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. He's an extremely physical receiver who uses his size and strength to simply bully defenders and beat defenders on jump balls. Evans is a productive playmaker, averaging 20 yards per catch last season. He has no fear going over the middle and is a terror to bring down after the catch. Evans takes pride in his blocking.

Bad: His temper got him in trouble on the field and raised questions about his maturity. Evans drew two personal fouls in Texas A&M's bowl game last season. He needs to develop as a route-runner and can be slow getting out of his breaks. Evans doesn't have elite speed and struggles to get separation deep downfield.

Bottom line: Evans was a popular pick for the Ravens in the earlier mock drafts, but it's highly unlikely he slips to the Ravens at No. 17 now. It looks like Evans will be taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 7. Other potential landing spots are the Buffalo Bills (No. 9), Detroit Lions (No. 10), New York Giants (No. 12) or St. Louis Rams (No. 13). If Evans and Watkins are taken in the top half of the first round, as expected, it would be a reach for the Ravens to take another wide receiver at No. 17.

What Evans said: "You know, I get a lot of Vincent Jackson comparisons, and that's a great comparison. But I think Brandon Marshall. He's vicious after the catch. He's a big, physical guy who can go up and get it. So, I've modeled my game after him since high school."
In Mel Kiper Jr.'s previous three mock drafts, he had the Baltimore Ravens going offense in the first round. He had the Ravens picking North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron in his first two mock drafts, and he went with Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks in his third one.

Kiper's latest mock draft is out on ESPN Insider on Thursday, Insider and he has the Ravens taking a defensive player with the No. 17 overall pick.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Baltimore Ravens were unable to reach an extension with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata despite offering a "lucrative, long-term" deal, according to the NFL Network. The Ravens are looking to reduce Ngata's $16 million cap number, which is the highest on the team and the second-highest for any NFL defensive tackle (only Ndamukong Suh's $22.4 million cap hit is higher).

Is Ngata a bad teammate for not helping out the Ravens? Does this mean Ngata doesn't want to retire a Raven like Terrell Suggs?

No, on both accounts. There's really no incentive for Ngata to agree to an extension this year. He is going to make $8.5 million in salary this season, and he knows the Ravens are going to have to pay him. The Ravens would only gain $1 million in salary cap space if they cut Ngata and would carry $15 million in dead money on this year's cap. In other words, the Ravens have no leverage and Ngata is making the smart business decision.

Ngata's inflated cap number has become a hot topic since Suggs signed his extension in February. But the contract situations with Ngata and Suggs are different. Suggs was entering the final year of his contract, and the Ravens would've created $7.8 million in cap space if they released him. In this instance, Suggs decided the Ravens' extension offer was better than any deal he would get elsewhere if he became a free agent.

Ngata could face a similar scenario next offseason when he is headed into the final year of his contract. He's scheduled to make $8.5 million again, but this time, the Ravens can free up $8.5 million in cap space if they cut the five-time Pro Bowl lineman. The Ravens now have some power in negotiations. Just like Suggs did this year, Ngata may have to determine whether he can make more as free agent than what the Ravens are offering.

The market may have been set this offseason for Ngata, who turns 31 next season. Based on the deals recently signed by Atlanta's Paul Soliai and Washington's Jason Hatcher -- two interior linemen in their early 30s -- Ngata can expect a deal that averages a little less than $7 million per season and includes around $11 million in guaranteed money if he became a free agent.

So, no one should count on an extension for Ngata this offseason. But no one should jump to conclusions about Ngata's future either. The Ravens and Ngata still have another year before tough decisions have to be made.
Here are my takes on some recent news with the Baltimore Ravens:

News item: There is speculation that David Carr could wind up being the Ravens' backup quarterback. Carr hasn't played in a game since 2012, but he's working out with his younger brother Derek Carr, a highly rated draft prospect, and has some history with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

Opinion: It's hard to be picky when the best remaining free agent quarterbacks are Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn and Rusty Smith. I would take Carr over them. The Ravens need to wait to see if they can draft a talented young quarterback or pick up someone after the draft. The Houston Texans could release either T.J. Yates or Case Keenum, both of whom have started under Kubiak, if they take a quarterback early in the draft.

News item: The Ravens announced outside linebacker D.J. Bryant signed his exclusive rights tender. He was on the practice squad in 2012 and spent last season on the injured reserve (left knee).

Opinion: Bryant remains a long shot to make the Ravens' roster this season because of their depth at outside linebacker. The Ravens return all five outside linebackers (Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, John Simon and Pernell McPhee) who were on the 53-man roster all last season.

News item: NFL Network's Albert Breer said the Ravens are looking for a starting running back considering Ray Rice's legal issues and possible suspension from the league.

Opinion: As I wrote Wednesday, running back has to be among the priorities for the Ravens because they don't know what they're going to get out of Rice this year or in the future. I expect the Ravens to start looking at running backs in the third round, when they have two picks.

News item: Joe Hortiz, the Ravens' director of college scouting, believes Notre Dame's Zack Martin can play guard or tackle in the NFL. "He may not fit the ideal tackle mold in that he's not 6-foot-7, 320 pounds," Hortiz said. "But when you watch him, he’s such an efficient player that you can't say he can't do it."

Opinion: Martin has become a popular pick for the Ravens in recent mock drafts, and there's a good reason for it. He could be the final piece in an upgraded offensive line. The Ravens re-signed left tackle Eugene Monroe, traded for center Jeremy Zuttah and gets back left guard Kelechi Osemele from season-ending back surgery. With Marshal Yanda at right guard, the Ravens should use a pick in the first or second round to find their fifth starting lineman.

For all of your Ravens news and analysis, remember to follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
With 22 days until the NFL draft begins, here is another potential draft prospect for the Baltimore Ravens:


Position: Tight end

School: North Carolina

Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 250

Round projection: First

File this away: Ebron is so athletic that he also lined up at defensive end in 2012 when North Carolina was thin at that position.

Good: Ebron is the best tight end prospect since Vernon Davis in 2006. His size, athleticism and speed makes him a matchup nightmare for defenses. Ebron has the quickness to make plays downfield and can accelerate after the catch. He has a wide catching radius, so you don't always have to put the pass right on his hands. Ebron makes one-handed grabs look routine. Last season, he broke Davis' ACC single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 973.

Bad: Ebron has concentration issues. He had the highest drop percentage (11 percent) in 2013 of all the top tight end prospects, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Ebron needs to be more physical when fighting for the ball in traffic. His effort as an in-line blocker has been criticized.

Bottom line: Ebron is still on the Ravens' radar even after adding Owen Daniels, who is only on a one-year contract. The odds of Ebron falling to the Ravens at No. 17 are just not in their favor. That the Ravens felt the need to sign Daniels might indicate they don't believe Ebron is going to make it to the bottom half of the first round. Ebron would have to slip past the Buffalo Bills (No. 9), Detroit Lions (No. 10) and New York Giants (No. 12).

What Ebron said: “Every team wants a complete tight end, an all-purpose tight end, not one that can just run down the seam and catch passes. They want a guy that can block, too. I tell them that I've been working hard on it, which I have, and that I'm not bad at it, which everyone thinks. But we'll see.”

Jarrett Bell discusses the disappointing workout turned in by retired ILB Rolando McClain as he began an attempt to return to the NFL after announcing his retirement last year.