Trace McSorley Jersey

The name of the game is having versatile players who can do multiple jobs for a team. Guys who can run and catch the ball offensively, or rush the passer and drop into coverage defensively are worth their weight in gold. However, the NFL may be seeing a new trend: athletic college quarterbacks who can do a little bit of everything. There haven’t been too many example of these guys just yet, but the Baltimore Ravens nabbed one in the 2019 NFL Draft in Penn State’s Trace McSorley.

McSorley, a three-year starter at Penn State and two-year captain for the Nittany Lions (2017, 2018), proved to be one of college football’s finest quarterbacks during his stint in Happy Valley. While his play did decline following the departure of running back Saquon Barkley to the NFL, he never lost his athleticism; a part of his game that will make his NFL career one to watch.

What makes Trace McSorley such an interesting case study is that there are almost no other examples of players like him. The best comparison, and one that has been said a billion times since the end of January, is to tje New Orleans Saints’ weapon Taysom Hill. Hill, similarly to McSorley, was a productive college quarterback at BYU who had supreme athleticism but not the arm talent to be an NFL quarterback. Hill wound up going undrafted in 2017, but he found himself a significant role with the Saints in 2018.

New Orleans was brilliant enough to recognize the mismatch that Hill provided them thanks to his intangibles and quarterbacking history. This allowed them to throw him onto the field and run all sorts of trick plays and unorthodox offensive lineups. The Saints even used Hill on kickoff returns from time-to-time. This may seem crazy, but the fact of the matter is that it was a successful experiment. Naturally, the rest of the NFL will want to copy them.

Now the decision for Baltimore to draft a quarterback in 2019 isn’t so crazy. It’s not because the team has questions with their current quarterback stable. Instead, it’s because the Ravens recognize the rare opportunity they have to turn Trace McSorley into a weapon most teams dream of having.

Daylon Mack Jersey

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Several months before he arrived at Baltimore Ravens rookie minicamp and stepped to a podium at the team’s headquarters Friday, Daylon Mack developed a hunch that he would wind up in this exact spot.

The 336-pound defensive tackle out of Texas A&M had the chance to work under Ravens assistant defensive line/outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins at the East-West Shrine Game in January. And Mack said Wilkins took a quick liking to him.

“After the first practice, he was like, ‘Hey, I called our people and said, ‘That guy plays like a Raven. We’re going to make him a Raven,’” Mack said with a wide grin in a small room at the Under Armour Performance Center on Friday.

Turns out Mack’s suspicion was right. So was Wilkins’ quasi guarantee. Despite carrying two talented defensive tackles on their roster, the Ravens used a fifth-round pick to draft Mack last month, welcoming a natural run-stuffer with a streak of pass-rushing ability onto the roster.

Mack’s time with Wilkins might’ve catalyzed his journey to Baltimore, but he said he needed to revive his college career about a year earlier to re-emerge as a bona fide NFL draft prospect. At Texas A&M, Mack saw his tackle and tackle for loss totals decline from his freshman to sophomore seasons and then again in his junior year.

In 2017, Mack was a draft eligible former five-star recruit who made just one start for the Aggies. His promise had faded. The prognosis for a professional career turned bleak.

But things changed for Mack when Texas A&M overhauled its coaching staff, he said. Jimbo Fisher replaced Kevin Sumlin as head coach and brought in a new crop of assistants who decided Mack needed to return to playing with fire and instincts.

Iman Marshall Jersey

Rookie cornerback Iman Marshall wasn’t watching the NFL Draft when the Ravens picked him in the fourth round. Marshall was at the movies, watching “Avengers: Endgame.”

Once the Ravens called, Marshall didn’t care about the next scene.

“I left!” Marshall said, smiling at the memory. “I had a party! It was a celebration after that.”

Now the plot thickens for Marshall, joining the Ravens’ deep cornerback rotation led by Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Jimmy Smith, and Tavon Young. Will it be difficult for Marshall to earn playing time right away? Yes. But Marshall will learn from one of the NFL’s best cornerback groups, while giving the Ravens added insurance in case of injury.

Marshall had a solid debut during rookie minicamp last week, defending wide receivers aggressively and catching the eye of coaches. After one play, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale gave Marshall a shout-out from across the field.

“Smart play there,” Martindale yelled toward Marshall.

“Thank you coach,” Marshall responded.

Whether it’s from a coach or a teammate, Marshall wants to absorb knowledge as quickly as he can, not just at cornerback but on special teams. That’s where Marshall may make his biggest contribution as a rookie. If that becomes Marshall’s primary role, he will embrace it.

“I feel like special teams is a key element of the game,” Marshall said. “It’s a situational game, and that’s a part of the game that has a situation every play, from a punt, kickoff, field positioning. In this game, it’s about controlling the yards. So, I’m excited to be a part of that, and I’m going to contribute early to the special team game.”

Ben Powers Jersey

Former Oklahoma offensive guard Ben Powers wasn’t the only lineman at his draft party whooping and hollering when the Baltimore Ravens took him in the fourth round Saturday. Powers invited one of his past Sooners teammates, Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown, to the event before he had an inkling about the impending reunion Baltimore.

Brown, a third-round selection in 2018, erupted when his NFL team selected his college buddy.

“He was yelling more than I was,” Powers said in a conference call with Baltimore-area reporters Saturday.

Brown then hopped on the phone to explain: “I don’t have a lot of best friends, and he’s one of my best friends. And to have him with me in Baltimore — it’s something that we’ve talked about playing together for a long time.”

The Ravens didn’t draft Powers because of his relationship with their starting right tackle, though. They scooped him up because Powers impressed their evaluators with his play and personality and because they to wanted to upgrade the interior of an offensive line that showed cracks down the stretch of last season.

In a wildcard round playoff loss in January, the Ravens struggled to block Los Angeles’ talented pass rushers, particularly when they lined up over center or left guard. Quarterback Lamar Jackson went down for a season-high seven sacks, and Baltimore’s running game failed to gain a semblance of a rhythm.

The Ravens wouldn’t have drafted Powers if they didn’t think he could offer much-needed reinforcements.

Powers is “a very intelligent, smart, tough, aggressive player,” general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He fits our mentality.”

Justice Hill Jersey

Planning to rely heavily on their running game next season, the Ravens added another versatile back to their rotation.

The Ravens selected Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill with their first fourth-round pick (113th overall). Hill gained more than 1,000 yards rushing in two of three seasons at Oklahoma State and was a strong runner between the tackles, plus he has the shiftiness to make tacklers miss outside.

Hill said he did not make a pre-draft visit with the Ravens, nor was he aware the Ravens had interest. But he was excited to be headed to Baltimore.

“I just try to be versatile,” Hill said during a conference call. “I just want to be able to run the ball inside, outside, catch the ball, do anything they want me to. I just want to make plays, get the ball in the end zone and win games.”

Even after the Ravens signed running back Mark Ingram during free agency, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he would not mind adding another back to the rotation that includes Ingram, Gus Edwards,[comma] and Kenneth Dixon. At 5-foot-10, 198 pounds, Hill ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, as the Ravens continue to add more speed to their offense.

Hill said he models his game after Saints Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara, and is excited to be joining a run-heavy offense. Hill looks forward to playing with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

“It’s going to be nice having a dual threat,” Hill said. “Him being such a dangerous runner, he’s a great quarterback altogether. He’s won the Heisman Trophy, been to the top level, led the team last year. It’s going to be nice being in the backfield with him.”