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.”

Miles Boykin Jersey

Miles Boykin: “I didn’t see it until after the draft, but that to me just makes this place that much more special. That means there was 499 people who went through the same thing I went through you know the rigorous class load, and obviously the schedule that we go through in just playing at an elite level and going to school at an elite level that shows that this place is truly special.”

Jack Nolan: “Now where were you when you got the phone call from the Ravens and what was that moment like both for you, your family, and your friends?”

Miles Boykin: “Yeah, so I was watching with my mom, my dad, my brother, my grandparents and we were just sitting there just watching the draft and it was funny because the TV was kind of a little bit late, so it was really three picks ahead of when they were actually picking because Baltimore traded to get me. They traded to move up to get me.”

Miles Boykin: “So, when they called me, I didn’t know who was calling my phone. I didn’t know what team was getting ready to draft me but then, when they told me, it was awesome. My mom started crying.”

Miles Boykin: “I couldn’t really hear what they were saying at first because everybody was yelling. But, yeah, it was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Jack Nolan: “You lead a very talented Notre Dame team last season, 872 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns. Let’s talk about these past few months since the Cotton Bowl. What was the piece of information or the pieces of information that you received that convinced you that you should go into the draft this year?”

Miles Boykin: “Well yeah, just talking with my family. The biggest thing is that they wanted what was best for me. I’m graduating in May. Talking to my coaching staff and just getting feedback from people that I trust, that you know the biggest thing for me was that I have my degree so there’s no way I could make a wrong decision.”

Miles Boykin: “It really just came down to you know what I wanted in football and how I picture myself in the league, and you know I think things worked out great for me. You know being selected in the third round, you know I was a top 100 player in the country this year, so for me it’s all about what was best for me and my family and now moving forward and how can I continue my football career.”

Jaylon Ferguson Jersey

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When Jaylon Ferguson’s name gets called at the 2019 NFL Draft, there’s a chance the former Louisiana Tech defensive end won’t have a clue he’s been drafted into the league. The rest of the NFL community might know when and where Ferguson is drafted before he himself finds out.

As Ferguson’s agent Safarrah Lawson told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday, Ferguson is without cell-phone service at the moment because he’s in Ruston, Louisiana helping those who have been affected by a tornado that has resulted in two confirmed deaths in Ruston. Louisiana Tech announced that it was closing on Thursday due to a “significant amount of damage” that occurred Wednesday night, including downed power lines and trees.

According to Schefter, Ferguson is searching for missing people and delivering water to those in need.

“Instead of having a draft party and celebrating a lifelong dream, he’s out helping other people,” Lawson said, via ESPN. “It speaks to this young man’s character.”

Lawson said Ferguson is OK and that his home isn’t lacking power.

“Hopefully his cell service will be restored soon so he can find out where he’s drafted,” Lawson said.

Entering the first round on Thursday night, Ferguson is expected to be selected at some point in the second round on Friday after a successful four-year career at Louisiana Tech that saw him rack up 45 sacks (an NCAA record) and 67.5 tackles for a loss. Given how unpredictable the draft always is, there’s a chance Ferguson could get selected late in the first round.

Ferguson, though, has had his character questioned throughout the draft process. Most notably, he was disinvited from the combine due to a simple battery conviction stemming from a fight at a McDonald’s that happened during his freshman year of college. He was also charged with public intoxication during his time at Louisiana Tech. Ferguson was eventually allowed to take part in medical tests and to speak with teams at the combine, but he was not permitted to participate in any on-the-field drills.

“I explained that was at a different point in my life. I was 18, and I’m not really a bad guy,” Ferguson told The Associated Press at the time. “As I explained the story, I think a lot of people understood.”

In Ryan Wilson’s recent seven-round mock draft, he has Ferguson going to the Eagles in the second round with the 57th overall pick.

Marquise Brown Jersey

Antonio Brown is one of the faces of the Oakland Raiders and tried to make his presence felt for the franchise during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. During the draft, Brown made it clear that he wanted his new team to go out and draft his cousin, Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown.

Obviously, that didn’t end up happening. Oakland took Alabama running back Josh Jacobs and the Baltimore Ravens ended up selecting Brown’s cousin, Marquise.

Oakland very well knew what Brown was wanting. He went ahead and took to Twitter to share his thoughts that the Raiders should take his playmaking cousin.

If the two Brown’s had been able to play together, it would have been a nightmare for opposing defenses to defend against. Both players possess top-notch speed and playmaking ability and would be tough covers for any cornerback. Very few teams have good enough corners to cover two players with the kind of skill-set that Antonio and Marquise have.

As it stands, Antonio will have to settle for watching his cousin terrorize his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, twice each season. Baltimore needed playmaking badly and Marquise is going to be a massive addition for their offense.

Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown are going to be a deadly duo for a long time. Derek Carr and Antonio Brown are going to look to turn the Raiders around and get them back into playoff contention.

No matter what ends up happening, thinking about “what if” the two Brown’s had teamed up will still be interesting.

Brandon Williams Jersey

No, the Buffalo Bills did not make a bold move up the NFL draft board Thursday night.

That possibility had social media buzzing after it was speculated before the start of the draft that the team might have a potential deal in place with the AFC East rival New York Jets for the third overall pick, with the expected target being Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.

Instead, the Jets took Williams, and the Bills stuck with the ninth overall selection, eventually using it on Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver. General Manager Brandon Beane, who’s never been shy about making a deal, addressed the possibility.

“Yeah, as we always do, there was a lot of exploring in front of us, some of it you’re also trying to figure out what people are going to do,” he said. “That report was played up much higher than it was. There was never any exchange of compensation or anything like that. That’s when, to me, you’re getting serious on a trade if you start talking parameters of what it’s going to take to move up and move back.”

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan told New York reporters, “There was never a deal we felt good moving back from. We’re very happy with the player that was available.”

Beane said he also felt comfortable staying at nine and not deeply exploring trade-down options.

“I realized really this week that nine was going to be a very valuable spot,” he said. “Denver could have potentially been in the market for a quarterback, I think right after we picked Pittsburgh traded up. There was a lot of action either way that you could’ve done, but we were set that if there was a guy there that we felt worthy of the pick, that we were going to take that and not chance losing him.”

Brent Urban Jersey

The New York Jets have signed Ty Montgomery to a one-year deal, making him Le’Veon Bell’s primary backup.

Midway through last season, the Ravens traded the Green Bay Packers a reported seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft in exchange for Montgomery. Baltimore was looking for a pass-catching tailback to help Joe Flacco and the offense.

Montgomery and Flacco never got to play together, however, because Flacco suffered a hip injury against the Steelers just days after the trade, when Montgomery was inactive for his first game in Baltimore.

In a Lamar Jackson-led offense, and with the emergence of Gus Edwards and then Kenneth Dixon, Montgomery had a limited role. In six games played, he had just 15 carries for 83 yards and 10 catches for 65 yards.

It remains to be seen whether Montgomery’s deal would be big enough to register in the compensatory pick formula. The Ravens are currently projected to get a third-round pick in the 2020 draft, and unrestricted free agents signing elsewhere could add more picks.

Baltimore’s other remaining unrestricted free agents are defensive end Brent Urban, tight end Maxx Williams and running back Javorius Allen.