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Late For Work 5/8: Which Undrafted Free Agents Have The Best Shot To Make The Team?

Posted May 8, 2017

Ravens are excited about their undrafted wide receivers and defensive linemen. RB Stephen Houston to be released. More coming? Torrey Smith makes a huge donation. Budding rivalry in the AFC North … that doesn’t include the Ravens. John Harbaugh sends prayers for Steve Holcomb.

Which UFAs Have The Best Shot To Make The Team?

As Head Coach John Harbaugh told this year’s class of rookies, football is a meritocracy. The players who play the best will make the team – regardless of where, or if, they were drafted.

An undrafted rookie has made the Ravens’ 53-man roster for 13 years straight.

So, who will it be this year?

The Ravens’ 16-man class was signed Friday, and there are already some media projections.

It shouldn’t come as any big surprise that pundits like the idea of a wide receiver making the roster given that Baltimore didn’t draft any wideouts after losing Steve Smith Sr. (retirement) and Kamar Aiken (free agency).

On Saturday, Harbaugh spoke about the team’s ability to bring in a strong group of four wide receivers as rookie free agents.

“It is a little tougher when you draft two or three guys at a position to recruit free agents at that position, obviously,” Harbaugh said. “So, these guys, they see it and they feel like they have an opportunity to make this team. We have some good guys. They have looked good so far out here.”

Here’s who media members have their early eyes on:

WR Quincy Adeboyejo, Ole Miss
6-foot-3, 197 pounds; 2016 stats: 35 receptions, 456 yards, 1 touchdown

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: “He's the early favorite of the undrafted rookies to make the team. Adeboyejo was never the primary target for the Rebels, but he has speed and big-play ability. He ran the fifth-fastest 40-yard dash (4.42 seconds) among wide receivers at the NFL combine, and six of his 11 career touchdowns were 20 yards or longer. Adeboyejo was the Ravens' only undrafted signing who ranked on Todd McShay's top 300 prospects (he was No. 254).”

WR Tim Patrick, Utah
6-4, 208; 2016 stats: 45 receptions, 711 yards, 5 touchdowns

Baltimore Beatdown’s Matthew Cohen: “Clearly, Patrick possess the high end size the Ravens will like. Not only does he have great size, but he has experience against NFL cornerbacks, and has played well when facing them. Against USC in 2016, where Patrick saw a lot of Adoree’ Jackson, the Utah product had six catches for 100 yards, including hauling in the game winning touchdown in the final seconds, while being covered by Jackson.”

FB Ricky Ortiz, Oregon State
6-0, 230; 2016 stats: 5 receptions, 34 yards, 1 touchdown, 8 special teams tackles

Hensley: “Ortiz has a shot to make the team as a fullback after Kyle Juszczyk left in free agency. Known as a special-teams standout, he made eight starts at three different positions in college: tight end (six), fullback (one) and linebacker (one).”

The Ravens’ other two undrafted wide receivers are Tim White (Arizona State) and C.J. Board (Tennessee-Chattanooga).

White put up 3,381 all-purpose yards in two years and had a team-high 713 receiving yards last season. He’s also a punt and kickoff returner, and competed at the triple jump at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Board led his team last season with 725 receiving yards on 46 catches and five touchdowns, and is also a punt returner.

Harbaugh also mentioned Saturday that he feels good about the team’s undrafted defensive linemen after not drafting any defensive tackles. Those two players are Patrick Ricard (Maine) and Omarius Bryant (Western Kentucky).

Ravens Waive RB Stephen Houston; More Cuts Coming?

The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec expects some roster moves today as Baltimore officially signs a few players who came to rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. To create roster room, that also means cuts.

Zrebiec reports that the Ravens have already informed running back Stephen Houston that he will be released.

Houston, who was signed as an undrafted free agent last year, spent the majority of last season on the Ravens’ practice squad. He was initially signed last year when he was working as a strength and conditioning coach with the Indiana University men’s basketball team.

The Ravens’ room of running backs is now Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon, Danny Woodhead, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro and undrafted rookie free agent Taquan Mizzell.

“With Houston's release, it appears that the Ravens have at least three roster spots to sign tryout players,” Zrebiec wrote. “However, they could obviously create more room by releasing a few more players.”

Torrey Smith Makes A Huge Donation To BARCS

Even though he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles instead of the Ravens this offseason, wide receiver Torrey Smith continues to give back to the Baltimore community.

Smith was on hand for the BARCS Pawject Runway fundraiser Saturday night, and made a huge donation to the shelter afterwards, according to The Sun.

Smith and his wife, Chanel, covered the adoption fees for every dog and cat at the event and made an extra donation on top of that.

The Ravens were well represented at the event at Royal Farms Arena. Those who “modeled” the animals included Ronnie StanleyAlex LewisRyan JensenChris MooreCarl DavisWillie Henry, Maxx Williams, Albert McClellan, Bronson Kaufusi and Matt Judon. Former Ravens Smith and Lawrence Guy (New England Patriots) also participated.

Check back later for photos from the event.

Budding Rivalry Between Garrett And Steelers

Get out your popcorn, because there’s already some AFC North trash talk and it doesn’t involve the Ravens.

New Cleveland Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett has made it clear that he can’t wait to hit Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Immediately after being selected No. 1 overall, Garrett was asked which quarterback he was most eager to see on the field.

“Big Ben. ... I'm going to try to take him down,” Garrett said, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Garrett told Cleveland media that he's been watching Roethlisberger "for a very long time" and said “I finally get to face him.” Garrett also said he looks forward to scheming against the Steelers offensive line.

Well, the Steelers were listening.

“I was talking to [Maurkice Pouncey] after Garrett called me out,” Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week. “Pounce got a big kick out of it. All of my linemen enjoyed hearing it. They can’t wait to get started. I can’t, either.”

Right tackle Marcus Gilbert took to Twitter for a couple messages to Garrett:

The Steelers and Browns open the season against each other on Sept. 10 in Cleveland.

Harbaugh Sends Prayers To Holcomb Family

Olympic bobsledder Steve Holcomb was found dead in a dormitory at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Saturday. He was 37 years old.

The three-time Olympic medalist won gold during the 2010 Vancouver Games, ending a 62-year gold medal drought for America.

But before he did so, Holcomb took Harbaugh and former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron on a thrilling bobsled ride.

Holcomb was a Ravens fan, and had a sticker of a Ravens’ helmet on his bobsled (nicknamed Night Train). He had a connection to Baltimore through Under Armour.

After hearing of his tragic death, Harbaugh sent this message via Twitter:

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