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Undrafted Cornerbacks Chasing Great Opportunity

Posted May 22, 2014

Sammy Seamster, Deji Olatoye and Avery Patterson all know they have a chance at a roster spot.


Sammy Seamster never got that phone call from an NFL team telling him he had been drafted.

But as soon as the draft ended, the cornerback from Middle Tennessee State received more calls than his phone could handle. Seamster’s phone started lighting up with coaches and scouts across the league calling, and he took calls from more than 20 teams.

“It was real crazy,” Seamster said. “At one point my phone was messed up and it actually had two numbers on the screen at the same time. It was a crazy situation.”

He ultimately decided that Baltimore was the right fit. The Ravens didn’t draft a cornerback and they have just four returning cornerbacks on the active roster. 

Seamster knew he would have an opportunity to play his way onto the team.

“I felt like I had a good chance to make the team here,” he said.

Seamster isn’t the only undrafted cornerback who came to Baltimore with eyes on a roster spot. The Ravens made cornerback a priority position during the undrafted free agent recruiting process, and Oregon’s Avery Patterson and North Carolina A&T’s Deji Olatoye both joined the team hoping to get noticed. 

“It’s interesting, when you have a need at a position, and you don’t draft a guy, the interest from the undrafted free agents is pretty high,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Those guys make it every year all around the league.”

Seamster (6-foot-0, 200 pounds) and Olatoye, (6-1, 198) are both big cornerbacks known for press coverage.  A trend around the league seems to be teams shifting to bigger cornerbacks, and both fit that mold.

“They have long arms, they have pretty good hips, good feet, all of them have good ball skills,” Harbaugh said. “I think our scouts did a really good job of finding those guys.”

Olatoye also had a previous connection with the Ravens, as he played college ball with cornerback Jimmy Smith. Olatoye started his career at Colorado before transferring, and he has a close relationship with Smith. Olatoye was actually in Baltimore leading up to the draft getting some advice from his former college teammate.

“I went to school with him for two years and he actually took me under his wing at Colorado. Having the opportunity to play with him here is really nice,” Olatoye said. “It came down to here and Seattle pretty much, and having him here influenced it. Also there are only four corners on the active roster, so I saw that as an opportunity to get picked up.”

Patterson (5-8, 191) also has experience playing in a big-time college program as an Oregon alum. He played cornerback and safety in college, but the Ravens are working him at corner.

“He’s not as big, but he has really good feet,” Harbaugh said.

The other rookie cornerback is Tramain Jacobs from Texas A&M.

Undrafted players are always long shots to make the roster, but this group of cornerbacks has a chance to create a spot for themselves. The Ravens typically keep five or six cornerbacks, so those last few spots will be up for grabs throughout the summer.

“We’re friendly in that we’re all working together and helping each other, but we’re all fighting for the couple of jobs on this team,” Olatoye said.  “Metal sharpens metal. The better the competition between us, the better we’re going to be in the end.”

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