5 Ravens Rookie Free Agents To Watch


A consistent strength of the Ravens has been the ability to find diamonds in the rough.

The Ravens have a long history of finding undrafted free agents that go on to have success in the NFL, including Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, Albert McClellan and Bart Scott.

There are some rookies this year that could add their names to that list.

"There's going to be some guys making the team that people hadn't heard of going in," Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the start of training camp.

So who are they?

Here's a look at some of the undrafted rookies who are making a name for themselves in the early part of training camp:

OT Jack Cornell

The Illinois product is making the most of his opportunities while filling in for injured linemen, and he has even caught the attention of General Manager Ozzie Newsome, team Owner Steve Bisciotti said in a recent radio interview.

"Ozzie actually likes that right tackle that's out there from Illinois undrafted," Bisciotti said.

Cornell, 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, has worked at right tackle while Michael Oher has taken over for Bryant McKinnie on the left side. Right tackles Ramon Harewood (ankle) and Jah Reid (calf) have missed time during camp, which has given Cornell the chance to run some of the first-[hyphen]team reps.

He has held his own against the first-team defense and appears to be picking up the offense.

RB Bobby Rainey

The quick running back has impressed the coaching staff.

At 5-8, 212 pounds, Rainey is the same size as franchise running back Ray Rice. And just like Rice, he doesn't seem intimidated by bigger defenders.

During Tuesday's practice, Rainey broke a run right through the middle of the second-team defense, and beat everyone to the end zone for a touchdown run of about 45 yards.

Rainey signed with the Ravens after a standout college career at Western Kentucky, where he collected more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns last season.

"Bobby Rainey is a really good player," Harbaugh said. "It just holds true year in and year out, guys who are most productive in college are often the most productive guys in the NFL. Here's a guy people want to say, 'He didn't have this or that.' But he did have about 4,000-plus yards in college and he's putting yards up out here."

WR Deonte Thompson

The speedy wideout from Florida caught the attention of coaches and media members since his first workout during rookie minicamp. A solid performance during that first minicamp earned him a spot on the roster, and he has continued to play well into training camp.

Thompson, 6-0, 203 pounds, has great speed and an ability to get open. In some reps with the first team, Thompson has also shown a solid chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco.

"He's done great," Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler said. "It's been outstanding. He's a football player. He understands fundamentals. He understands football. He can play fast. He has done a really outstanding job so far. His [question] is going to be: Can he carry that over time?"

K Justin Tucker

Tucker has shown throughout training camp that he has a big leg and is up for the challenge of battling incumbent Billy Cundiff for the job.

Through Tuesday's practice, Tucker has the upper hand on kicks. The rookie has missed just two field goals, compared to five misses for Cundiff. Tucker has the pressure of trying to unseat an eight-year veteran in Cundiff, but so far the rookie does not seem rattled by the competition.

Harbaugh and Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg have yet to indicate who has the edge in the battle.

"The kickers are performing well," Rosburg said Saturday. "It's early; they are getting a lot of work done."

LB Nigel Carr

Carr also made the roster after trying out during rookie minicamp.

Since then, the inside linebacker has continued to make plays during practice, coming up with a few interceptions and also doing a nice job of stopping the run since the pads came on over the weekend.

"Nigel is one of those guys that absolutely has a burning passion for this game," Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino said. "He is attentive to detail in everything he does. He's an over communicator, which is huge."

The Ravens already have Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain at inside linebacker, so Carr isn't getting many reps with the first team, but he is still making his presence felt on the second-team unit.

"Yeah, he is playing well," Harbaugh said. "The guy runs around and hits everything he sees. He's got a chance."

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