The NFL Combine kicked off Wednesday, with coaches and general managers from every team in the league taking the podium.
Here's some other stuff we learned on Day 1:
1. Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta was impressed by how left tackle Ronnie Stanley finished the season, which could strengthen his case for a contract extension. Stanley is signed through next season, with the Ravens having a one-year option for 2020. DeCosta says keeping the Ravens’ young talent is a priority, which was reflected when the team re-signed slot cornerback Tavon Young last week. The 24-year-old Stanley was the sixth-overall pick in the 2016 draft, and he has solidified the team’s left tackle position by starting 42 games over the past three seasons. DeCosta declined to discuss if the Ravens would pick up Stanley’s fifth-year option, but he commended Stanley for his solid play.
“I think we have a lot of different options with Ronnie,” DeCosta said. “I think he's playing extremely well, and I love the way that he finished the season. He really built on the successes that he had two years ago, and we're excited about him moving forward. He's a great young man. He's motivated. He's a good player at a really, really important position, so we'll have those discussions, I think, at some point soon."
2. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh continued to speak out strongly in favor of using more replay technology to help officials make the right call. The non-call of what should have been pass interference late in the NFC Championship game this year may have cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl. With replay technology available, Harbaugh believes the NFL has an obligation to take full advantage of it.
3. While Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle are free agents, tight end is not a glaring position of need for the Ravens at the combine because they drafted two talented tight ends last year – Hayden Hurst (Round 1) and Mark Andrews (Round 3). Hurst will be full recovered from August foot surgery next season, and Andrews had a strong rookie year. Harbaugh expects both to improve.
“Our two young tight ends, we’re looking for a big jump,” Harbaugh said. “In your first season, it’s all new, the next day is new. You’ve never been there before throughout the course of your season. These guys have been down this road now one time. Usually the biggest jump is between the first year and the second year in terms of production.”
4. The Philadelphia Eagles have decided not to use the franchise tag on quarterback Nick Foles, and will allow him to become a free agent. Foles was the most valuable player in Super Bowl LII, and played well again this past season subbing for injured Carson Wentz, helping the Eagles reach the playoffs again. However, the Eagles are moving forward with the younger Wentz as their starter. There was a lot of discussion earlier this offseason that Foles would impact Joe Flacco’s status this offseason. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Jacksonville Jaguars are the most likely landing spot.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert does not appreciate any narrative that suggests Head Coach Mike Tomlin has lost control of the locker room or that the team’s locker room is drama-filled. Star wide receiver Antonio Brown is on the trading block, and star running back Le’Veon Bell will be a free agent after sitting out the entire 2018 season.
"I really don't agree with the perception that there is huge drama within the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room," Colbert said.
6. Cincinnati Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin denied recent reports that wide receiver John Ross was is on the trading block. “We have had no discussions internally or externally on John Ross, so I don't know where that came from,” Tobin said. “It's fake news maybe is the best way to put that.”
7. New Oakland Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock endorsed Derek Carr as the team’s franchise quarterback, despite speculation the team might move in another direction. “We’ve got a young quarterback that we think is a franchise quarterback that’s going to be 28 years old in March,” Mayock said. “I think it’s really difficult to try and improve over a franchise quarterback like the one we have in our building right now.”
8. Whether or not the Alliance of American Football has caught your attention, it has caught Harbaugh’s. He says the Ravens are keeping an eye on players in the first-year league that are showing potential to be NFL players.
“Absolutely. Our scouts know all the players in the AAF, they’ll know all the players in the new XFL, and we’ll be all over that stuff, I promise you,” Harbaugh said. “You look for players, and players develop. Sometimes they’ll develop after they get out of college.”