When the Ravens are on the clock at pick No. 22, they could have a few local dishes to choose from. Pick your flavor.
In the first round of the NFL draft, a strong case could be made for cornerback Deonte Banks (University of Maryland), wide receiver Jordan Addison (Frederick, Md.), or defensive lineman Bryan Bresee (Damascus, Md.), to be the Ravens' top pick.
The state'syouth and high school football power and resurgence of its university's football program gives this year's NFL draft a tinge of Old Bay.
Banks, who is one of the most popular mock draft picks for the Ravens, grew up in Baltimore and started playing football at the Parkside Youth Program. He then attended Edgewood High School, just up I-95 in Harford County.
Banks was just a three-star prospect and the No. 77 cornerback in the 2019 recruiting class. The only FBS offers he had were from Buffalo and Kent State before Maryland offered him before his senior season.
He said it was a "dream" to play for the Terps and echoed that sentiment about the Ravens while speaking with reporters at the Combine.
"It'd be a dream come true, to be honest," Banks said. "I already played at home for Maryland. Then play for the Ravens? It would be a real blessing."
Addison grew up in Montgomery County before playing his high school ball at Tuscarora in Frederick, Md., where he also won the 2019 3A state championship in the long jump. He was a four-star recruit and chose Pittsburgh over the Terps and Notre Dame.
Addison has played all over the country. He broke out playing with current Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh, winning the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top wide receiver. Addison posted 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns that season. After Pickett went to the NFL, Addison transferred to USC and teamed up with Caleb Williams for his final college season.
Now Addison could come back to Maryland where it all started.
"That's the home team, so growing up right there and playing for them, a lot of my family would be able to make that game easily," Addison said at the Combine. "Playing right there, that would be probably a dream come true."
Bresee was the biggest recruit of them all coming out of high school. In fact, he was the top recruit in the country at any position, ranking one spot ahead of Alabama quarterback, and presumptive first-overall draft pick, Bryce Young.
Bresee grew up in central Maryland, where he played football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer and basketball. But football was his first love. He started his high school career at Urbana High School in Frederick County, but after his coach became the Terps' director of player personnel, he transferred to Damascus for his final three seasons.
As a sophomore, Bresee helped Damascus to a 14-0 record and the 2017 state title. As a junior, he was named the Montgomery County 3A MVP and Gatorade Player of the Year in Maryland. As a senior, Bresee led Damascus to a 13-2 record and the 2019 state championship. He earned multiple All-American honors, including the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Bresee had his pick of any college program in the country. Maryland was the first to offer him, but he ultimately chose Clemson over Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, which were his other finalists.
It wasn't a smooth ride through Death Valley. Bresee's finest season was his first, when he set college career-highs in tackles (23), sacks (4.0) and tackles for loss (6.5). He missed most of his sophomore year due to a torn ACL, then missed a chunk of time last season due to a kidney infection.
In September, he tragically lost his younger sister, Ella, at just 15 years old to brain cancer. Thatbrought Bresee back home to Maryland as much as possible, and now, if the Ravens were to go outside the box with their first-round pick, he could be a lot closer to family once again.
The Ravens will have numerous other chances to take prospects with local ties. In addition to Banks, the Terps are expected to have perhaps six other prospects drafted: offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan, cornerback Jakorian Bennett, wide receivers Rakim Jarrett, Jacob Copeland and Dontay Demus Jr., and kicker Chad Ryland. A few other Terps will likely sign with teams as undrafted free agents.
Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said the number of draftable Terps this year "speaks to the job" that Maryland Head Coach Mike Locksley has done in his four years at the helm.
"Having seen him [Locksley] over the years and watched him, where he's been, he's always been a great evaluator of talent and recruiter, [and he] has always produced players at the schools he's been at," Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz added. "He's done a great job building that program and adding, really, NFL talent to the roster. Maryland has always put out some good players, but it seems like the group has grown as he's been there."
This is Locksley's first recruiting class at Maryland to enter the NFL.
"I think it shows the trajectory of what our program can be because a lot of those guys weren't the names you heard about on signing day when they came out of high school," Locksley said as spring practices began last month. "It's a testament to the type of program we're building here with the development of our players. You can come here and be developed by great coaches, great facilities and strong academics and have an opportunity to live out your dreams."
Here's some more prospects with Maryland ties that could be drafted this weekend:
- CB Cam Smith, South Carolina (three years at Meade Senior HS)
- RB Sean Tucker, Syracuse (Owings Mills, Calvert Hall HS)
- RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota (Baltimore, Good Counsel HS)
- OT Joey Fisher, Shepherd (Hagerstown, Clear Spring HS)
- C Olu Oluwatimi, Michigan (Upper Marlboro, DeMatha HS)
- S DeMarcco Hellams, Alabama (Washington, D.C., DeMatha HS)