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9 Cool Facts About the Ravens' Nine Draft Picks

C Nick Samac
C Nick Samac

The rookies have arrived at the Under Armour Performance Center eager to get to work and show off their skills during Rookie Minicamp.

But what makes the guys stand out of the field?

Here are some things to know about the nine members of the Ravens' 2024 draft class:

CB Nate Wiggins

Despite being drafted for his quickness on defense, Wiggins had a different position in mind for himself during his youth football days in Atlanta. Wiggins was inspired by his fellow Westlake High School alum and former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

"I wanted to be Cam Newton," Wiggins said at his introductory press conference. "Turns out, I'm a cornerback."

Before making a name for himself on defense, Wiggins also wanted to try his hand at wide receiver due to his speed. His mother, however, convinced him to stick with defense, citing Wiggins' size and speed as differentiating factors among other cornerbacks his age.

OT Roger Rosengarten

Although Rookie Minicamp will be his first time taking an NFL practice field, Rosengarten has gotten his fair share of practice among NFL greats.

The offensive tackle played under three-time Super Bowl champion Ed McCaffrey for his final two seasons at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo. McCaffrey's sons, Luke and Dylan, played alongside Rosengarten in a Shanahan-style offensive system. 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey graduated a few years ahead of Rosengarten.

Rosengarten can't seem to avoid the McCaffrey clan, as Luke was drafted to the nearby Washington Commanders to close out the third round of the draft.

OLB Adisa Isaac

Being drafted to the NFL was a dream come true for Isaac, who predicted he would make it to the league back in the fifth grade.

When Isaac was in elementary school, his mother, Lisa Wiltshire-Isaac, bought him a book to commemorate each passing school year. The two were diligent in filling out the book, including a new photo of him and filling out the question beneath it.

"In fifth grade, the question was, 'What is your dream?' And he wrote that his dream was to go to the NFL," Wiltshire-Isaac told Penn Live Patriot News. "Who knew that he would get this far?"

Isaac is the third of Wiltshire-Isaac's four children, and she is a special education teacher in New York City. Isaac's three siblings, older brothers Kyle and Y'ashua and younger sister Tadj, are all non-verbal with special needs.

"I love them to death, and I thank them for just the motivation and inspiration to be in my life," Isaac said in his post-draft press conference. "I thank them for everything. They are the reason I'm doing everything I do."

WR Devontez Walker

Walker has had a tumultuous journey to the NFL, but through it all he has kept family at the forefront of his mind.

Walker's biggest fan has always been his grandmother, Loretta Black. When Walker was in high school, Black required multiple surgeries on her hip and knee. Walker became her primary caregiver, also balancing school and football. When Walker suffered a knee injury before his first college season, he opted to stay home instead and take care of Black, while working at Bojangles to pay for his own rehab.

Due to injury struggles and the pandemic, Black never had the chance to see her grandson play in college. So when Walker entered the transfer portal for the second time in 2022 and received an offer to play for North Carolina, the chance to play in front of his ailing grandmother was something he couldn't turn down.

"She is my rock, my everything, and I wouldn't be where I am today without her," Walker told ESPN. "She took care of me when I was younger and being away from her and the rest of my family was very challenging and hard to deal with."

However, the NCAA initially denied Walker's transfer request because of new rules regarding two-time transfers. After several appeals and backlash regarding the decision, the NCAA reversed its decision and deemed Walker eligible to play for the remaining eight games of the 2023 season.

Black finally got to see Walker play in his debut for the Tar Heels, in which North Carolina defeated Syracuse.

CB T.J. Tampa

Aside from being dubbed one of the biggest steals of the draft, Tampa is being talked about for his interesting name.

Born Marques Tampa after his father, the Iowa State draft pick has gone by T.J. his entire life. Tampa explained the acronym stands for "Tampa Jr."

"I didn't come up with the nickname, I just kind of grew up on it," Tampa said in his post-draft press conference.

Although born and raised for much of his life in Atlanta, Tampa ironically moved to St. Petersburg, across the bay from his namesake city, with his father his sophomore year of high school.

RB Rasheen Ali

Although he's not related to boxing great Muhammad Ali, boxing does run in Ali's DNA. His father, Ra'sheen, competed as an amateur boxer with USA Boxing in his youth and now owns a boxing gym in the family’s home in Cleveland.

Throughout his youth, Ali followed in his father's footsteps and competed in junior tournaments around the Midwest.

"That was the goal, for him to be the boxer," the elder Ali said in an interview with Cleveland19. "I mean because, I boxed, but once your career is over you try to duplicate it but ten times."

A 2017 West Virginia boxing tournament loss his junior year of high school convinced Ali to trade in his boxing gloves for football pads.

While he dabbled in youth football, Ali hadn't played since his freshman year of high school, and even then, he rarely saw the field. Upon his return his senior year, Ali rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns.

"I ain't going to lie," Ali said in an interview with the West Virginia Herald-Dispatch. "My Dad has a lot to do with how I am today. It definitely made me mentally tough because if you can sit in the ring and fight somebody, you can definitely run up and down a football field with a team of people."

QB Devin Leary

Despite receiving nods for his throwing power, Leary throws with his non-dominant right hand. The South Jersey native writes with his left hand but learned to throw with his right while using his brother's baseball glove as a child.

Raised in a football family (his younger brother Donovan is a quarterback at Illinois), Leary expressed confidence in his abilities as a passer during his post-draft press conference. "The strength for me is pure arm talent," Leary said. "I truly believe that I throw the football not like many people in this world. It's something I pride myself on is being able to fit the ball in tight windows."

C Nick Samac

When he's not on the field, Samac is a talented musician. The Michigan native shares videos of himself jamming out to popular artists' music, including Noah Kahan, Zach Bryan, and Coldplay, in videos posted to his TikTok account.

Along with singing, the Day 3 pick also plays the guitar.

The talent runs in the family, as Samac’s father Joe also has pipes.

While he hasn't covered shared any opera covers yet, could a duet with Justin Tucker be in the works?

S Sanoussi Kane

The Ravens used their last pick in the 2024 draft to make history by selecting Kane in the seventh round, marking the first time Baltimore has ever drafted a player from Purdue.

Kane is not the first Purdue player to play for the Ravens, however. Both Ravens Super Bowl winning teams had safeties from Purdue with Rod Woodson (2000) and Bernard Pollard (2012). Kane is hopeful he will follow in their footsteps.

"Both of them got Super Bowl rings, you feel me?" Kane said on Glenn Clark Radio. "Maybe a Purdue safety is what we need to get over that hump."

As a seventh-round draft pick, the Harlem native is also inspired by former Raven Geno Stone, who was also a seventh-round pick in 2020.

Despite a tumultuous start to his career that includes being waived by the Ravens during his first year, Stone broke out last season, recording six interceptions in the first nine games. He departed the AFC North-rival Bengals in free agency.

"He worked through all the bumps and bruises he had in his career, and now he's making a lot of money playing this game for the Bengals," Kane said. "Obviously, we don't want him to go to the Bengals, that's a division rival, but definitely inspirational. Hopefully I can carve out a path similar to the one he carved out for himself."

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