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Late for Work 5/5: David Ojabo Says He Anticipates Returning Early in Season

OLB David Ojabo

David Ojabo Says He's Progressing Well, Anticipates Returning Early in Season

After the Ravens drafted outside linebacker David Ojabo, who is recovering from an Achilles tear suffered on March 19, General Manager Eric DeCosta said team doctors are "optimistic that at some point this year he'll have a chance to play."

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Ojabo took it a step further. The second-round pick said he's hopeful about returning to the field sooner than later – perhaps even being ready for the start of the season. (The first Sunday of the season is Sept. 11).

"So far no pain, good flexibility, already biking," Ojabo said. "[Los Angeles Rams running back] Cam Akers busted it and played in five and a half months. That lands me at August, September, maybe even October. Season's still going. So, yeah, I anticipate playing."

Ojabo is correct about Akers, who suffered a torn Achilles in late July, was put on the active roster on Dec. 25, and played in four postseason games to help the Rams win the Super Bowl.

In 2012, former Ravens All-Pro outside linebacker Terrell Suggs suffered a torn Achilles in early May and returned to action in late October.

DeCosta said he expects Ojabo to "come back with a vengeance and play outstanding football," and Ojabo seconded that opinion.

It's not like Ojabo hasn't already overcome his share of adversity.

"Before I always get a big win, God always takes something away from me," Ojabo said. "Came over from Scotland, didn't get no offers, had to switch sports. Boom. Found football, went to Michigan, didn't play for two years. Boom. Played, got first-round talk. And then now, Achilles. Boom.

"So stay tuned for what's after."

Justin Tucker Shuts Down False Holdout Rumor

Did you know Justin Tucker was considering holding out?

No? Well neither did he. That's because he isn't.

The false rumor was started by the hosts of a Cleveland radio sports talk show, which they openly admitted was a lie in an attempt to "start a controversy in Baltimore."

They said the goal was to get Tucker to be asked a question about whether the rumors were true.

Unfortunately for them, the All-Pro kicker quickly took to Twitter to spoil their fun.

How Jordan Stout Could Extend Tucker's Career

It raised some eyebrows when the Ravens selected punter Jordan Stout in the fourth round (130th overall), the earliest a punter has been drafted since the Jacksonville Jaguars took Bryan Anger 70th overall in 2012.

Taking Stout where the Ravens did wasn't a reach. He was No. 121 overall on ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.'s big board. The Ravens not only drafted Kiper's top-ranked safety (Kyle Hamilton), center (Tyler Linderbaum) and outside linebacker (Ojabo), but also his No. 1 punter. Another punter was drafted three picks later.

It's obvious the Ravens believe Stout, who will presumably replace longtime punter Sam Koch, is special.

"We were at the Senior Bowl, and I was sitting there with [Executive Vice President] Ozzie [Newsome] before practice one day, and he was like, 'He might be the best player on the field,'" Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz said yesterday.

Hortiz said that Stout's ability to kick off makes him that much more valuable. Stout handled kickoff duties at Penn State and holds the record for the longest field goal (57 yards) in school history.

Three other punters were drafted, but former NFL punter and kickoff specialist Pat McAfee said Stout is "the most NFL-ready."

"The ball that he hits is a high one; his drop is one that seems to be pretty proficient; feel like he's a machine; and he is yolked, so he hits big balls," McAfee said on “The Pat McAfee Show.” "Everybody was telling me he was the most NFL-ready right now."

Ravens Select WR in Todd McShay's 2023 Mock Draft

Are you suffering from mock draft withdrawal?

Well, luckily for you, ESPN's Todd McShay has released his "extremely early" first mock draft for 2023.

McShay determined the draft order by using the inverse of Super Bowl odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Based on that, the Ravens had the 21st-overall pick and selected LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, who is entering his junior year.

"Everyone loved the Ravens' 2022 draft, but remember that they traded away Marquise Brown, leaving Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay as their top two wide receivers," McShay wrote. "Boutte is a top-15-caliber prospect who had nine touchdown catches in six games last year before a leg injury ended his season."

Boutte, 6-foot and 190 pounds, had 45 catches for 735 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman.

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