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Late For Work 3/28: Ravens Connect With Top WRs Mike Evans, Marqise Lee


Ravens On Hand For Mike Evans Impressive Pro Day Workout

The turnout for the Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans Texas A&M pro day bonanza Thursday may have been the biggest – and craziest – in pro day history.

Clad in camouflage shorts, pads and Nike's Pro Day Collection (which the company conveniently tweeted a link to buy during the workout), Johnny Football threw for 45 minutes in front of 30 NFL teams, a media circus and even former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.


Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer coined the event a "side show."

But amid the craziness, it was projected first-round wide receiver Mike Evans who quietly stole the show.

And the Ravens were there to watch him do it, per The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.

Prior to the NFL Scouting Combine in February and Thursday's workout, many draft gurus projected Evans to the Ravens at No. 17. But after two solid performances in front of NFL scouts, Evans is projected as a top-10 pick and some think he may have even moved above top-ranked Sammy Watkins.

At the workout, Evans showed off the athleticism of a wide receiver with a body (six-foot-5, 231 pounds) of a tight end. He displayed sure hands and improved route running (without a cornerback in his face).

"The workout itself was well-crafted to highlight the strengths of both Texas A&M stars," wrote Bleacher Report's Tim Daniels. "There [were] a lot of routes based on the same concepts that made the duo successful over the past two years, but also some deep throws that allowed Manziel to show off his arm and Evans to spotlight that big-play ability."

To cap off the day, Manziel fired a 60-yard bomb to Evans, and as soon as the pass connected, Manziel shouted "boom!" for the world to hear.

Check it out in the video below (mobile users tap "View in Browser" at the top of the page).

Last pass of pro day. Deep ball to Mike Evans! TD. — Coach Terry Price (@Coach_TPrice) March 27, 2014

The Ravens scouts surely heard it too, but it may not matter if Evans is off the board by the time they're on the clock.

Of course, they have other receiving options …

WR Marqise Lee To Visit Ravens

Depending on who you talk to, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee could be ranked above Evans.

For example, Lee is rated as the second-best receiver on ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper's top-10 list. Evans comes in third.

The Ravens are keeping tabs on both.

The All-American Lee is scheduled to visit the Ravens this week, says Wilson, after meeting with the team earlier at the combine in February.

Lee caught 57 catches for 791 yards and four touchdowns for the Trojans last year as he dealt with injuries.  With a healthy sophomore campaign the year before, Lee was named the Pac-12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year with a career-high 118 catches for 1,712 yards and 14 touchdowns.

At six-foot-0 and 192 pounds, Lee is a much different receiver from the towering Evans. Lee compares more to New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, while Evans is built more in the mold of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Vincent Jackson.

"Lee lacks the frame to wow scouts,* *but his agility, acceleration and soft hands make him a natural playmaker," wrote's Rob Rang. "It is unknown whether Lee can salsa, but he's a breathtaking talent who should have plenty of opportunities to develop touchdown dances of his own in the NFL."

Lee is considered a first-round prospect, and has a good chance of being on the board at No. 17.

"I liked talking with the Ravens," Lee said at the combine, per Wilson. "That was a fun, good meeting. We'll see if they pick me in May, you never know."

Ravens 'Aggressively' Supporting Rice

With Ray Rice facing a possible three to five years in prison after his indictment by a grand jury Thursday on third-degree aggravated assault, the Ravens quickly issued a statement supporting their running back.

"This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident," the statement said.

Even with increased charges from Rice's initial arrest, the Ravens are standing by Rice the person, without condoning his actions.

"They're not just supporting Rice," They're aggressively doing so," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

"The Ravens didn't have to say anything. They could've left it as this is part of the due process. But, as with every step in this embarrassing matter -- from his initial arrest to the TMZ video of him dragging his fiancée out of the elevator -- the Ravens have made it clear that they're standing by Rice. A cynic would say the Ravens are sticking with Rice because they would lose $5.5 million in cap space by cutting Rice. I believe the Ravens are keeping Rice based on how he conducted himself in the community since joining the Ravens in 2008. … The Ravens have never said Rice is innocent. They're backing the one-time model citizen who made a mistake, albeit a very serious and public one."

Safety Deone Bucannon Visiting Ravens

Washington State All-American safety Deone Bucannon is visiting the Ravens Thursday and Friday, according to Wilson.

The Ravens have shown a penchant for hard-hitting safeties, and Bucannon (6-foot-1, 211 pounds) certainly fits that mold.

"He's like a human crash dummy. All he wants to do is tackle," former Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington told The Sun. Washington helped train Bucannon before the scouting combine at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

Check out the massive hit in the video below against Auburn running back Corey Grant, who looked like he ran into a brick wall when he met Bucannon.

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