Mosley Early Favorite For Defensive Rookie Of The Year
The Ravens expect linebacker C.J. Mosley to make a difference this season.
A big difference.
The linebacker is the team's highest draft pick since perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in 2006, and the Ravens made it clear that they see him as an impact player.
"Obviously, we think he can get on the field or you wouldn't draft him in the first round," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said last week.
Mosley will likely do much more than get on the field, and one pundit thinks he could end up having the biggest effect of any defensive rookie in the NFL.
"If you're looking for an early leader for Defensive Rookie of the Year, this is the guy," says ESPN's Jeffri Chadiha.
Mosley will compete for playing time with veteran Daryl Smith and last year's second-round pick, Arthur Brown. After thriving in Head Coach Nick Saban's system at Alabama, he is a natural fit in the middle of the Ravens defense.
"His instincts and versatility make him the prototypical three-down linebacker, one who will fit in quickly with a Baltimore defense that lost several key players after winning the Super Bowl two years ago," Chadiha wrote.
"Even with those departures, the Ravens still have Haloti Ngata at nose tackle, Terrell Suggs rushing the passer from the outside and some blossoming young players who should understand this team's long-standing history of playing great defense."
Mosley is aware of the expectations that await him in Baltimore, as he has already been peppered with questions about following in the footsteps of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. Mosley excelled in a high pressure college environment where national championships are the norm, and he'll face a similar type of atmosphere in Baltimore.
"Mosley isn't the second coming of Ray Lewis, but the Ravens will appreciate everything he can do for that defense," Chadiha wrote.
Jernigan Not A Risky Pick, Teams Will Regret Passing Him
For much of the pre-draft process, Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan never expected to last until the middle of the second round.
He was regarded as a top-20 talent by many draftniks during the buildup to the weekend, but he fell down the board after a report of a diluted urine sample during a drug test. A diluted sample could indicate a player is trying to mask drugs in his system.
Jernigan, however, said that the sample was a result of significant weight loss and increased fluids in his diet before taking the test. Having a diluted sample could have steered some teams away from Jernigan, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley said the Ravens don't feel he is a risky pick.
"There wasn't much debate when the Baltimore Ravens were on the clock in the second round," Hensley wrote. "Ravens officials said there was a confidence level in taking Jernigan that high because they did their homework on him."
NFL.com listed him as one of the 10 players in the draft that teams will regret passing up, allowing him to fall to the Ravens at No. 48.
"Jernigan was rated by a number of analysts as a top 20 player in 2014 and possibly the second-best defensive tackle in the draft behind Aaron Donald," wrote Bryan Fischer for NFL.com. "He's a big load in the middle who can shoot the gap and get to the quarterback at over 300 pounds."
Jernigan was a key player for the national champion Seminoles, and he could become an immediate starter in Baltimore. The Ravens have a hole on the defensive line after the departure of Arthur Jones this offseason.
Even if he doesn't start this season, Hensley thinks Jernigan could turn out to be a "great value" pick because Ngata has just two years remaining on his contract.
"With defensive tackle Haloti Ngata reportedly turning down an extension, the Ravens needed to make sure they have quality depth on the interior of the defensive line," Hensley wrote. "It may only be a year or two before the Ravens' starting inside tandem is Jernigan and Brandon Williams, a third-round pick from a year ago."
OT Hurst Among NFL's Best Undrafted Free Agents
The Ravens have finalized their list of undrafted free agent signings.
Baltimore added 17 undrafted prospects to the roster, and former North Carolina offensive tackle James Hurst is considered a potential diamond in the rough.
NFL Network analyst and former Dallas Cowboys front office executive Gil Brandt rated Hurst as one of his best undrafted players in the league.
Hurst was a highly recruited prospect out of high school that chose North Carolina over offers from college powerhouses like Alabama, Ohio State, Florida and Georgia. He was a four-year starter in college and was a likely mid-round selection before breaking his fibula in his final college game.
In addition to Hurst, Brandt also listed former Oklahoma State guard Parker Graham and Ashland defensive end Jamie Meder as two of the top undrafted prospects at their positions. Both signed with the Ravens.
Jerry Rice Jr. Trying Out For Ravens
Jerry Rice is coming to Baltimore.
Well, Jerry Rice Jr., son of the Hall of Fame receiver is coming for a tryout during this weekend's upcoming rookie minicamp, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
The UNLV wide receiver caught 11 passes for 86 yards last year during his only season with the team. He was previously a walk-on at UCLA before transferring to UNLV.
- Mosley is not only drawing praise for his play on the field, but he also turned some heads with his fashion sense at the draft. Mosley's khaki suit and bow tie combination ranked as one of Esquire Magazine's best outfits in the draft. [Esquire]
- Wide receiver Steve Smith turned 35 yesterday… @89stevesmith Thank you everyone for the birthday shout out I'm so blessed I beat the odds 35yrs and still killin it in league#iceupson picture me rollin. [Twitter]
- Rookie safety Terrence Brooks checks out his new jersey… @_Showtime31: Finesse [Twitter]
- @TeamFlacco: Ellie Levy, a young woman battling #CysticFibrosis, recently took on double lung transplant surgery. Get well soon! [Twitter]
- @RavensCommunity: Congrats to our Touchdown for Teachers finalists for outstanding service to their school, students and community! [Twitter]