WR Mellette More Than Practice Squad Player?
There isn't a better motivator than a giant chip on a player's shoulder.
After getting drafted in the seventh round from a lesser-known small school, Ravens wide receiver Aaron Mellette has plenty of motivation.
That chip could turn into a brick wall (borrowing a phrase from Elvis Dumervil), if he reads one current projection for him as a rookie in Baltimore.
When asked if he sees Mellette contributing in the Ravens' passing game this year, ESPN's Jamison Hensley responded:
"Contributing to practice squad is more like it."
He added: "They will be looking to add [more talent] after the preseason, especially if no one steps up at receiver," he wrote. "Remember when the Ravens made the trade for Lee Evans a few summers ago?"
Before it comes to that, this is how the current competition stacks up.
Barring injury, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are locks to make the roster. To make the cut, Mellette would have to beat about three others that are vying for spots: Tandon Doss, David Reed, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams, Tommy Streeter and Tori Gurley.
They all can't make the roster. Baltimore kept six receivers on their active roster last year (Anquan Boldin, Smith, Jones, Doss, Williams and Thompson).
Some draft analysts thought Mellette would be drafted earlier than the seventh round, especially after playing well against tougher competition at the Senior Bowl and a good combine performance. For example, NFL.com projected him to be selected in the fourth or fifth rounds.
He had an extremely productive senior year, catching 97 passes for 1,398 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also stood out at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds and notching a top-10 mark among receivers in the broad jump (123.0 inches).
The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder projects to be a slot receiver in the NFL, the very spot Baltimore needs to fill. At Elon University, he took advantage of his size and strength to come down with contested catches and showed good body control and route-running skills.
Mellette knows it will take hard work and preparation to make the big jump from a small school to the NFL. It's not unheard of, as Marques Colston (Hofstra) and Victor Cruz (Massachusetts), among others, have done it before.
As Mellette looks to prove his doubters wrong, The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel has one piece of advice:
"I don't know if he does or ever did, but Mellette should no longer look at himself as a small-school wide receiver. Once he lands in Baltimore for this weekend's rookie minicamp, where Mellette played his college ball will be insignificant. From here on out, it will only be about getting open so he can keep the Ravens' attention."
Chargers Make McKinnie An Offer
The San Diego Chargers have made Ravens free agent left tackle Bryant McKinnie a contract offer, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. Details of the offer are unknown.
The two sides remained in contract negotiation through Wednesday night.
"It's nice out here, nothing final yet," McKinnie said.
McKinnie also remains in contact with the Miami Dolphins – following a two-day visit – and the Ravens. He has reportedly not received an offer from either team.
"Although the Ravens haven't made an offer for McKinnie to return, they haven't entirely closed the door on potentially bringing him back," Wilson wrote. "The 6-foot-8, 354-pound New Jersey native has been working out regularly in South Florida. McKinnie has battled conditioning and weight issues in the past."
If the Chargers do sign McKinnie, it will be the second former Ravens left tackle that they pick up in the last couple years. San Diego reportedly gave Jared Gaither $13.5 million in guaranteed money last year, but he wound up only starting four games and his work ethic was questioned. Gaither was released this offseason.
"They can only hope it goes better than the Jared Gaither experiment, the last time they brought in a former Baltimore tackle," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Darin Gantt. "Either way, it seems like the market for McKinnie is picking up, since most of the rest of the guys out there at the moment aren't really suited to playing on the left."
J. McClain Awaiting Final Medical Clearance
We've gotten many updates on linebacker Jameel McClain's health status this offseason.
And they are all trending the same way – positive.
After sustaining a spinal cord contusion against the Washington Redskins in December, McClain is now working out with no restrictions and is simply awaiting final medical clearance to resume football activity, according to The Sun.
He expects to get clearance before the season starts, and Head Coach John Harbaugh has already said the team is planning as if McClain will be ready for training camp.
"I'm doing good, I'm doing great," McClain told Wilson. "I'm running around full speed, working out, lifting weights with no problems, nothing on my end. I can do everything. Everything is positive on my end."
Asked if he's confident that he'll be able to resume his career after such a major injury, McClain said: "If you don't believe in yourself, who else will? Fortunately, this is a good situation for me. Everything is going the way it should."
That's good news as the Ravens are about to embark upon their first season in franchise history without Ray Lewis. McClain will be a very important cog in that transition.
"The Ravens need him, after losing both starting inside linebackers Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe this offseason," wrote Gantt. "They drafted Arthur Brown, but knowing Rolando McClain might not be trustworthy enough to put on the field, they can't be caught short there."
What's Up With Ravens' Agent-Less Safeties?
Turns out, Baltimore swapped one self-representing safety for another.
Former Ravens safety Ed Reed didn't have an agent until he hit the free agent market in March. Before that, he attempted to renegotiate his contract with the team on his own.
Now the newest safety in town, Ravens top overall pick Matt Elam, doesn't have an agent either, according to ProFootballTalk.com.
It's probably just a coincidence, but Mike Florio is always thinking deeper than that …
"Maybe the Ravens were attracted to safety Matt Elam by his size. Or his speed. Or his ball skills. Or his ability to deliver a hit," he wrote.
Elam is the only player who was drafted last weekend who is listed on the NFLPA records with "self" as the official representative.
"At this point, Elam doesn't really need an agent," Florio wrote. "Instead, he needs to ask the NFLPA what the 32nd pick got last year, and he should probably wait until the 31st and 33rd picks sign their contracts in 2013, with the goal of fitting in the middle.
"Eventually, however, he'll need representation. Whether renegotiating with the Ravens or becoming a free agent, it's too hard for a player to navigate that mine field on his own."
- @huffy247: @ElamVsElo is gonna eat in this defense RT @mgronewold95 @Huffy247 what rookie will make the biggest impact on the ravens? [Twitter]
- @artj97: I wish this little girl would stop trying to latch on me. I'm not your mother. Lol I'm daddy! [Twitter]
- @elamvselo: Doing (home) work. Studying up on the history of @Ravens Purple & Black thanks to @tide on.nfl.com/ZzUSoh #AboutOurColors #Spon [Twitter]
- Jameel McClain was named global ambassador for the anti-bullying campaign, Stomp Out Bullying. It's a cause that affected him during his Philadelphia youth. "I've had a lot of experiences," McCalin said. "Words last longer than bruises. I can remember fights I went through as a kid where I didn't feel it when I got hit in my stomach. You don't feel that pain or that bruise, but I remember what people said. I remember things meant to bring me down." [The Baltimore Sun]
- @ravensinsider: Ravens assigned rookie pool of $5.517 million maximum to sign their 10 rookie draft picks, per source. [Twitter]
- @ravenssalarycap: With Ravens' rookie cap of $5.517M now reported, Ravens will need only $1.167M in overall Cap space to fit rookie under overall Cap. [Twitter]
- It's unusual to see a man speaking at a domestic violence group for women. Ravens cornerback Chris Johnson knows that, "but my story is not so different from their story. I tell women to never give up because after what happened in my life, I've never given up." That story began when he got a three-word text message from his mother: "He shot her." [CBSSports.com]
- Remember Lardarius Webb's workout video that showed off his crazy good hands and hand-eye coordination? Well, Ray Rice participated in a very similar drill with the same trainer as Webb's, Kyle Jackobe. I can't say this video is quite as impressive as Webb's, but Rice is certainly no slouch. Check it out. [Telly.com]