Skip to main content

Ravens Hold Local Workouts


Nine new faces were at Ravens headquarters Wednesday, as the team held its yearly workout for NFL hopefuls that live or attended school in the greater Baltimore area.

Some, like Glen Burnie High School alumnus and projected first-round draft pick Branden Albert, came off the field with the confident air of a player that had been there before. 

Others, like former Cardinal Gibbons standout Chris Stimmel, were noticeably anxious - if not a little wide-eyed - after running drills under a giant poster of the Super Bowl XXXV trophy. 

Could any of these candidates join the Ravens for offseason minicamps?  Perhaps. 

But at the very least, Baltimore's personnel and coaching staffs got a good look at the best prospects in their backyard. 

"Over the years, we've been fortunate enough to find some guys in this workout that we've brought to camp and have done a good job for us," said director of college scouting Eric DeCosta, who also noted the community aspect of the tryouts. 

"We do it first of all to evaluate the players, but second, it's a good thing to do for the community.  It fosters good relations with the colleges in the area," he continued.

Albert and Stimmel were joined by running back Keon Lattimore (brother of Ray Lewis), safety Christian Varner and tight end Jason Goode of Maryland; linebackers Bryan Wilson and Lamar West and running back Chad Simpson of Morgan State; and Towson linebacker Brian Bradford. 

Albert figures to be the highest draft pick of the group.  The 6-foot-6, 309-pound offensive lineman is rated by many analysts as the top guard in the Class of 2008 and will most likely be taken late in the first round.   

"He's an intriguing player because he plays guard and played pretty well in a couple of games at tackle this year," DeCosta said.  "The decision for teams in the NFL will be if he's a tackle or a guard.  He's a big guy with good feet, very athletic.  He's definitely a player that is going to be gone in the top 31 draft picks." 

Simpson, a speedy spark plug that transferred to Morgan from South Florida, originally made his name as a kick returner, but earned the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2007 after rushing for 1,402 yards (127.5-yards per game average). 

The list of invitees to the NFL Combine ends there, however.

Even though the other participants have already gone through Pro Day workouts at their respective schools, it was even more exciting to be on-site at the Ravens' facility.

"This was fun," said Stimmel, who is hoping to show scouts he can make the transition from prolific linebacker at Central Connecticut to safety.  "It was my first workout for an actual team, and I felt good about it.  My trainer back at school did a great job of preparing me for this day, and I've just got to keep working." 

"It was great to be at a pro facility and get a chance to show the coaches what I can do," agreed Varner, from Randallstown High School. 

The Ravens have had success evaluating talent at the local workout in the past, even if that talent didn't end up wearing purple and black.  Former Maryland star and current Denver Bronco Dominique Foxworth attended the event in 2005 along with Owings Mills native Eric King, now with the Tennessee Titans. 

Gilman High defensive end Victor Abiamiri worked out last year and went on to be a second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, while his older brother, Rob, ended up making the Ravens' practice squad in 2005 and '06.

"Some years we have guys that are draftable players that we can bring in because they live in the area, and other years there are mostly free agent-level players," DeCosta stated.  "This year's crop has some talent."

How much talent will determine how fast these players are snapped up in the draft or free agency. 

And, which team does the snapping might be just as important to these nine Charm City prospects.

Under the looming 30-foot Vince Lombardi trophy that adorned the back wall of the Ravens' fieldhouse, the dream of playing for a hometown team inched a little closer towards reality.

"Without a doubt, I'm a Ravens fan," Varner said with a smile.  "I used to live down near Memorial Stadium, so I would always go to games down there.  Ed Reed is my idol, and I would go down and watch him and Ray Lewis.  I'm very thankful to be here."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content