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Ravens Refuel With Young Leaders


When Kapron Lewis-Moore heard his name called as a Notre Dame team captain before the 2012 season, he got misty eyed.

"I knew this season was going to be special, but to be captain is just something I can’t really explain," he said. "[I'm] speechless."

Lewis-Moore is just one example of the kind of leader the Ravens added in their 2013 draft class. The Ravens drafted six former college team captains.

In an offseason in which the Ravens lost loads of leadership with Ray Lewis and Matt Birk retiring and Ed Reed departing via free agency, Baltimore restocked its pool with young leaders.

It would be surprising to see them step into a prominent role as rookies, but the Ravens have added the building blocks to maintain Baltimore's strong locker room.

"It's been a focus for us," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's something that is a priority. We talk about that. Team captain always comes up in the draft conversations. If a guy is not a team captain, we try to find out why."

Top pick Matt Elam was voted a team captain before his 2012 junior season as a result of his toughness and intensity on the field.

"He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played," Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp said.

Elam already has an understanding of what it takes to be a pro that comes from growing up under the wing of older brother Abe Elam, who has played seven seasons in the NFL.

Second-round pick Arthur Brown was named a team captain in 2011 before he even played a game at Kansas State. The Miami transfer sat out a year because of his transfer, and impressed his team with work to prepare for the season.

Third-round pick Brandon Williams was a team captain his senior year as he became the team's most high-profile player. Fifth-round pick Rick Wagner was also a team captain as a senior, and a leader on their prestigious offensive line.

Fourth-round linebacker John Simon was dubbed the "heart and soul" of Ohio State's undefeated team last year. He was only the eighth two-time captain in school history and first since James Laurinaitis in 2008 and 2009.

Head Coach Urban Meyer gushed about Simon and his leadership after a September win over California. Harbaugh told reporters to check out the video because it "probably says it all."

"Can you put a jersey up there or something that says John Simon?" Meyer said. "Because that's a grown-[expletive] man, excuse my language. That's a guy. If we have another child, I want to name him Urban John Simon Meyer or something like that.

"I can't wait for that headline. But that's how much I love that guy. And I'm not ashamed to say it, I love him. I love that guy. Man. He makes all of us look in the mirror and say, 'Are we doing enough for our team?' That guy, what he just did in [the locker room], not to give you too much of what went on there, am I doing enough? And I say as the coaching staff, are we doing enough, are we doing as much as he's doing? No. We've got to do more. We've got to do more."

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