Senior Bowl Fruitful For Ravens In Years Past


Last year at this time, tight end Crockett Gillmore was pretty much an unknown.

He was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster due to injury, and had just one practice and a walk-through before the game. He still finished with a game-high five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown when the North and South rosters squared off.

And he caught the attention of Ravens scouts and coaches.

About three months later, Gillmore was selected in the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens, the beginning of a productive rookie season for the big, bruising tight end.

Gillmore isn't the only Senior Bowl success story. The all-star game for college seniors expected to be drafted has been rich with talent and quite productive for the Ravens in recent years.

Last season, five of the Ravens' nine draft picks were at the Senior Bowl: safety Terrence Brooks, Gillmore, defensive end Brent Urban, running back Lorenzo Taliaferro and wide receiver Michael Campanaro.

The year before, the Ravens liked what they saw at the Senior Bowl from a couple small-school gems, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Tackle Rick Wagner and linebackers Arthur Brown and John Simon were there as well.

This year, the Ravens are at the Senior Bowl without their coaches, as they are in Phoenix for the Pro Bowl. But nearly Baltimore's entire scouting department and General Manager Ozzie Newsome are in attendance.

The Senior Bowl is sometimes considered more valuable than the combine because scouts can observe live-action play as opposed to players just going through their workouts. Practices give scouts a chance to see how small-school players adjust to going against a higher level of competition, and the coaches running practice (staffs of the Jaguars and Titans) try to put the players in one-on-one situations that will give scouts a good idea of players' limitations. For example, they'll make pass-rushing linebackers drop into coverage to see how well they can move.

The Ravens are likely keeping a close eye on the cornerbacks, wide receivers, running backs, safeties and pass rushers, as those are seemingly the main areas of need heading into the draft, but they assign scouts to closely monitor every position.

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