Last year, the Ravens watched wide receiver Stefon Diggs perform at the University of Maryland Pro Day.
On Wednesday, Diggs was back in College Park, but this time as a spectator and member of the Minnesota Vikings coming off a spectacular rookie season.
Well, the Ravens have another chance to draft a Terp or two at positions of need. A couple of Baltimore scouts were on hand to watch pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue and defensive back Sean Davis – the two stars of this year's Maryland draft class.
Both players could be drafted before Diggs came off the board (fifth round), and both are at positions of need for the Ravens. They are both projected to be drafted in the middle rounds, anywhere from third to sixth.
"Seeing [Diggs] gave me a little boost, amped me up a little bit," Davis said.
The Ravens have done well drafting Terps in years past.
They kicked it off with a bang by drafting wide receiver/return specialist Jermaine Lewis in the team's inaugural 1996 season. The Ravens selected tackle Jared Gaither, a two-year starter, in the supplemental draft in 2007. Baltimore's best Terp was wide receiver Torrey Smith, who they plucked in the second round in 2011.
Ngakoue and Davis have a chance to add to that pedigree, and both have a lot of promise, as evidenced by the attendance of nearly every NFL team.
Ngakoue was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in his junior season and declared early for the draft. He notched a Terrapin single-season record 13.5 sacks this year and ranked second in the nation in sacks per game (1.13).
He played more of a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end role and would likely have to convert to outside linebacker in the Ravens system, but he also showed a willingness and ability to set the edge in run defense as well.
The 6-foot-2, 252-pound Washington D.C. product passes the eye test. He went shirtless for his* *pro day workout, showing off his chiseled frame. He also displayed good explosion through cuts and excellent bend when turning the corner to get after a quarterback.
However, Ngakoue struggled with fatigue during the later portions of the defensive line drills, seemingly more than some bigger defensive tackles.
NFL coaches, including Steelers Linebackers Coach Joey Porter, put Ngakoue through a strenuous workout.
"I didn't expect it," Ngakoue said of the difficult workout. "But I like stepping up to the challenge, getting a little adversity and showing coaches my toughness and my heart."
Davis didn't seem to find his workout as taxing. He only did field drills as he stood on his combine performance with a 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds. Davis looked quite smooth and confident in drills.
The question with Davis is what position he will play in the NFL. He was a three-year safety before converting to outside cornerback last season. At 6-foot-1, 201 pounds, he can play both spots but likely projects more to safety.
The Ravens like versatility and will also value the fact that he played special teams throughout his Terrapin career. He also showed some playmaking ability. Davis was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection who registered 88 tackles, three interceptions and five forced fumbles (second-most in the nation) during his senior year.
"I've got the speed and quickness to play corner compared to all the other DBs out there," Davis said. "Everybody just knows I'm raw at it; I only have one year under my belt. But I think, with the right tools, I can be a top corner."
Davis is also a Washington D.C. native who grew up a Redskins fan. He idolized late safety Sean Taylor and wore No. 21 in his honor.
"The Ravens are cool," Davis said. "They've still got the Maryland flag on them."