Two Top Senior Bowl Prospects Talk Ravens, See a Great Fit


The Ravens' front office is back from the Senior Bowl with more information on players they are targeting.

Two of the top players in Mobile, Ala., were Delaware safety Nasir Adderly and Mississippi defensive end Montez Sweat, and both said they met with Baltimore.

The draft's top players meet with nearly every team over the course of the pre-draft process, so it's not that indicative of a future pairing, but both players said they viewed Baltimore as a good fit, and they're both at positions of need.

Nasir Adderley, a possible heir apparent for Eric Weddle

Weddle made his sixth Pro Bowl this season and was the quarterback of the Ravens' secondary, a key piece of a defensive unit that ranked No. 1 in the NFL. However, there is a chance Weddle could retire at age 34 or play elsewhere if he becomes a salary cap casualty with one year remaining on his contract.

If Weddle returns, Adderley could still fit into the Ravens' plans as a player to be groomed as Weddle's eventual replacement. Adderley was asked about comparisons to Weddle.

"I just try to focus on being the best me I can be," Adderley said. "I have a lot of respect for the people I'm compared to, and they're people I've been watching all my life. It's an honor to be compared to these guys, but I'm really just trying to focus on being the best me, applying myself everyday so I can come in and make an impact."

Adderley had a solid week of Senior Bowl practice and he backed it up with an interception during the game.

Primarily a safety, Adderley is versatile enough to make plays at corner, nickel, and safety. He's smooth, instinctive and has excellent ball skills, evidenced by his 10 interceptions the past two years. The Ravens were tied for 18th in the NFL in interceptions last year, and Adderley's ball-hawking ways could help expand and strengthen their pass coverage. 

NFL greatness is already in Adderley's family. His cousin is 79-year-old Herb Adderley, a Hall of Fame cornerback with the Green Bay Packers during their 1960's dynasty. Herb Adderley, who also played with the Dallas Cowboys, is the only player in history to participate in four of the first six Super Bowls.

Meanwhile, the Ravens have a pipeline established with former Delaware players, having drafted three of them – quarterback Joe Flacco (2008), center Gino Gradkowski (2012) and tight end Nick Boyle (2015). Adderley said he wouldn't mind being the next Delaware player in line.

"I told them we've got talent over there in Delaware and they've proven it," Adderley said. "So that'd be pretty special as well to carry the Delaware legacy."

Montez Sweat: A Pass Rusher Who Admires Terrell Suggs

One of the most popular projections to the Ravens at No. 22 in early mock drafts is Sweat.

However, Sweat's stock is rising after a strong Senior Bowl week to the point where he may not be available when the Ravens draft at No. 22. How Sweat performs at the Combine will be another step in his draft process, but so far, he is climbing the charts.

The Ravens could lose two of their best pass rushers this season. Suggs, the all-time franchise sack leader (132 ½ sacks) is a free agent. Za'Darius Smith, who led the team with 8 ½ sacks is also a free agent and the price to keep Smith could prove too expensive for the Ravens' taste.

That makes finding young pass rushers a priority this offseason, and luckily, it's one of the strongest position groups among projected first-round draft picks. Sweat said he was inspired by the Ravens' pass rushing tradition. 

"Terrell Suggs most definitely. I watched him growing up. He's a great pass rusher," Sweat said.

Sweat had 8 ½ sacks last season and 14 ½ tackles for loss playing against top-flight competition in the SEC. Nothing Sweat did at the Senior Bowl should make the Ravens shy away.

Richie Bradshaw contributed to this report.

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