5 Undrafted Baltimore Raven Players Who Could Prove to Be Gems
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The Ravens have a longstanding history of finding undrafted free-agent gems. Players such as the pictured Dannell Ellerbe, Priest Holmes and current starting linebacker Jameel McClain are just a few examples of undrafted players who have excelled in purple and black.
Despite a massive turnover, which includes Ellerbe, the Ravens have few positions available after restocking the roster through free agency and the 2013 NFL draft. That has not stopped the Ravens from giving unheralded talent a chance to make an impact.
So the question is, who's the next man up? Here's a look at some undrafted free agents who could make an impact this season.
Will Pericak, Defensive Lineman
When considering the Ravens' undrafted rookie class, one has to consider that old saying, "Follow the money." When considering those words, look no further than defensive lineman Will Pericak.
Pericak received a signing bonus of $13,500, the highest signing bonus received by any Ravens undrafted rookie. In addition to the heavy monetary investment made in Pericak, the Ravens have made it known that they are investing heavily in the defensive line.
When one also considers the poor play of Terrence Cody, there could be an opportunity for the Colorado product.
Pericak has adequate size and speed. He stands at 6'3", 296 pounds, and he ran a 5.07 40-yard dash. The 2012 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention player had a productive career as well as a durable one. He holds the all-time school record for most games started at 48. Pericak started every game from his freshman year on through the final game of his senior season.
After four years at Colorado, Pericak collected 207 career tackles and 7.5 sacks. He also forced and recovered five fumbles and blocked three kicks. Those stats show he can contribute on special teams as well as the defense.
Pericak will certainly have a lot of competition, but with a solid camp and preseason, it is possible he could make the roster or practice squad.
Matt Furstenburg, Tight End
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The Ravens did not have to look far to find Matt Furstenburg, as he played tight end for the University of Maryland. He also received a substantial signing bonus that totaled $10,000.
The Ravens are set at the top two tight end spots with Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson. Even though they recently re-signed veteran Billy Bajema, with a strong performance, the talented Furstenburg could snag the third tight end spot.
Furstenburg had modest statistics last season, which featured 31 receptions and 348 yards, but most believed that to be a result of poor quarterback play at Maryland. He has the size and speed to make an impact and is certainly a potential diamond in the rough.
Moe Lee, Cornerback
With Cary Williams moving on to Philadelphia and players such as Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb coming off of injuries, depth at corner is of the utmost importance. Enter Moe Lee.
Moe Lee played cornerback at the University of Utah and has been turning heads in the OTAs. According to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, Lee has been drawing high praise from secondary coach Teryl Austin.
Lee went undrafted primarily because of a perceived lack of speed. He ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash during pre-draft workouts. Although he lacks speed, he does have size and a nose for the ball. If Lee can continue to impress, he could find a place on the Ravens roster for 2013.
Roger Gaines, Offensive Tackle
Roger Gaines is an interesting prospect coming out of the small-school program of Tennessee State. Gaines has the size and raw ability to draw the attention of Ravens coaches.
He stands 6'6" and weighs in at 334 pounds. During his senior season at Tennessee State, the massive tackle did not allow a sack. Obviously, playing against FBS competition was a major cause of not being drafted.
If Gaines can keep up his high level of play during camp, he could surprise and make the roster or practice squad.
Brandon Copeland, Linebacker
Brandon Copeland will try to join fellow Ivy League standout Kyle Juszczyk on the Ravens roster. The University of Pennsylvania product has an uphill battle.
The Ravens are loaded with outside linebacker/defensive end types, and Copeland is making a position change from defensive end to outside linebacker.
You can never have enough pass-rushers. That being said, with solid play in camp and preseason, Copeland could make an impact. Copeland had a productive career at Penn, where he compiled 160 tackles and 11 sacks.