Report Card Grades for Baltimore Ravens' Undrafted Free-Agent Signings
The 2014 NFL draft has concluded, and teams are finally beginning to see what their roster will look like when the 2014 NFL season is finally here.
With every NFL team limited to having 90 players signed to their offseason roster, we often see teams scrambling to sign undrafted free agents after the draft in order to fill out their roster.
The Baltimore Ravens are no different, as they've signed an astounding 19 undrafted free agents. That doesn't even account for several other players who will be trying out for the team during minicamps this offseason.
While Baltimore had a solid draft class, they've also singed a great group on undrafted players, and several of them have a good chance of being on an NFL roster in 2014.
In the following slides, I will be grading each of the Ravens' undrafted free-agent signings based on how big of a need they fill and if I believe they're good enough to make the final 53-man roster, or even latch onto the practice squad.
It's time to take a look at all the undrafted free agents Baltimore signed and how they'll fit with the team going forward.
Sammy Seamster, CB, Middle Tennessee State
The Ravens were surprisingly quiet in the draft when it came to addressing their lack of cornerback depth. With just four corners signed to the current roster, that seemed like a position Baltimore would spend at least one draft pick on.
They didn't have to after Middle Tennessee State's Sammy Seamster signed with them after the draft. A fast corner with size, the 6'1", 200-pound Seamster recorded a 4.5 40-yard-dash time with a 35" vertical jump and 6.86-second three-cone time at the NFL scouting combine.
In 2013, Seamster recorded 33 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Until the Ravens add other corners to the roster, Seamster will have a great chance to earn a spot on the roster if he does well in training camp and in the preseason.
James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
One of the most surprising things the Ravens have done this offseason is choose not to sign or draft an offensive tackle. They let starting right tackle Michael Oher walk in free agency, and as of now, the unproven Ricky Wagner is the projected starter.
Despite not addressing RT in free agency or the draft, Baltimore did get a pretty good tackle after the draft in North Carolina's James Hurst.
After a solid senior season, Hurst entered his final collegiate game being projected as high as a first-round pick in this year's draft. But in the Belk Bowl against Cincinnati, Hurst broke his leg, effectively killing his draft stock before the offseason even began.
I love this pickup for the Ravens, who are in need of depth at offensive tackle, as well as someone to at least challenge Wagner for the starting right tackle spot.
Richie Leone, P, Houston
Punter isn't exactly a big "need" for the Ravens, but finding someone better than the incumbent Sam Koch could be very beneficial.
Koch is set to make $2.8 million in 2014, which is the eighth-highest salary of any NFL punter, despite the fact that he ranked 13th in net punting average in 2013.
Enter Houston punter Richie Leone.
A Ray Guy Award semifinalist in 2013, Richie Leone averaged 43.1 yards per punt and had 14 punts of more than 50 yards and four of more than 60 yards last year. He also handled punts, kickoffs and field goals for most of last season for the Cougars.
If Leone does well during the preseason, Baltimore may be willing to go with him and cut Koch to save money. If he doesn't beat out Koch, he could be a nice addition to the practice squad to keep as insurance if Koch goes down with an injury.
Brett Van Sloten, OT, Iowa
A 6'5", 301-pounder, Brett Van Sloten was a second-team All-Big Ten Conference selection this past season after starting every game at right tackle for an offensive line that allowed a Big Ten-low 15 sacks.
Sloten has started in 25 straight games at right tackle and played at a high level in the process. He's another tackle that could make the 53-man roster with so little depth at the position.
The Ravens need help at right tackle, and Van Sloten will be a name to watch during training camp. He's good enough to make some team's practice squad in 2014.
Dexter Moody, S, Albany State
The Ravens needed to solidify their defensive backfield depth, and they got Albany state's Dexter Moody to agree to a contract after he originally accepted an invitation to try out for the Seattle Seahawks.
The 6'1", 217-pounder had 45 tackles (6.5 for a loss), three interceptions, a forced fumble and a blocked punt this past season with Albany State. Moody has run the 40-yard dash between 4.4 and 4.5 seconds at pro days this spring.
With that combination of speed and size, Moody could make some noise on special teams on both coverage and return units, and that's his best hope of making the roster.
Jeremy Butler, WR, UT-Martin
The Ravens signed wide receiver Jeremy Butler out of Tennessee-Martin right after the NFL draft ended. The 6'2", 224-pound Butler caught 90 passes for 1,203 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior this past season.
At his school's pro day, Butler ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, had a 36" vertical jump and a 9'6" broad jump.
Butler is a big, physical receiver who could earn a spot on the Ravens roster as a nice red-zone target. He'll need to do well on special teams as well, as he'd likely be the sixth or seventh WR on the team if he did make the 53-man roster.
Avery Patterson, CB, Oregon
After not drafting a cornerback in the NFL draft, the Ravens signed one of the best to go undrafted in Oregon's Avery Patterson.
While doubling as a safety and corner over his career for the Ducks, Patterson registered 198 career tackles, including 114 solos, 21 pass deflections, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and seven interceptions, returning three for touchdowns.
Patterson will have a great chance to earn a spot with the Ravens as a cornerback with a good showing in the preseason. He'll likely be moving to corner full time, as that's where his best shot at making the 53-man roster will be.
He also had a good shot at making it onto someone's practice squad.
Ryan Jones, LB, Montana Tech
Montana Tech linebacker Ryan Jones will try to earn a roster spot at a position that might be as deep as any spot on the Ravens roster.
The 6'3", 249-pound Jones notched 83 tackles, 8.5 for losses, five sacks and one interception last season. He finished his career with 127 tackles and 10.5 sacks, and he'll likely be used as an outside backer in Baltimore's 3-4 defense.
Jones has great athleticism that was on display at his pro day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds, had a 10" broad jump and a 34" vertical leap.
Jones will be someone to watch as a special teams player, and that's where he'll have to earn his roster spot.
Deji Olatoye, CB, North Carolina A&T
Deji Olatoye registered 78 tackles, five interceptions, 18 pass deflections and two fumble recoveries while playing both cornerback and free safety over the past two seasons for North Carolina A&T.
Olatoye is the kind of versatile defensive back the Ravens could use, with depth at both safety and cornerback being an issue.
He's got some more highly touted safeties ahead of Olatoye on the Ravens roster, and he's a long shot just to make it onto the practice squad.
Levi Brown, DT, Temple
The Ravens bolstered their defensive line depth by drafting a pair of linemen in the NFL draft, and they later added Temple defensive tackle Levi Brown to the fold.
The 6'2", 310-pound tackle played in 43 games for the Owls, finishing his career with 72 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. He was a team captain last season and notched 17 tackles, two for losses.
Brown wasn't very productive in his time at Temple, so it's hard to see him doing well at the NFL level. He's also playing a position that's already loaded. He's a camp body.
Zach Orr, LB, North Texas
North Texas linebacker Zach Orr finished his college career with 365 tackles, tied for third all-time at North Texas.
This past season, Orr registered a career-high 123 tackles, the fifth most in school history. He also led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss and fumbles recovered, with four.
The 6'1", 240-pounder is a bit undersized to play inside linebacker at the NFL level, but he can overcome that deficit easier playing in a 3-4 defense like the Ravens run.
Orr is unlikely to make the roster at a position that already has plenty of depth, but he could make it onto the practice squad.
Tramain Jacobs, CB, Texas A&M
Don't let the big-school name fool you. Tramain Jacobs was far too often a liability in coverage for the Texas A&M Aggies. You don't want to see him guarding NFL receivers anytime soon, and his best shot at making the Ravens roster is if he can make a significant impact on special teams.
Jacobs played in 26 games in two seasons with the Aggies after two years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He recorded 55 tackles, 39 solos, two interceptions and 13 pass deflections during his time with the Aggies.
Parker Graham, OT, Oklahoma State
As mentioned before, the Ravens failed to draft an offensive tackle in the draft but signed another undrafted tackle in Oklahoma State's Parker Graham.
The 6'7", 317-pound Parker was named to the 2013 first-team All-Big 12 team by the AP and coaches.
A three-time academic All-Big 12 honoree, Parker started the first five games of the 2013 season at left tackle before moving to right guard for the final eight games.
With his versatility and size, Parker will have a good chance to showcase his abilities and potentially earn a roster spot, especially given the Ravens' lack of depth at offensive tackle.
A.J. Pataialii, DT, Utah State
The 6'3", 307-pound A.J. Pataialii earned second-team All-Mountain West honors and was named third-team All-Mountain West after registering 42 total tackles (3.5 tackles for loss) and one sack.
He's got a tough task ahead of him to crack the 53-man roster this season with a number of defensive linemen already on the roster to go with the addition of fourth-rounder Brent Urban and second-rounder Timmy Jernigan.
Xavius Boyd, LB, Western Kentucky
The Ravens got one of the best linebackers to go undrafted in Western Kentucky outside linebacker Xavius Boyd.
The 6'1", 239-pound Boyd was a four-year starter at outside linebacker for the Hilltoppers while registering 28.5 career tackles for loss.
He finished this past season leading the team in tackles (103), tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (8.5) while earning the 2013 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year award.
The Ravens already have great depth at linebacker, but Boyd will make a strong case to be on the opening day 53-man roster. At worst, he'll make the practice squad.
Jace Davis, WR, Northern Colorado
The sleeper of the Raven's undrafted free-agent class could be Northern Colorado's Jace Davis. After Davis caught 50 passes for 642 yards and three touchdowns in 2012, Davis posted similar numbers with 44 catches for 673 yards and five touchdowns in 2013.
He finished his college career with 162 receptions for 2,470 yards and 16 touchdowns. Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, and he will be someone to watch in training camp with the Ravens' lack of proven pass-catchers.
Derrick Hopkins, DT, Virginia Tech
The 6'0", 312-pound Derrick Hopkins played in 13 games with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries in 2013.
Hopkins had a more productive 2012 season with 51 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, seven QB hurries and one forced fumble on his way to earning All-ACC honorable mention.
With the Ravens being stacked along the defensive line, Hopkins will likely be just a training camp body.
Jamie Meder, DT, Ashland
James Meder spent his college career in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in Division II. This, after he didn’t qualify academically coming out of Valley Forge High School.
Meder had an astounding 88 tackles (7.5 for loss) with three sacks and one forced fumble in 2013.
That earned him a spot in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl after the season, and he later worked out in front of NFL scouts at Ohio State’s pro day.
Still, he probably ends up being a camp body.
Jake Sinkovec, TE, Boston College
Jake Sinkovec was a seldom-used tight end for Boston College last year, and he caught a mere 14 passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns last season.
He's a project at best who has no shot of making the 53-man roster but could catch on with someone's practice squad if he works hard.
Rookie Minicamp Tryouts
According to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun, the following players were invited to the Ravens' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis:
Dustin Wharton, SS, Georgetown
D.J. Roberts, DE, Tennessee-Martin
Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan
Antwan Lowery, OG, Rutgers
Jeremiah Taylor, DE, Marshall
Jeremiah Taylor is the most notable name of those who will try to earn an invite to the Ravens' training camp.
Taylor missed nearly the entire 2013 college football season due to a fracture of the L5 disc in his lower back.
His last healthy season came in 2012, when he registered 54 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Fitzgerald Toussaint is also a name to watch for. He was a three-year starter with Michigan, and his most memorable season came as a sophomore in 2011 with 1,041 rushing yards.
He ran for 514 yards in 2012 before breaking his leg late in the season. As a senior in 2013, Toussaint rushed for 646 yards and 12 touchdowns.
One other player who's attending the tryout is Jerry Rice Jr., the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Rice Jr. caught just 11 balls for 86 yards last year in his lone season for the UNLV Rebels after transferring from UCLA. He caught his only college touchdown in his final game, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against North Texas.
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