Go­ing up against this year’s draft targets

Against Jaguars, Ravens get a look at what could have been with Ram­sey and Jack

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Ed­ward Lee

It was per­haps the worst-kept se­cret of the 2016 NFL draft.

On the night of April 28, the Ravens badly wanted the chance to select Florida State corner­back Jalen Ram­sey, who was avail­able when the Dal­las Cow­boys were mulling whom to choose with the fourth over­all pick. But when the Cow­boys de­manded the No. 6 pick and a third-round choice for the right to move up two spots in the first round, the Ravens re­fused to budge.

The rest is his­tory. The Cow­boys took Ohio State run­ning back Ezekiel El­liott, the Jack­sonville Jaguars scooped up Ram­sey and the Ravens se­lected Notre Dame left tackle Ron­nie Stan­ley.

On Sun­day, the Ravens will face a Jaguars team that starts Ram­sey and also em­ploys inside line­backer Myles Jack, an­other player who had been linked Sun­day, 1 p.m. TV: Chs. 13, 9 Ra­dio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM Line: Ravens by 1 to the Ravens.

The Ravens don’t usu­ally dab­ble in the hind­sight busi­ness. Through a team spokesman, gen­eral man­ager Ozzie New­some and as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager Eric DeCosta de­clined to com­ment.

Coach John Har­baugh did con­firm the team’s in­ter­est in Ram­sey and Jack, say­ing: “We thought they were really good foot­ball play­ers. You men­tioned Jalen Ram­sey, you men­tioned Myles Jack and you can go through their draft class. [The Jaguars] drafted a lot of play­ers that we liked and that we had rated very highly on our board. We know what kind of tal­ent they have, and it’s not just this year, ei­ther. You can go back to Dante Fowler, who’s healthy now, and oth­ers — the free agents they brought in. All of those guys are really good play­ers.”

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said the or­ga­ni­za­tion did not waste much time get­ting Ram­sey’s name to the league of­fice on draft day.

“There were a lot of good play­ers up there, but when he dropped to us, it was a no-brainer,” Bradley said dur­ing a con­fer-

Jaguars corner­back Jalen Ram­sey tries to catch Charg­ers wide re­ceiver Tyrell Wil­liams on Sun­day. Ram­sey has al­lowed just six catches for 48 yards and one touch­down this sea­son. ence call with the Bal­ti­more me­dia Wed­nes­day. “We knew ex­actly what we wanted to do. Now, hav­ing him in our camp and hav­ing him on our team … [he is] just the ul­ti­mate com­peti­tor, really driven. Like I said, highly com­pet­i­tive, a great team­mate, and he’s go­ing to have a really, really bright fu­ture.”

Ram­sey’s pro ca­reer be­gan anx­iously when he tore the menis­cus in his right knee dur­ing the team’s off­sea­son work­out program in May. But he re­turned in time to par­tic­i­pate in train­ing camp and earned the right to start both of Jack­sonville’s games thus far. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound corner­back has al­lowed just six catches for 48 yards and one touch­down, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

The Ravens are just as happy with the pro­duc­tion from their first-round choice. Stan­ley, 6-6, 320 pounds, made it easy for the team to re­lease for­mer starter Eu­gene Mon­roe. Stan­ley has started both games and has given up no sacks and one quar­ter­back hit, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

“He’s had two ‘plus’ games,” of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Marc Trest­man said of Stan­ley. “He got a cou­ple things hap­pen to him this week. He stood in there, got a lit­tle bit of a nick and stayed in there and worked.”

On April 29, the sec­ond day of the draft, the Ravens had an op­por­tu­nity in the sec­ond round to take Jack, the 6-1, 247pound stand­out at UCLA. But Jack’s recovery from a menis­cus tear in his right knee suf­fered last Septem­ber and his dis­clo­sure that he might need mi­crofrac- ture surgery were red flags sig­nif­i­cant enough to cause him to slide from be­ing a first-round pick.

The Ravens traded the 36th over­all se­lec­tion to the Jaguars in ex­change for their slot at No. 38 and a fifth-round choice. Jack­sonville grabbed Jack, and the Ravens — af­ter swap­ping No. 38 to the Mi­ami Dol­phins for the 42nd pick and a fourthround se­lec­tion — drafted line­backer Ka­malei Cor­rea from Boise State.

Cor­rea has con­trib­uted on spe­cial teams but has yet to play a snap on de­fense, where he has moved from out­side to inside line­backer. Cor­rea, 6-3, 250 pounds, un­der­stands the ex­pec­ta­tions as­so­ci­ated with be­ing a sec­ond-round pick, but those ex­pec­ta­tions don’t mean much to him.

“It’s not really my con­cern right now,” he said. “I’m just work­ing ev­ery day to get bet­ter. My main role right now is to help the team in any way pos­si­ble, and my role is just to play spe­cial teams right now. I’ve ac­cepted that role, and I’m just do­ing the best I can do each and ev­ery day — whether that’s on scout team to help the start­ing of­fense or whether that’s me get­ting a rep on de­fense.”

De­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dean Pees said Cor­rea, who is listed on the team’s depth chart as the pri­mary backup to starter Zachary Orr, is on the cusp of play­ing on Jaguars line­backer Myles Jack tack­les the Buc­ca­neers’ Jameis Win­ston in the pre­sea­son. Jack has two reg­u­lar-sea­son tack­les while back­ing up Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith.

“[The Jaguars] drafted a lot of play­ers that we liked and that we had rated very highly on our board.” Ravens coach John Har­baugh


“He’s right there,” Pees said. “We would have no prob­lem putting him in the game in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. If some­body went down or some­thing like that or even if we needed a blow or a ro­ta­tion right there, we wouldn’t have any prob­lem putting him in. He’s really come along that way and very, very well. The other guys are ahead of him right now, but I’ve got no qualms get­ting him in a game.”

For the Jaguars, Jack has made two tack­les while back­ing up start­ing lineback­ers Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith in their 4-3 scheme. Bradley said there is no need to rush Jack’s devel­op­ment.

“He’s learn­ing two spots and spe­cial teams,” Bradley said. “He’s pro­gress­ing. We’re con­stantly try­ing to find ways to speed this up to where he can go in there and the play­ers trust him at a high level, and he’s get­ting closer to that. We got him in some last week. We’ll see how he prac­tices this week and where he’s at with un­der­stand­ing ev­ery­thing.”

So which team came away with the bet­ter draft? Time will tell. But at the very least, the Ravens get a glimpse of what their fu­ture could have looked like when fac­ing the Jaguars on Sun­day.

Go to bal­ti­more­sun.com /ravens for:

Jonas Shaf­fer on the T-shirt fash­ion state­ment coach John Har­baugh made on the side­line Sun­day in Cleve­land

Video of Har­baugh dis­cussing his 54th birth­day

Jeff Zre­biec’s scout­ing re­port for Sun­day’s game against the Jaguars

Mike Pre­ston’s key Ravens-Jaguars matchups

Staff picks for Sun­day’s NFL games




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