Ravens rookie Correa shows versatility
— One series, Kamalei Correa lines up as an inside linebacker. He might play on the outside the next.
The rookie linebacker has turned heads with his play and versatility during the opening week of his first training camp with the Baltimore Ravens.
“He’s a football player,” head coach John Harbaugh said.
The Ravens drafted Correa 42nd overall in the second round of the NFL Draft. He played mostly outside linebacker at Boise State, where he recorded 31.5 tackles for loss and 20 sacks in three seasons. But with Pro Bowlers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil set to return from their respective injuries to start on the edges, Correa’s
best chance at regular playing time appears to be on the inside.
“It’s football, you still have to go get the ball,” Correa said Sunday at the Under Armour Performance Center. “I’m playing multiple positions, and I’m just trying to do what I can at every position and just soak in my information.”
The Honolulu native has displayed an impressive motor and a relentless pursuit of the ball carrier early in training camp. Correa’s size (6-3, 250 pounds) and quickness suggest can expect to see the field plenty as a rookie.
He appears to be competing to start in the middle of Baltimore’s 3-4 defense alongside Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley, the teammate Correa said he is learning the most from.
Mosley, entering his third season out of Alabama, is a player Correa has long admired.
“I used to watch him in college, and I was like, ‘That guy is good!’ Then he gets drafted to the Ravens, then I get drafted to the Ravens. I had a lot of flashbacks,” Correa said. “He obviously knows what he is doing. He’s actually been a great teammate to me; he’s been very patient with me. He is trying to work with me, because I’m running with the ‘ones’ right now. He is just allaround a good dude, and he is a damn good football player. I’m trying to model my game after him.”
Correa said Mosley’s best advice was “Just don’t think. Just get to the ball.”
While his ability to rush the quarterback drew attention in college, Correa showed that his pass
coverage is developing with an interception on Saturday.
“I’m still going to rush the passer, and I’m still going to drop,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever they say. That’s my job, and I’m trying to keep my job.”
Correa acknowledged how must faster and more talented players are in the NFL, but he’s dealing with that by continuing to be exactly what his head coach said he is – a football player.
“Nobody is junk. Everybody is good. So, you’ve got to be on your game every day, and you’ve got to come to work. If you don’t come to work, somebody is going to hit you upside your head,” he said. “It is still football at the end of the day. You’ve still got to go get the ball. You are rushing, you are dropping. But at the end of the day, you have to go find the ball.”
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Cornerback Jerraud Powers, right, defends receiver Kaelin Clay, left, on a pass across the middle during the Baltimore Ravens training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Monday.
Baltimore Ravens rookie linebacker Kamalei Correa takes part in a drill during training camp Sunday at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.