By: Barry Barnes,Founder
Owings Mills, MD – The Baltimore Ravens are in need of obtaining a wide receiver, or two. Jacoby Jones was released and Torrey Smith may or may not re-sign as a free agent. Tight end Dennis Pitta will be coming off an injury for the 2015 campaign and free agent Owen Daniels, at the age of 32, probably won’t be welcome back.
Fortunately, the Ravens had access to quietly watch 36 pass catchers from the Under Armour Performance Center last Saturday as they hosted one of the NFL Regional Combine sessions.
Matt Lengel was impressive, towering at 6-7, 270-pounds as an agile tight end. The Pennsylvania native displayed great control and balance and shown he can be a huge, solid pass catcher.
Other standout tight ends were Mitchell King (Pennsylvania) and Brian Parker (Albany, N.Y.). Parker, who stands at 6-3, 260-pounds, had a 40 and a half vertical jump.
The wide receivers varied in sizes, but demonstrated some skills. The competitive juices flowed during the broad jump as the players shouted and cheered. Virginia-Lynchburg’s Devon Stewart reigned as king and was label “the cheetah” due to his jumping ability posted nearly 11-feet for his broad jumps.
Milton Williams, III from Delaware State was solid in his broad jumps as well.
Jabri Ridenhour of Campbell is a fast, impact receiver, while Warren Oliver of Rowan displayed speed as a wide target.
Josh Reese, product of Central Florida, is lighting quick, and Derrick Joseph (Towson), Spencer Kulcsar (Pennsylvania) and Benjamin Ijah (Texas State) performed with solid technique and good hands.
Damon Byrd of MacMurray was effortless in his sessions. The 6-0, 165-pound speedster showed control and balance for his Short Shuttle workout and is fundamentally sound in his pass catching abilities. MacMurray is clearly on the small side, but he process nature talents that can’t be taught.
One thing the Ravens are not in the market for is a quarterback. Joe Flacco is the franchise. For a backup, Tyrod Taylor is a free agent and it’s up in the air if the Purple and Gold will look to draft a signal caller or re-sign the 25-years old quarterback. If the organization is curious about bring a quarterback into camp, Aaron Aiken of Coastal Carolina may fit the bill.
Like Taylor, Aiken is an athlete, just bigger standing at 6-5, 235-pounds. Aiken displayed a soft touch and accuracy, and was sharp in his 3-5-5-7 Step Drops/Throws. It’s difficult to judge a quarterback at a combine because they are not familiar with the targeted receivers. Aiken quickly examined his receivers and adjusted to their abilities to go deep, low and high.
The New Jersey native made his targets look good, and himself.
Among the ball carriers, Akron product Jawon Chisholm was tops. On hand to watch, free agent running back Justin Forsett was in the building with his son and was into watching the backs. “Man, this (NFL Regional Combine) is so cool. There is a lot of talent out here,” said Forsett, while containing his son from running.
Forsett looks to re-sign with the Ravens.
Chisholm has what the basketball community labels players with crazy leaping abilities, “bunnies.” He practically hopped before each of his workouts. The 6-1, 202-pound back is a pure athlete with receiving abilities. Outside of having good hands, Chisholm is explosive.
The Offensive linemen showed some talent. However, Denzelle Good of Mars Hill was the most consistent and polished from the group.
“My dad said I better get a scholarship or something (laughter),” said Good humbly when he discussed coming up as a young man and how much his family supported him.
Good stated he originally had a scholarship to play at N.C. State, but due to his academic issues, that opportunity was lost. He honored with another situation at Mars Hill and relished his second chance believing his time at the institution, “was God-send.”
The 6-7, 320-pound O-lineman was accompanied by his parents as they made the drive from North Carolina, and he did not disappoint. Good showed a combination of strength, speed and power. Good may have penciled himself into the Super Regional Combine with his performance.
While leaving the facility, Forsett was asked if he witnessed some future teammates. He responded saying, “It would be nice.”
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