The Baltimore Ravens draft class and their undrafted free agents are both heavily focused on defense. Only two of the 17 signed, undrafted free agents are wide receivers, so it is clear that the Ravens want to create a stronger defensive line. As OTAs have just begun, it will be interesting to see which rookies advance to the roster.
Who makes the roster will be a tough decision with such a wide variety of defensive players to choose from. I think rookie C.J. Mosley definitely has a spot on the roster as a starter. The star inside linebacker from Alabama will make a major impact on the Ravens defense, which is in need of some rebuilding.
Aside from Mosley, I think the rest of the 2014 draft class has potential to land on the roster, including Timmy Jernigan, Terrence Brooks, Crockett Gillmore, Brent Urban, Lorenzo Taliaferro, John Urschel, Keith Wenning, and Michael Campanaro. As long as Taliaferro can stay out of trouble, the team really needs to strengthen its running back selection after a rough season from Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Taliaferro could certainly prove to be what the offense is looking for.
One undrafted free agent to keep an eye on through training and preseason is cornerback Sammy Seamster from Middle Tennessee State. As a senior in 2013, Seamster totaled 33 tackles and made his first-career interception. I think he would be a great match alongside Lardarius Webb and hope to see him on the roster soon enough.
As far as quarterbacks go, Joe Flacco definitely has his ups and downs but a stronger backup might be helpful. I see Keith Wenning as a powerful No. 2 later down the road and expect him to learn and grow through the duration of the offseason. As a two-time team captain at Ball State, Wenning not only has impressive athleticism but also great leadership experience.
Ravens made an offensive move this week with the signing of an undrafted running back, Fitzgerald Toussaint from Michigan. In his sophomore season he rushed for 1,041 yards with nine rushing touchdowns and one receiving the same year. Toussaint performed well at pro day with a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and a 6.59-second 3-cone drill. If Pierce and Rice continue to slack, I think Toussaint would fit into the offensive line perfectly. I hope to see him added to the roster and have been concerned about the lack of running back depth.
Another undrafted free agent to watch is linebacker Zachary Orr from North Texas. The Ravens need another valuable linebacker, especially if they are trying to rebuild their defense. In 46 career games, Orr totaled 365 tackles, five sacks, three interceptions, and nine fumble recoveries. This is exactly what the defensive line could benefit from. I believe Orr will make the roster and eventually become a significant addition to the defense.
Fans will eagerly follow OTA updates and watch for any progression through the remainder of the offseason. Anything can happen between now and the official season, so all the rookies have ample opportunity to prove themselves before it’s too late. Ravens have benefited drastically from undrafted free agents, including their powerhouse kicker Justin Tucker. Hopefully officials continue to make the right decisions.