Ravens agree to terms with DE Michael McAdoo
OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to terms on a rookie free agent deal with former University of North Carolina defensive end Michael McAdoo after he went undrafted Monday in the NFL supplemental draft.
McAdoo is regarded as an intriguing, albeit a somewhat raw prospect.
At 6-foot-7, 245 pounds, the rangy, athletic pass rusher projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end and has the frame to bulk up and add additional pounds.
"The first thing I bring to the table is passion about the game," McAdoo said in a telephone interview prior to the supplemental draft. "I'm very confident. I love the game of football. I'm somebody who works hard and goes hard every down. I can bring a lot to whatever team decides to pick me on Monday.
"I like both positions. I like rushing the passer. It really doesn't matter. I just want to play football wherever they put me."
McAdoo recorded 29 tackles, 10 for losses and 3 1/2 sacks in two years while playing in a rotation.
McAdoo was ruled ineligible last seasondue to academic fraud and sued the university and the NCAA seeking damages, asserting that he was deprived of the opportunity to play and that the NCAA based its decision on incorrect factual information.
His request for an injunction was ultimately denied, though.
"Last year, it was just hard because just waking up every day knowing you can't play the game that you love the most," McAdoo said. "I'm not going to lie, it hurt me a lot."
According to reports, McAdoo was found guilty by the North Carolina student honor court of submitting a paper that didn't properly credit someone else's work.
"I'm not a bad person," McAdoo said. "I love the game of football. The people that I hung out with and associated with they assumed I was just like them other guys.
"It was guilt by association. I'm a good guy. They can check my background and know that I don't have any issues off the field. They just have to get to know me."
Heading into his junior season, McAdoo was named the defensive Most Valuable Player of the spring game with four sacks and an interception.
As a sophomore, he played in every game and recorded 20 tackles, seven for losses and one sack.
As a freshman McAdoo had nine tackles, three tackle for losses and 2 1/2 sacks.
McAdoo runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.6 to 4.7 range.
In high school, he was ranked as one of the top 50 defensive ends in the nation as he registered 60 tackles, 12 for losses and five sacks as a senior with 13 sacks as a junior.
McAdoo said it 's encouraging for him to see other former North Carolina players who lost their eligibility due to NCAA rule violations, including New York Giants second-round defensive tackle Marvin Austin,Cleveland Browns second-round wide receiver Greg Little and St. Louis Rams first-round defensive end Robert Quinn, have found a home in the NFL.
"Yes, it gives me a lot of confidence," McAdoo said. "I talk to those guys like every day they tell me and preach to me, 'Mike, you'll be here one day, you can fit in as well as any other guys.'"
Ellerbe's timing, timeliness much improved
OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe timed his blitz perfectly, busting into the backfield untouched to deck Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel.
Combining for the sack with cornerback Lardarius Webb, Ellerbe was right on time. He arrived so early that the Chiefs were unable to react to his rapid burst.
Now, the former University of Georgia standout is mirroring that timing by how he conducts himself at the Ravens' training complex by no longer showing up late after some tardiness issues during his second NFL season.
Ellerbe took up residence in the Ravens' doghouse last year for a variety of reasons, but indicated he doesn't concern himself with the past or how he's perceived.
"I really don't worry about that," said Ellerbe, who's trying to unseat incumbent Jameel McClain for a starting job at inside linebacker. "I've been going through that ever since college. I'm kind of used to that. I just go out and do my thing and work hard out here.
"I went through it my whole career at Georgia just about. I'm used to it. I really don't care about what people say as long as I know what I'm doing is right and as long as I'm good in-house with the coaches."
Last year, Ellerbe, 25, got heavier than the coaches wanted him to during the offseason last year. He was ordered to report at 240 pounds by training camp, which he did.
He showed up five minutes late for at least one flight to an away game.
"It was a couple of times," Ellerbe said. "It really wasn't my fault I was late, but I'll take responsibility for it."
And Ellerbe angered coach John Harbaugh during the Ravens'preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams when he showboated into the end zone during an interception return in his first NFL touchdown.
Harbaugh immediately berated Ellerbe before he even made it back to the sideline after the touchdown.
"It was a learning experience," Ellerbe said. "It was my first NFL touchdown. I just wanted to do something to spark up the defense. I hope I earned his trust and I look forward to moving on."
This year, though, Ellerbe's relationship with the coaching staff seems to have improved significantly.
He's not getting yelled at anymore, and he has drawn praise from defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
"I feel like this should be my best year as far as my relationship with the coaches," Ellerbe said.
The Ravens have started McClain each of the first two preseason games, but Ellerbe was impressive in a start against Kansas City with All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis excused from the game due to a family illness.
"Dannell has really matured," Pagano said. "He's just starting to shine. He's confident, he's big, he's physical, he's fast, he can run, he can cover. So, he can do a lot of different things.
"He's taking notes, he's in his iPad, he's studying, he's asking the right questions and it's showing up on the field. You've got great mentors and great guys here, so if you just say, ‘Whatever he's doing, do what he does,' your game is bound to rise also. I'm really proud of him that way."
Ellerbe is a speedy 6-foot-1, 243-pounder who was the lone undrafted rookie to make the Ravens' roster two years ago, ending that season as a starter opposite Lewis.
In college, Ellerbe was so highly regarded as a blue-chip recruit from North Carolina that he was nicknamed "The Phenom."
"That's because I was fast when I came in, fast and strong and I was doing a lot of stuff athletically," Ellerbe said. "In running drills, they would me run with the defensive backs and I was a linebacker."
Ellerbe wound up not being drafted primarily because of concerns about his character following a driving under the influence incident where he ran a car into a tree and was suspended. He also dealt with a lingering knee injury for his senior year and his level of play dropped.
Ellerbe wound up recording eight tackles in his first NFL start against the Chicago Bears as a rookie. He intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble against the Oakland Raiders, finishing seventh on the team with 55 tackles for the league's third-ranked defense.
Last year, though, Ellerbe's playing time dwindled as he appeared in 11 games with one start and his production dipped to 29 tackles and one sack.
During the playoffs, there was something of resurgence as Ellerbe had six tackles and forced a fumble in an AFC divisional playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still, McClain had already established himself and Ellerbe had been demoted after starting the final three games as a rookie.
"I took it as a stepping stone," Ellerbe said. "It just means I had to work even harder and fight even harder for what I want. I appreciate it. It's making me a better person."
What does Ellerbe have to do to win the job?
"I've got to play better than him," Ellerbe said. "I think I'm playing good. I'm not making mental errors. I'm making plays, I'm not getting plays made on me. I'm feeling good.
"I feel like I can do everything: cover, take on fullbacks, rush. I did it all my rookie year. I played every snap. I know I can do it."
Notebook: New tackle Mark LeVoir runs with the starters
OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens are in an evaluation mode with offensive tackle Mark LeVoir, force-feeding him the playbook by having him learn on the job.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound former New England Patriots lineman was the first-string right tackle for the entire practice Monday.
However, LeVoir is going to face competition from rookie third-round draft pick Jah Reid for the starting job.
Reid is still considered the frontrunner to win the job after improving his play significantly against the Kansas City Chiefs following a rough debut against the Philadelphia Eagles
"I don't know if it's narrowed down to any point," Cameron said. "We're still evaluating everybody. This is a big game. Ultimately, we will go with our best five. We've got to let this thing play out, at least for a couple weeks."
LeVoir acknowledged that he has a lot to absorb heading into the third preseason game Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.
"I've got a lot to learn," he said. "I'm trying to pick up these plays as fast as I can so I know what I'm doing out there."
LeVoir, 29, appeared to be a quick study Monday, holding his own and not busting assignments.
"He asks veteran questions," Cameron said."He knows NFL defenses. He's just got to get accustomed to how we go about doing things. He's a veteran football player and we'll find out a lot about him Thursday night. .. Jah did a nice job. He has improved this week. There is competition, there always will be."
For the second time, Cameron referenced shifting offensive guard Marshal Yanda back to right tackle as an option the team will consider.
The Ravens also got Ramon Harewood some playing time at left tackle.
Drafted in the sixth round out of Morehouse last year, Harewood missed his entire rookie season after undergoing surgeries on both knees.
"We took a huge step the other night, the young tackles did," Cameron said. "Even Ramon Harewood had a nice night. He has potential, there is no doubt. I like his approach. He has had a long way to go, but his approach lends itself to getting better and I like that."
SECONDARY SHUFFLE: Tom Zbikowski was back working with the first-team defense after Bernard Pollard started last week at strong safety.
"I think it's all going to shake itself out,"defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said.
Pollard recorded 112 tackles last season for the Houston Texans and intercepted a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles in his first game for Baltimore after signing a two-year contract.
"He's done a great job," Pagano said. "He's been in here night and day spending time with the coaches. They've done a good job of getting him up to speed.
"He's made very few mistakes. He's got some special abilities, especially when he's down around the box and blitzing."
Cary Williams worked with the first-team defense at cornerback.
Rookie first-round draft pick Jimmy Smith and veteran Domonique Foxworth split time at the other cornerback spot.
"We've got great competition going on," Pagano said. "We feel like they're all doing what they're supposed to do. We got guys in position to make some plays out there. We've got some guys making some, we've got some guys not finishing some plays. They're right there."
Smith was in position against Pro Bowl wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, but didn't make a play on the ball.
"Jimmy was in great position early in that ballgame," Pagano said. "It was good for him to get some live action like that. The speed of the game is one thing that a guy like that comes from college and he's not used to that and all of a sudden the ball's on him, where they wouldn't even dare throw it in college. That's good to see."
INJURY UPDATES: Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson didn't practice for the second day in a row due to a back injury.
Johnson aggravated his back against the Chiefs. He said he should be able to practice in a few days.
Also not practicing: safety Marcus Paschal (quadriceps), center Matt Birk (knee surgery), wide receivers James Hardy (hamstring), Justin Harper and Terrell Zachery.
Free safety Ed Reed and rookie cornerback Chykie Brown returned to practice.
Cornerback Chris Carr (hamstring) and offensive guard Marshal Yanda (back spasms) took part in practice on a limited basis.
Running back Matt Lawrence (knee) was limited, too.
BECK TRADE REVISITED: The Ravens made a one-sided trade a year ago, exchanging quarterback John Beck for cornerback Doug Dutch in a rare player-for-player transaction.
Dutch didn't make the Ravens and isn't in the NFL this year.
Beck is regarded as having the edge for the Redskins' starting quarterback job ahead of Rex Grossman.
When the Raven made this move last year, they had injuries at cornerback that made it difficult to practice. They also had Marc Bulger, who has since retired, as their backup quarterback.
Hindsight makes the trade look worse than it really was.
"Last year's circumstances when we went out there to get Marc Bulger and go with two quarterbacks was a unique opportunity," Cameron said. "I think that was the thing that really just factored into it. It was nothing that he didn't do here that facilitated that. We had positive feelings about that, and obviously they did as well."
Cameron drafted Beck in the second round out of Brigham Young when he was the Miami Dolphins' head coach.
"He was a really good college player, and he got throw in probably way before anybody anticipated," Cameron said. "He is one of the harder workers I have been around. I am hearing good things about what he is doing. I think everybody around here has a lot of respect for him. Nothing John can do in a positive way would surprise me."
QUICK HIT: Special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is working with outside linebacker Sergio Kindle to refine his technique after he narrowly missed blocking two punts against the Chiefs.
"He's a pass rusher, so I think those skills match up well to what we're asking him to do on our punt return team,"
Rosburg said."When we got him out there, we called his number each time to find out if that's something he can do for us. He certainly showed his ability to get off the ball, and his power showed up, because in both of them he was blocked and he powered his way through the block."
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