Ravens add depth on second day

OWINGS MILLS – Building depth in key areas was the Baltimore Ravens' chief draft priority other than finally addressing their long-suffering wide receiver position.

The Ravens didn't have a first-round draft pick for the first time in their nine years of existence. 

General manager Ozzie Newsome traded his fourth-round draft pick Sunday to obtain veteran receiver Kevin Johnson one day after picking Oregon State defensive tackle Dwan Edwards in the second round and Washington State wideout Devard Darling in the third round.

During the second day of the NFL draft, the Ravens primarily focused on additions that could create competition or fill positions of need. 

The AFC North champions drafted Central Missouri outside linebacker Roderick Green in the fifth round, adding Bowling Green quarterback Josh Harris and Northern Arizona receiver Clarence Moore in the sixth round and Kentucky return specialist/receiver Derek Abney and East Carolina offensive tackle Brian Rimpf in the seventh round.

"For me, it was almost like being involved in a pitching duel," Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta said. "We didn't hit any home runs, but I think we got a lot of singles. We got some walks, scored some runs and won a close ballgame."

Green had 114 career tackles and 13 sacks as a Division II defensive end, but will have to make the transition to pro linebacker.

"He can run," Ravens director of player personnel Phil Savage said. "He's aggressive. He can rush the passer."
Harris will inherit the Ravens' third quarterback spot vacated by unrestricted free agent Chris Redman, the former starter unseated by Kyle Boller last year.

The son of former Cincinnati Bengals tight end M.L. Harris is regarded as a mobile passer who offers long-term potential behind Boller and Anthony Wright.

Harris produced 9,976 yards of total offense along with 98 touchdowns, but will be making the transition from the shotgun formation. Savage said the 6-foot-1, 238-pound Harris appeared comfortable dropping back from center at the Senior Bowl.

"He's a quarterback," Savage said. "He's got a good arm. I wouldn't classify it as a great arm, but they were very productive at Bowling Green. He's someone that we had kind of been watching the last few years."

The Ravens then added Moore, a nearly 6-6 champion triple jumper who posted career totals of 182 catches, 3,042 yards and 28 touchdowns for the Lumberjacks. DeCosta compared his potential to departed starter Marcus Robinson.

"He was projected somewhere in the neighborhood of the fourth round," Savage said. "He can run a little better than he looks because he is a long strider. He'll add some depth and put some pressure on some of the guys that are here right now."

Abney is an accomplished return man who ran back six punts and two kickoffs for scores to tie an NCAA return mark held by Cliff Branch and Johnny Rodgers.

His presence creates a likely training-camp battle with incumbent Lamont Brightful.

Rimpf has good size and is versatile enough to line up at guard or tackle.

The Ravens surprisingly didn't draft a defensive back.

"We may not get all of the highlights or headlines, but from my standpoint, we were able to get some quality people, some people that can come in and help, but also some players that we think can be developed," Newsome said. "I'm very pleased. 

"As [Brian Billick] and I have talked about many times, we're ready to play now. He knows that I'm heading to the golf course and he can start to work."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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