Ravens finalizing draft plans

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' training complex has been seeing heavy traffic this month as the personnel department continues its fact-finding mission heading into the NFL draft.

By meeting with a diverse mixture of prospects ranging from Texas quarterback Vince Young to South Carolina safety Ko Simpson, the Ravens are finalizing contingency plans and compiling vital medical and personal information.

"This is an opportunity to dot our i's and cross our t's," general manager Ozzie Newsome said Wednesday. "We have them in for different reasons, and this is the last opportunity we have to talk with them face-to-face. All the information you can get is valuable information, whether they're drafted by you or they go into the league with someone else."

For visitors like Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the Ravens can perform a follow-up exam of his surgically-repaired knee that cost him the entire 2005 season as he tore ligaments and his hamstring tendon last summer.

It also gives the Ravens a chance to discuss an off-field incident with Florida State defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. He was arrested in 2003 for theft of a video game where he pleaded no contest, paid a fine and served community service.

In Florida State linebacker Ernie Sims' case, there's a 2005 misdemeanor domestic violence charge involving his girlfriend where he ultimately pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and received probation.

A Tallahassee Police report stated that Sims picked his girlfriend up and prevented her from leaving. The girlfriend didn't want to press charges, according to police officials.

"He grabbed her, held onto her and wouldn't let her get away," the report said. "He did not hit or beat or slap her. She had a scrape or something. She wouldn't let us photograph her. He had some defensive wounds."

Sims, who has a history of giving and receiving concussions on the field, had a clean record prior to the misdemeanor arrest and hasn't been in trouble since.

The Ravens' visit list includes: defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (Oregon), Bunkley and John McCargo (North Carolina State), linebacker Sims, defensive backs Cromartie, Simpson, Jason Allen (Tennessee), Richard Marshall (Fresno State) and Alan Zemaitis (Penn State), offensive linemen Chris Chester (Oklahoma) and Fred Matua (USC), quarterbacks Young, Kellen Clemens (Oregon) and Charlie Whitehurst (Clemson) as well as running back Maurice Drew (UCLA).

Players with past medical issues include: Ngata (torn anterior cruciate ligament), Allen (dislocated hip), Clemens (fractured ankle), Chester (knee) and McCargo (stress fracture in his foot).

The Ravens also have an eye on Texas safety Mike Huff, Florida State end/outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and USC offensive tackle Winston Justice, but haven't felt a need to bring them in for visits.

Meanwhile, the Ravens are expected to pursue Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair if he's released before or after the draft because of a contract impasse over his $23.46 million salary-cap figure. The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance on McNair's behalf since the Titans barred him from working out at their facility, citing liability concerns.

Although the Ravens still have incumbent Kyle Boller under contract, they have put him on notice that he'll have to compete for the starting job. Because of Boller's uncertain status, the Ravens are probably in the market for two quarterbacks: a veteran starter like McNair or Kerry Collins for the next year or two along with a young, developmental prospect such as Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle.

"There are still some quarterbacks available in free agency or some that could be put out into the market after the draft that we feel like could help our football team," Newsome said. "That could be someone for the future that would be attractive to us, or someone that could help us right now. I think it's a good crop of college quarterbacks, and I think you can find good quarterbacks in every round of the draft."

NOTES: Newsome indicated that the Ravens will either sign another veteran punter or acquire a rookie to compete with newly-signed Leo Araguz at training camp. ... Former Ravens quarterback Anthony Wright signed a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. ... The Ravens have spoken with Ohio State linebacker Anthony Schlegel, the boar-hunting Texan who doubles as a long snapper. Schlegel has visited the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, according to his agent.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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