Ravens host several draft prospects

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OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens met with a draft prospect that already owns serious hardware, bringing in Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith for a visit.
The undersized, athletic Ohio State quarterback visited the Ravens' training complex this week. Although Smith excelled at the collegiate level where he earned All-American and All-Big Ten Conference accolades, scouts have raised questions about his lack of ideal size and mechanics.
The 6-foot, 225-pound senior struggled at the NFL scouting combine with his accuracy and timing. He had no such problems as a senior until the national championship game, where he was overwhelmed by the University of Florida pass rush.
After passing for 2,542 yards and 30 touchdowns with just six interceptions on 65.3 percent accuracy during the regular season last year, Smith fell apart under heavy pressure in the BCS title game. With star wide receiver Ted Ginn out with a sprained ankle, Smith completed just 4 of 14 passes for 35 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
The Ravens are in the market for a quarterback to groom behind starter Steve McNair, but it's unlikely to be journeyman passer Jay Fiedler. Contrary to a published report that stated Fiedler has already scheduled a workout with Baltimore, no workout has been scheduled or in the process of being lined up, according to Fiedler's agent.
"We haven't set anything up yet with Baltimore, and nothing is imminent or happening with them at this point," said Fiedler's agent, Brian Levy. "We have spoken to the Ravens about Jay in the past. The Ravens are concentrating on the draft right now."
Fiedler worked out for the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday, and Levy thought it went well. Fiedler apparently has a clean bill of health. The only quarterbacks Baltimore seems to be interested in presently are incoming rookies. University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb visited Baltimore this week, too.
Plus, the Ravens worked out Syracuse cornerback Tanard Jackson.
Regarded as a potential first-day draft prospect, Jackson improved his workout numbers significantly at his Pro Day from what he posted at the NFL scouting combine in February.
Jackson, who met with Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome and the defensive coaching staff, registered a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash after running a 4.52 at the combine. He recorded a 34 ½ inch vertical leap, two inches higher than his best showing in Indianapolis.
"I think the Ravens like him a lot," Jackson's agent, Ken Sarnoff, said in an e-mail. At 6-0, 192 pounds, Jackson is capable of playing cornerback or safety. He even played linebacker in some nickel packages last season.
"A lot of teams like me at the safety position," Jackson told reporters at the scouting combine. "I think it's just the system that I'll be drafted into that will determine where I'll be playing. The coaches like the versatility, the fact that I can play corner and safety, so it's an advantage for me right now."
Ravens assistant secondary coach Mark Carrier attended Jackson's workout on the Syracuse campus.
Other NFL scouts and coaches in attendance included the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. A Silver Spring native, Jackson visited the Buccaneers after leaving Baltimore. He will visit the Jets next week.
Jackson is a three-year starter who made the All-Big East team as a senior. He had 62 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks and two forced fumbles last season.
University of South Florida linebacker Stephen Nicholas visited Baltimore, doing individual film work with linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald and meeting with Newsome.
NOTES: University of Texas offensive tackle/guard Justin Blalock, the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year who visited Baltimore this week, has also visited the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Next week, he'll take visits to the Jets and St. Louis Rams. … University of Oklahoma linebacker Rufus Alexander met with the Ravens at the scouting combine, according to his agent, Doug Hendrickson. Alexander doesn't have a visit currently set up with Baltimore and is set to visit the Colts. … The Ravens have demonstrated interest in Texas cornerback Aaron Ross, the Jim Thorpe Award winner, but haven't set up a visit yet. Ross has visited the Cowboys and Falcons and has meetings set up with the Jets, Cincinnati Bengals and Eagles.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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