Ravens to host hard-hitting safety

OWINGS MILLS -- Which hard-hitting safety is about to visit the Baltimore Ravens? Which player just re-signed with the Ravens? Subscribers, please keep reading for further details.

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens appear to be in the market to acquire some depth at safety, and are hosting Arkansas State safety Tyrell Johnson for a visit at their training complex.

Johnson will also visit the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons, according to his agent.

"There's been a lot of activity," said Jack Bechta, who also represents Ravens nose guard Kelly Gregg. "I think he'll be gone by the end of the second round. It's looking like he could be one of the first safeties off the board."

In the secondary, the Ravens are set as far as the starting lineup with Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed and third-year strong safety Dawan Landry. However, they are the only pure safeties currently on the roster.

Backup safety Gerome Sapp is an unrestricted free agent, but there hasn't been any push toward a new contract from team officials.

Generally, it's not considered a strong class for safeties with University of Miami standout Kenny Phillips the only one projected to go in the first round. However, Johnson has been rising on draft boards.

At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, Johnson has played both free and strong safety.

Johnson intercepted six passes as a senior, registering 13 for his career. His 363 tackles ranks atop the Sun Belt Conference's all-time list.

Although he played at a small school, Johnson has excelled against elite competition.

Against the Texas Longhorns, Johnson recorded 14 tackles and an interception. And he racked up eight tackles, an interception, three pass deflections and a forced fumble against the Tennessee Volunteers.

He totaled 25 tackles in one game against North Texas despite a knee injury.

At the NFL scouting combine, Johnson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times and turned in a 10-7 broad jump.

Johnson has good blood lines, too. His mother was a sprinter at Arkansas and his father played in the NBA.

"I think the team that picks him will be looking for him to contribute right away," Bechta said. "The team that has a luxury pick could have him come in as the third guy, rotating in and playing on special teams."

NOTES: Exclusive-rights free agent defensive back Jamaine Winborne re-signed with Baltimore. ... The Ravens attended the Pro Day for University of Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, who's progressing well from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.


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