OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens were sufficiently impressed with former Florida State quarterback Xavier Lee's work at tight end during a tryout that they signed him to a contract.
Lee was one of three players signed by Baltimore that recently tried out in a full-team minicamp, also adding former New York Jets offensive guard Adrien Clarke and defensive tackle Kelly Talavou to the roster.
At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Lee flashed athleticism and solid hands last weekend while playing an unfamiliar position. Due to injuries to several tight ends, including Quinn Sypniewski being out for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Ravens are extremely thin on depth at that position.
Ironically, Lee declared early for the draft after the Seminoles' coaching staff requested that he move to tight end for his senior year.
"Xavier's got a chance to be a quarterback, but, if you look at that body, he could play a lot of things," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Sunday. "He was running routes and catching the ball and he would have a chance athletically to play tight end.
"They were right at Florida State. He could be a heck of a tight end. Plus, we need help at tight end. It makes sense."
For his career, Lee passed for 2,322 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while rushing for 217 yards and five touchdowns.
Named Mr. Football as a high school senior in Daytona Beach, Lee started six games at Florida State and was suspended for three others due to academic issues. He was ruled ineligible for the Music City Bowl.
In high school, Lee set Florida prep records for passing yards (9,082), touchdown passes (98) and completions (549).
"I am a quarterback, but I'm open to playing tight end," Lee said. "I want to show them that I can play in the NFL and that I'm willing to work hard."
Meanwhile, Clarke (6-5, 330 pounds) started several games for the Jets last season prior to being cut in February. Talavou (6-2, 334 pounds) ended last season on the Seatlle Seahawks' practice squad.
The Ravens also cut defensive tackle Zarnell Fitch, a former Texas Christian player who spent time last season on their practice squad.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
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