In case you are one of the millions of NFL fans who turn off the ESPN or the NFLN channel when the final pick is made in the annual NFL Draft, Ozzie Newsome wants you to remember—
Every team in the NFL will immediately get busy signing worthy talent who were not selected in the main event.
Does the name Arian Foster ring a bell?
As Ryan Mink reports from BaltimoreRavens.com, the Ravens had 185 draftable players on their board in 2013, more than a typical year. That means there are better players than usual that didn't get selected in the 2013 NFL Draft.
It also means the Ravens' scouting department was aggressively hitting the phones looking to sign undrafted rookie free agents.
"I think last year we had the entire 150 wiped out," Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "This year, I think we have about 15 or 20 guys still left on the front board as draftable prospects, so our scouts are doing a great job of recruiting those guys, trying to get those guys to come [to Baltimore]."
The Ravens allot a certain amount of money they are willing to spend on an undrafted rookie free agent. Then it's the responsibility of a coach or scout to convince their assigned players to sign.
Since undrafted players are free agents, they are allowed to sign with anybody, and thus the competition to ink them can get rather intense.
Ryan Mink: "Baltimore has an edge because it has a strong track record of undrafted players making the team, having success and getting paid by either the Ravens or another team. The list includes running back Priest Holmes, linebacker Bart Scott, center Mike Flynn, linebacker
"We utilized that as a tool when we started recruiting guys two months ago, three months ago," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said.
DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz, National Scout Joe Douglas and Southeast Area Scout Mark Azevedo are in charge of the recruiting system. It includes Harbaugh and his phone number, as the coach is often brought in to seal the deal.
Here is the list of the players who have signed with the Ravens this past weekend as undrafted free agents, according to The Baltimore Sun:
- TE Matt Furstenberg, Maryland
- OT Jeff Braun, West Virginia
- OT Rogers Gaines, Tennessee State
- DL/LB Brandon Copeland, Penn
- QB Trent Steelman, Army
- RB Ray Holley, Louisiana Tech
- DB Brynden Trawick, Troy
- TE Murphy Halloway, Ole Miss
- DE Will Pericak, Colorado
- WR Gerrard Shepard, Towson
- CB Moe Lee, Utah
- DB Jose Cheeseborough, Florida International
- OL Jordan Devey,Memphis
And the following players have been invited to next week's minicamp for a tryout, according to The Baltimore Sun:
- TE Chris Harris, Elon U.
- OL Steve Demilio, Elon U.
You never know which or any of these guys might impress enough to get another look in training camp this summer. I have a special interest in Gerrard Shepard of Towson, whom I have watched in person on many an occasion at Towson home games.
There is a name missing from this list but I think he will get a call from Ozzie. His name is Demetrius Hartfield, a middle linebacker from Maryland. He was a leader of the Maryland Terps defense the past few years and he led the team in tackles. I am betting he gets a shot to try out for the team—and it would not surprise me if he at least gets a spot on the 90-man roster heading into training camp.