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Ravens rookie linebacker Zachary Orr lauded for high football IQ

One reason Ravens coach John Harbaugh decided to keep Orr on the 53-man roster was due to being an intelligent football player.

Scott Cunningham

One of the more surprising additions to this year's Ravens team is Zachary Orr, an undrafted linebacker out of North Texas.

But it seems the Ravens have one or two guys every year that come out of nowhere to make the 53-man roster. Orr would be that guy, with offensive tackle James Hurst a close second, though Hurst was a much higher-profile player in college at North Carolina.

It's safe to say that no one expected Orr to make this roster when the preseason began. But his ability to play special teams as an inside linebacker seemingly gave him an edge. The Ravens ultimately kept Orr over fellow linebacker Josh Bynes, who was released in favor of cornerback Derek Cox.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters earlier this week that Orr has a high football IQ, which contributed to making the roster.

"He's a really smart football player. To be a young guy, he's a guy that picks up football really quickly, and that's probably the biggest challenge," Harbaugh said. "There are a lot of players that physically can do it in this league, but football is a complicated sport. Not to disparage any other sports, but [there is] a lot of processing that goes on in football between when the ball is snapped and the end of the play comes in. It's not a simple process. And he's one of these guys who can understand and react on the run, do the right things. Not only that, [but] physically, he's pretty darn good. He can run, he's tough and he really made progress on special teams. He earned it."

Here's a good look at Orr's highlights during his North Texas days:

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