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Ravens News 5/15: Horn Jr. signs, the Oklahoma pipeline and more

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

PFF’s top 25 NFL players under 25 for 2019 - Mark Chichester


Age at kickoff: 23 years, 1 month, 29 days

Humphrey will enter his third year in the NFL as arguably the most important player on the Ravens’ defense, but his play over the last two seasons has proved that he’s more than up to up to that daunting title. Humphrey has amassed 37 forced incompletions over the last two seasons — the seventh-most among cornerbacks in that timeframe — and his 65.7 passer rating allowed is the third-best mark among those with at least 500 coverage snaps.

Marlon Humphrey has all the tools to become a perennial All-Pro.

Baltimore Sooners: Why Ravens love Oklahoma offensive pipeline - Jamison Hensley

“The mentality they create there, the offensive style they’re running, that fits what we’re doing here in Baltimore,” said Joe Hortiz, the team’s director of player personnel. “So, I think that plays into it. But it’s really just opportunity meeting our draft board, and it’s just worked out great for us. We certainly love the mentality they come in with, so we’re going to keep shopping there hopefully.”

The Ravens’ love affair with Oklahoma players can be traced to 2005, the first season in which DeCosta replaced Phil Savage as Newsome’s right-hand man. That year, Baltimore used its first two picks on Oklahoma players: wide receiver Mark Clayton and pass-rusher Dan Cody. Even though neither lived up to expectations, that started a run in which the Ravens selected eight Oklahoma players over the next 15 drafts.

But if the Ravens have success with Sooners such as Andrews, Orlando Brown, Marquise Brown, Powers and safety Tony Jefferson (a top free-agent pickup in 2017), Baltimore could continue to tap into its central U.S. pipeline.

”Those guys paved the way,” Powers said of his former Sooners teammates on the Ravens, “and they know what we’re bringing from Oklahoma and the standard we come from and the will we have to win.”

Surprisingly, Oklahoma was not among the top-10 NFL producing colleges before the most recent draft.

The Most Important Raven Flying Under the Radar - John Eisenberg

Willie Henry gets my vote as the possibly most important Ravens player flying furthest under the radar.

The fourth-year defensive lineman has been out of sight and mind because he barely saw the field in 2018. He missed the first quarter of the season due to hernia surgery, then played in three games before going on injured reserve in October.

The last time he saw significant snaps, in 2017, he was the team’s best interior pass rusher, a consistent high-energy presence. He finished that season with 3.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hits and 32 tackles.

In line to shoulder a large role as an interior pass rusher, Henry is an exciting breakout candidate.

Joe Horn Jr., Son of Four-Time Pro Bowl WR, Signs With Ravens - Clifton Brown

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Horn had 15 catches for 246 yards last season at Division II Missouri State, and impressed Head Coach John Harbaugh during minicamp. Horn is the son of four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn Sr., who starred with the New Orleans Saints and set their franchise record for touchdown catches with 50.

Harbaugh saw similarities between father and son.

“His son looks like him -- quick, fast, really good hands, in and out of breaks,” Harbaugh said. “You can tell he’s worked with his dad a lot on technique. I just thought he looked excellent.”

The front office has a fondness for prospects with NFL bloodlines.