The Ravens have developed a reputation over the years for finding hidden gems in the pool of undrafted free agents. Whether it be examples from the early 2010’s like Justin Tucker or Zach Orr, or more recent players like Patrick Mekari or Gus Edwards - the Ravens brain trust tends to have an eye for landing and developing unheralded talent.
As a result, there is great anticipation surrounding Baltimore’s UDFA class year after year and 2020 is no exception. If the Ravens are to find another undrafted contributor this season, who might it be?
Here are some of the top names to keep an eye on.
1) Jacob Breeland, TE
Out of all the undrafted rookies scooped up by the Ravens, TE Jacob Breeland has garnered the most buzz as a legitimate candidate to make the team.
Standing at 6-foot-6 with a 252-pound frame, Breeland certainly looks the part of an NFL tight end. He played four seasons with the Oregon Ducks and posted career totals of 74 receptions for over 1,200 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.
Breeland suffered a knee injury in October and had his senior season cut short after only six games. Prior to this, though, Breeland had already exceeded his best single-season numbers in catches (26), receiving yards (405) and touchdowns (6). He was well on his way to a fantastic campaign which likely would have landed him on more NFL radars in the draft.
Presuming he returns to full health, Breeland figures to compete for the No. 3 tight end spot on the Ravens depth chart - which is now vacant after the team traded Hayden Hurst. Barring an unforeseen trade or acquisition, this battle will come down to Breeland and Charles Scarff, who was on the Ravens practice squad last season.
Breeland’s versatility as a blocker and pass-catching ability give him a good shot.
2) Chauncey Rivers, EDGE
Another highly-touted name is Chauncey Rivers, an edge-rusher out of Mississippi St. Rivers journey to the NFL has been quite a rollercoaster ride.
Rivers originally committed to play college football at Georgia in 2015 but was dismissed following two games after running into some legal issues. Then he wound up at East Mississippi Community College before transferring to Mississippi State and redshirting one year before becoming a full-time starter in 2019.
He was invited to the scouting combine but ultimately didn’t get picked up by any team in the draft. In two seasons with the Bulldogs, Rivers posted a combined 67 tackles, 15.5 TFL and eight sacks - five of which came last year.
Rivers has a solid physical profile and good athleticism. His chances to make the roster hinge on how many edge-rushers the Ravens seek to keep. Currently, the depth chart consists of four penciled-in contributors in Matthew Judon, Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson. After that, though, Rivers is the only name of note.
What helps his case is that of the aforementioned list, only Ferguson is currently under contract after the 2020 season. Rivers youth and upside could be a selling point in him making the final roster.
3) Nigel Warrior, S
A three-year starter at Tennessee, Nigel Warrior’s collegiate career was a bit up-and-down. He flashed as a true freshman and took his game to another level in 2017, but struggled with inconsistency during his junior campaign in 2018.
He ended his time with the Volunteers on a high note, though, putting together a strong senior season this past year. In 2019, Warrior snagged four interceptions and returned them for a total of 102 yards, while also posting seven defended passes and 60 total tackles.
Warrior brings some positive attributes to the table and is versatile. The pedigree is also there, too, as he’s the son of former All-Pro and Pro Bowl safety Dale Carter.
He’ll likely face an uphill climb given the Ravens quality depth at both safety positions in the form of Earl Thomas III, Chuck Clark, Anthony Levine Sr. and DeShon Elliott. There’s also Geno Stone, too, who Baltimore drafted in the seventh round.
However, we know the Ravens love having an abundance of defensive backs.
4) Tyler Huntley, QB
Perhaps the most interesting name on this list is Tyler Huntley, a quarterback prospect out of Utah. Huntley flashed at times during his first three collegiate seasons before putting all the pieces together in 2019.
Huntley’s senior campaign consisted of 3,092 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns to only four interceptions and a completion percentage of 73.1%. Furthermore, he added 290 rushing yards and five scores on the ground.
His dual-threat ability and athletic ability make the Ravens a good fit him to potentially find his footing in the NFL. Huntley’s schematic fit behind Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III makes a lot of sense on paper. Unfortunately, for him, the Ravens already have Trace McSorley on the roster too, who isn’t necessarily a lock to make the 53-man this time around either.
Huntley would have to truly impress over the summer to leapfrog McSorley in the pecking order and make a strong enough case to convince the Ravens that if they do want to keep three quarterbacks on the roster, he should be the third guy behind Jackson and RGIII.
5) Bronson Rechsteiner, FB
The signing of Bronson Rechsteiner to the 90-man roster immediately generated buzz and it’s not difficult to see why. Rechsteiner is the son of Rick Steiner, a professional wrestler and champion, at that, and fits the mold of a bruising NFL fullback.
Rechsteiner is a physical beast and dominated small-school competition as the leading rusher for Kennesaw State. Rechsteiner saw 112 rushing attempts in 2019 and turned them into 909 rushing yards and seven scores, while averaging a cool 8.1 YPC.
Unfortunately, the Ravens are already set at fullback with Pat Ricard, who was recently given a contract extension and is fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance. The thought of Ricard and Rechsteiner in the backfield together is a fun one, as that duo would almost certainly block and run over any defender in their path.
The chances of the Ravens keeping two fullbacks on the active roster is highly unlikely but Rechsteiner could find his way on the practice squad.
- Sean Pollard, OL
- Trystan Colon-Castillo, OL
- John Daka, EDGE