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Ravens News 5/4: Immediate contributors and more

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Vanderbilt v Tennessee Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

From Baltimore Ravens draft picks to immediate contributors? What roles 10 rookies could fill in 2020 - Aaron Kasinitz

DT Justin Madubuike (Round 3, Pick 71)

Potential role: A part of defensive line rotation; interior pass rush specialist

Skinny: The three projected starters on the Ravens’ defensive line are in their 30s, and Madubuike will have a tough time wrestling away a starter job from a veteran. Still, as an explosive defensive tackle out of Texas A&M, Madubuike could be a top backup who sees plenty of playing time — and coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale might find use for his athleticism in pass-rushing packages.

WR James Proche (Round 6, Pick 201)

Potential role: Wide receiver rotation; punt return

Skinny: Proche was one of the only two players in the NCAA’s football bowl subdivision last season to rake in more catches than Duvernay (he tied with LSU’s Justin Jefferon for a nation-high 111 receptions). The Ravens routinely rotate their receivers, so Proche has room to earn a role along with Duvernay. And while he battles to see the field on offense, he should have a fair chance to unseat De’Anthony Thomas as the team’s punt returner.

50 Words or Less - John Eisenberg

Which 2019 Ravens “won” in the 2020 NFL Draft? I’d start with outside linebackers Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser. They won’t have a rookie challenging them because the team didn’t draft an OLB. Even if a veteran signs there, which I expect, Bowser and Ferguson will have sizeable roles.

Hollywood Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead IV and Devin Duvernay are locks to make the roster, with James Proche almost surely a lock, too. That leaves one wide receiver job available, maybe two. Jaleel Scott and Chris Moore are candidates, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a veteran addition.

Other than Patrick Queen, Ravens rookies who figure to make the biggest impact in 2020 are Duvernay and inside linebacker Malik Harrison. J.K. Dobbins is a major contributor in waiting, but for now, his influence could be somewhat impacted by the by-committee approach at running back, possibly with four participants.

How the Versatile Wide Receiver Corps Shapes Up - Clifton Brown

More speed

Getting Duvernay in the third round gives the Ravens another receiver to join Brown as a dangerous speed threat.

Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews led the Ravens last season with 16 catches that went for 20 yards or more. Brown had eight, but nobody else on the team had more than four catches that went for 20-plus yards.

The 2020 draft was loaded with wideouts, but Duvernay’s speed is a huge reason why the Ravens coveted him badly in Round 3. Receivers like Brown and Duvernay force corners and safeties to back up, which opens things up offensively. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and Assistant Head Coach/Pass Coordinator/Wide Receivers David Culley now have more options.

Nigel Warrior ‘happy for the opportunity’ with Ravens - Grant Ramey

Nigel Warrior’s career year as a senior last season led to first team All-SEC honors and an honorable mention All-American nomination.

The 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back recorded 60 tackles in 12 games, including two tackles for loss. He had a career-best four interceptions, returning the picks for a combined 102 yards. He had seven passes defended.

ON THE PHONE CALL WITH THE RAVENS

“I talked to the (defensive backs) coach. he called and he let me know that they were going to take me after the seventh round, as undrafted free agent. The call, it was real simple. I was already talking to coach, prior to them picking me up. He showed the interest toward me and when I got the call it felt good. It relieved me and let me know that I still get the opportunity to go play this great game of football. It relieved me that they called. It felt good that they called. It was also kind of crazy because my dad played for the Ravens his last two or three years. I get to continue where he left off at, with a great team. I was just happy to be called by the Baltimore Ravens, even though I wasn’t drafted.”

ON IF HE BELIEVES HIS STYLE OF PLAY AND MENTALITY FITS WITH THAT OF THE RAVENS

“Oh yeah, most definitely. When you think about the Ravens you think about gritty. You think about guys that want to get down and get dirty. And I think I’m that type of guy. I’m a kind of guy that wants to get dirty. I like old school football. I like hard-nosed football. I like to be in a great foundation. The Ravens have a great foundation, hard-nosed. I’m lost for words because I get to go play for the Ravens.”