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8 Reese’s Senior Bowl standouts that fit the Ravens

The college all-star game featured several prospects that played like Ravens.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The annual Reese’s Senior Bowl took place in Mobile, Alabama this past Saturday and there were a handful of players that followed up an impressive week of practice with a standout performance in the all-star game. Here are eight prospects that would fit some of the Baltimore Ravens’ top needs heading into the offseason.

RB Rachaad White, Arizona State

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

One of the Ravens’ underrated needs this offseason after a 2021 season that saw their entire backfield get decimated by injuries is running back. With J.K. Dobbins and Gus ‘The Bus’ Edwards both coming off torn ACLs and Justice Hill entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2022, they could use additional depth at the position in the form of a young player that will be playing the next four years on an inexpensive rookie deal.

White ran like Raven in this game with the way he gashed the American Team defense in between the tackles. The former Sun Devil led the National Team in rushing and recorded the second-most yards on the ground of the game with 52 on 11 carries including a long of 19 yards. He would be a perfect fit for the Ravens’ current style of offense because of his ability to get North and South without any wasted motion and explode into the second level.

TE Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Mark Andrews is coming off not only the best season of his career but of any pass catcher in franchise history, the Ravens have missed the presence of Hayden Hurst in the passing game since trading him away following the 2019 season. A complementary pass-catching threat at the tight end position to take some attention away from Andrews over the middle as well as down the field could help the offense become unpredictably multidimensional again when they trot out 12 and 23 personnel.

Ferguson outshined Colorado State’s Trey McBride, who won the John Mackey Award which is given annually to the best tight end in college football. While both players caught touchdowns, the former Badger edged out the former Ram in receptions with three catches to McBride’s two and blew him out the water with a game-high 62 receiving yards. Ferguson looked more nimble and elusive in the open field showed the speed to run away from coverage on a pair of crossing routes.

OT Daniel Faalele, Minnesota

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Ravens opened up a massive behemoth-sized hole on their starting offensive line at right tackle when they traded Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of last year’s draft. They attempted to fill it with a veteran stopgap Alejandro Villanueva who had been a career left tackle and wound up playing his natural position for all but one game due to the lingering injury of Ronnie Stanley. While they received serviceable to above-average play from Patrick Mekari for most of the season, he’s better suited on the interior which means the right tackle spot is a priority once again.

After watching the former Golden Gopher back up a strong week of practice with a standout performance both as a run blocker and pass protector, he likely moved up even further on the Ravens draft board. Not only is Faalele as big and physical at the point of attack as Brown Jr., he also appears to be even more nimble and light on his feet. Brown is able to get away with not having the most swift of feet by being big enough to make up the ground he sometimes gives up off the line of scrimmage but Faalele is both smooth and sudden in his pass sets and moves better when climbing to the second level.

DT Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

In his press conference this past Friday, Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta expressed the team’s desire to get younger on their defensive line. The entire week of practice down in Mobile was dominated by the interior and edge defenders and the game wasn’t any different so it is a safe bet that at least one of them will be calling Baltimore home in the spring given the franchise’s history of selecting players that shined at this particular all-star game.

The former Sooner was one of the several defensive front players that dominated the week of practice and carried that momentum over into the game where he was an unstoppable force for most of the afternoon. He finished with two sacks and three tackles for loss on his way to being named the Defensive Player of the Game and some even went as far as to dub him the MVP in their own postgame writeups. He would make for a great successor to Calais Campbell at defensive end/five-technique with the way he can consistently blow up plays in the backfield.

OLB Boye Mafe, Minnesota

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If it wasn’t for Winfrey, the Defensive Player of the Game honor most certainly would’ve gone to the former Golden Gopher because he was arguably every bit as disruptive and dominant. Their stat lines read almost exactly the same except Mafe forced a fumble in one of his two sacks.

While Mafe had a nice week of practice, he took his game to another level on Saturday and used his lightning-quick first step to generate relentless pressure that eventually made the American Team’s offensive pipes burst. The Ravens need more depth and finishing ability in their pass rush, especially on the edge at outside linebacker with Tyus Bowser coming off a torn Achilles tendon and Justin Houston slated to become an unrestricted free agent.

DT Travis Jones, UConn

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While Winfrey will likely be gone by the time the Ravens are on the clock again in the second round, another interior defensive lineman that they could target on day two is the former Huskie. He could not only replace Brandon Williams at nose tackle, but he also possesses more upside and can contribute more as a pass rusher. Jones was another player that carried a dominant week of practice over to the game where he was also a mainstay in the backfield and even notched a sack by driving an offensive lineman into the quarterback.

S J.T. Woods, Baylor

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Ravens have enough safeties that excel at playing downhill and inside the box. What they need are more natural candidates that can patrol the backend at free safety and possess the ball skills to come up with turnovers. While many focused on and hyped up his fellow former Bear Jalen Pitre, who had a nice game in his own right, it was Woods who displayed his range when he broke on a deep ball to come up with the game-sealing interception for the National Team.

RB Andre Smith, Baylor

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The former Bear had an impressive outing and displayed what he could do as a runner and pass-catcher out of the backfield. He ran hard behind his pads, was hard to bring down by a single defender, and showed good vision to find cutback lanes. After totaling just 78 career receiving yards in college, he proved he could contribute more in that area both in practice and by scoring the game’s first points on a 20-yard touchdown where he was left uncovered on a swing route and sprinted to the end zone.