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Ravens News 4/20: Castle Visits and more

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Georgia Spring Game Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Ravens Hosting Running Back, Wide Receiver This Week - Todd Karpovich

Georgia running back James Cook paid a visit to Baltimore and is projected to be a second-day selection.

NFL Draft Bible Breakdown: ”James Cook projects to be a scatback at the next level. He wins as an excellent receiver, smooth acceleration and loose hips. He is not the biggest or the strongest back and is raw at the position. He has a ton of upside with his excellent movement and receiving skills. He could develop into a quality running back and overall offensive weapon.”

The Ravens are also hosting Wake Forest wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson.

NFL Draft Bible Breakdown: Strong-handed big slot who finds success after the catch with his vision and balance. Roberson lacks explosiveness and dynamism to create separation, almost exclusively winning in the air. He fails to live up to his size, not playing with the desired physicality. Roberson projects as a camp receiver with a shot at a practice squad if he can play more competitively. To make a roster, he has to show special teams ability as he will have a hard time finding a role on an offense given his athletic limitations.

Five Things to Know About George Karlaftis - Clifton Brown

He Plays With a Relentless Motor

At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Karlaftis is a powerful player who only plays at full speed. Turn on the tape of his games at Purdue and Karlaftis is giving the same effort regardless of situation and score. If he comes to the Ravens’ 3-4 scheme, Karlaftis has the versatility to play as a defensive end or outside linebacker. Karlaftis is not just a pass rusher. His strength makes him difficult to move off the line of scrimmage and he should be an effective edge-setter who can help a team’s run defense. The more physical the game, the better Karlaftis seems to play.

“Relentless,” Karlaftis said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “That’s how I approach life, how I approach the game, in terms of my technique, in terms of how I play, my motor, my effort. Everything about it is relentless.”

Miles Boykin’s Release Strikes Another Blow Against Ravens GM Eric DeCosta’s First Draft Class - Bo Smolka

In three seasons, Boykin totaled 33 catches for 470 yards and seven touchdowns.

Still, because Boykin reached playing-time thresholds, a CBA stipulation known as the proven-performance escalator kicked in, raising his salary for 2022 to roughly $2.75 million. For a team up against the cap that is already deep at wide receiver, that contract became prohibitive. The Ravens reportedly sought to trade Boykin but found no takers.

Boykin’s departure adds to the disappointing tenor of DeCosta’s 2019 draft class. Three years later, only top draft pick Brown (No. 25 overall) has established himself as an NFL starter. The Ravens didn’t have a second-round pick in 2019, having dealt it away the previous year when they jumped back into the first round to select quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens felt well positioned with five picks in the third and fourth rounds in 2019, but that strength-in-numbers approach has, to this point, failed to produce the desired results.

The Ravens have touted their draft position this year, with nine picks in the first four rounds, including two in Round 3 and five in Round 4. They have plenty of holes coming off a season in which they finished 8-9 — just the second losing season in coach John Harbaugh’s 14-year tenure — and they’ll have to hope those mid-round picks can produce more than those 2019 picks have to this point.

Best Day 2 CBs in 2022 NFL Draft - Justin Melo

COBY BRYANT, CINCINNATI

The reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner (awarded to the best defensive back in college football), Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant is a versatile and highly-skilled cornerback prospect that has the necessary chops to make an immediate impact for an NFL defense. A fifth-year senior, Bryant helped spearhead a talented Bearcats defense that allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 54% of their passing attempts while limiting them to just 169.2 passing yards per contest. Bryant more than did his part by recording a team-high 11 pass breakups.

ROGER MCCREARY, AUBURN

Auburn’s Roger McCreary was receiving a fair amount of first-round buzz back in January but that conversation has seemingly cooled off in recent weeks. With the likes of Kyler Gordon, Trent McDuffie and Tariq Woolen expected to be back-end first-round selections on April 28, McCreary’s ultimate landing spot may reveal itself on Day 2. Whichever team is lucky enough to draft McCreary will be securing the services of a highly-talented and pro-ready cornerback prospect. McCreary was unfortunately unable to test during March’s NFL Scouting Combine, but on tape, the Mobile, Alabama native is clearly an exceptional athlete that brings the necessary reactive athleticism and short-area quickness to the table.

2022 NFL Draft: 17 underrated prospects who could go earlier than expected - Doug Kyed

EDGE JOSH PASCHAL, KENTUCKY

PFF Big Board Rank: 44th

Paschal is a PFF and scout’s favorite. The accomplished run defender’s 90.0 overall PFF grade ranked fourth among draft-eligble FBS edge defenders last season.

At 6-foot-3 and 268 pounds, Paschal played everywhere from nose tackle to edge in 2021 at Kentucky. He tested extremely well for his size and earned a 9.70/10 relative athletic score.

He’s projected as an early Day 2 pick, per a source.

OT ZACH TOM, WAKE FOREST

PFF Big Board Rank: 64th

Tom began his career at center before moving to left tackle in 2020. He stuck at left tackle in 2021, and teams believe he could stay there in the NFL despite being slightly undersized at 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds with 33 1/4-inch arms. He tested very well with a 4.94-second 40-yard dash (93rd percentile), 1.63-second 10-yard split (99th), 33-inch vertical leap (93rd), 9-foot-10 broad jump (99th), 4.47-second short shuttle (94th) and 7.32-second three-cone (96th).

He let up just 13 pressures, including three sacks, two quarterback hits and eight hurries in 2021, and earned a 92.1 pass-blocking grade. He’s likely an early Day 2 pick, per a source.