classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
1 message Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view

OWINGS MILLS , Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens first-year general manager Eric DeCosta watched and waited for much of the second day of the NFL draft.And then finally, it was his time.After selecting sack specialist Jaylon Ferguson of Louisiana Tech with the 85th overall pick Friday night, DeCosta handed his other third-round pick and two sixth-round choices to Minnesota to move up nine notches in the third round. With the 93rd overall selection, he snagged Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin.With his first three picks as successor to Ozzie Newsome, DeCosta has fortified the receiving corps — sure-handed Marquise Brown of Oklahoma was taken in the first round — and addressed another pressing need.Baltimore had a shortage of players who could pressure the quarterback after losing Terrell Suggs and Za’darius Smith to free agency. Ferguson had a nation-leading 17 ½ sacks as a senior and an NCAA-record 45 sacks over four seasons, breaking Suggs’ record.“He’s a guy whose skill set really fits who we are as a defense,” DeCosta said. “Fills a big hole for us.”The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Ferguson also forced eight fumbles and recovered four over 51 games at Tech.Baltimore was without a second-round pick, having traded that to Philadelphia last year to take quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first round.So DeCosta had to watch 52 picks drop off the board before the Ravens finally got on the clock late in the third round, over 3 1/2 hours after the session began.“It was really a long day. It was frustrating for me Alexander Mattison Jersey ,” DeCosta said. “I actually got up and walked out a few times and paced just because we weren’t picking for so long. Not having a second-round pick is challenge.”The payoff was Ferguson and the 6-4, 220-pound Boykin, a strong player very capable of blocking downfield.“A size-speed receiver with really tremendous physical gifts,” DeCosta said. “Very physical to the football. Just a big man.”Although Boykin hoped to go earlier in the draft, he appreciated that the Ravens sacrificed two picks to get him.“That just shows they have all the faith in the world in me,” Boykin said.The diminutive Brown is expected to be a deep threat for Jackson, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman expects the newcomer to play a variety of roles.“We can play him inside, outside, short, deep , all kinds of things,” Roman said. “We’re really only limited by our imagination.”The 5-9, 170-pound Brown will also be asked to block, especially when the elusive Jackson slips out of the pocket and heads downfield.“I’ve had to block since I was a young kid,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t able to get it done in the run game.”Brown’s cousin, standout receiver Antonio Brown, knows all about the Ravens from his involvement in the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry.“He said this is a great place to be, that I’ll love it,” Marquise said.Ravens coach John Harbaugh has no problem with DeCosta taking two wide receivers over the first three selections, in part because each adds different skills to the mix.“Those two guys are different Daniel Jones Jersey ,” Harbaugh said, “but they bring speed, they bring playmaking.”A husky receiver who can block and get open in the middle, and another who get downfield in an instant. What’s not to like?“To have one of each was probably the ideal, and to have it fall that way is great,” Harbaugh said.With Minnesota getting two of the Ravens’ three sixth-round picks, the Ravens enter Saturday’s final day with two picks in the fourth round, one in the fifth and one in the sixth.DeCosta worked under Newsome for more than two decades, yet he’s still learning the finer points of the job. He now knows that sitting out an entire round is no fun.“I ate a lot more today, just pacing the hallways and gathering food Ed Oliver Jersey ,” DeCosta said. “I think it’s safe to say we’re not going to trade our second-round pick anytime soon.” ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — After making several big-ticket additions to start free agency, the Oakland Raiders are now making some cuts.The Raiders released 2018 leading wide receiver Jordy Nelson and backup quarterback AJ McCarron on Thursday to create salary cap space after going on a spending spree earlier this week.The moves save more than $8.5 million for the upcoming season after the Raiders committed more than $50 million in salary cap space to acquire receiver Antonio Brown, tackle Trent Brown, safety Lamarcus Joyner and receiver Tyrell Williams.Nelson signed a $14.2 million, two-year deal last March with the Raiders and had 63 catches for 739 yards in his one season in Oakland. The Raiders turned his $3.6 million roster bonus for 2019 into a signing bonus late last season, which leaves them with $1.8 million in dead money this year.Coach Jon Gruden had planned to keep Nelson before plans changed when Brown became available from Pittsburgh last weekend.The Raiders traded a 2019 fifth-round pick to Buffalo last year to acquire McCarron as the backup to Derek Carr. McCarron appeared in just two games with three passes before the team decided to go in another direction.The move leaves Nathan Peterman as the only backup on the roster. Peterman was fifth-round pick by Buffalo in 2017 but was cut last season after beginning the year as the starter. He is 68 for 130 in his career for 548 yards, three TDs, 12 interceptions and a 32.5 passer rating in his career.The Raiders also signed defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to a two-year contract to return to Oakland and formally announced the deal with Joyner that was agreed to earlier this week.Hankins spent his first four seasons with the Giants and then played for Indianapolis in 2017 before joining the Raiders last season. He had 36 tackles and two fumble recoveries last season for Oakland and will be part of a rotation at defensive tackle with second-year players Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall, as well as Justin Ellis.“I’m definitely honored to be here for another two more years , be a part of the movement going forward,” Hankins said. “It’s exciting seeing everybody that they’ve been signing. I just can’t wait to get back to work and prove everybody wrong and let them know that the Raiders are back.”Joyner is the most notable addition so far for a defense that ranked last in the NFL in yards allowed per play (6.27) and points allowed per game (29.2) last season.The Raiders coveted Joyner for his versatility; he had experience playing cornerback, in the slot and safety in five seasons with the Rams. He was at his best after moving exclusively to free safety the past two seasons under coordinator Wade Phillips but said he’s ready to play in the slot if needed for Oakland.Joyner looks forward to come in on the ground floor of a rebuild after helping Florida State rebound from a team that struggled in coach Bobby Bowden’s final seasons before he arrived and then won a national championship under Jimbo Fisher in his senior season.“When I entered both organizations, they weren’t doing too well,” he said. “Even my years with the Rams, we started off slow, but they got the right guys in. I feel like I’m one of the first stepping stones, one of those first milestones for Coach Gruden to bring the right guys in and change this place around.”