Free Agent Bonanza Begins

The Ravens worked the phones hard at the draft’s conclusion to find that diamond in the rough.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 at 11:58 am | Categories: 2010 NFL Draft, Mike Duffy

The NFL Draft may be over, but that doesn’t mean the Ravens have stopped adding rookies, as there is a rich pool of undrafted prospects just waiting to join a team.

Over the years, the Ravens have been one of the league’s best at fishing in that pool.  One only has to look at Bart Scott, Will Demps, Mike Flynn, or most recently, Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe, two key contributors that made the active roster as rookie free agents to see Baltimore’s brilliance.

The process is a calculated attack led by Southeast Area Scout Joe Douglas and Pro Scout Mark Azevedo, beginning about a month ago with calls to potential undrafted talent.

“Well, I think our guys have been starting for a long time,” said Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta.  “We’ve been recruiting guys, sending out some letters, different technological things with Twitter and different things like that. We have our list of guys that we really want to go after. Some of that is dependent on if they get drafted or not, obviously.”

This year, the Ravens benefitted from not having a seventh-round pick because they enjoyed a head start at reaching their coveted prospects.

“Sometimes, a guy you’re talking to actually gets picked, which happened [Saturday] and it happened last year,” DeCosta continued.  “It’s kind of a funny thing, but we’re ahead of the game. That’s one of the nice things about not having a seventh-round pick is you can start early in this process.”

In addition, the Ravens’ other advantage over teams is the chance they can give the rookies.  Notorious for not offering lucrative free agent contracts, the Ravens do offer a legitimate shot to make the active roster (see: Ellerbe, etc.).

Once the draft officially ends, the Ravens will try to solidify the commitments by sending a contract to the player and awaiting a signature.

“The coaches are making phone calls getting back to Joe and Mark trying to get commitments from players after the Draft,” said DeCosta.  “We can’t actually get a solid commitment until they’re not picked. In that case, we get these guys signed up, get the contracts out to them and come back on Monday and see how many of those guys actually sent back the contracts and move forward.”

Rookies are not able to participate in offseason activities until May 16, so the Ravens will not likely release their official list until closer to that date.

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