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There’s at least one benefit to not holding the usual organized team activities this time of year.
With the NFL’s labor impasse prohibiting players from being at team headquarters, the Ravens have been able to send their coaches to more collegiate pro days to get them up close and personal with draftable prospects.
The coaches still watch the same amount of tape on draft hopefuls, but the one-on-one interaction is critical.
“We’ve been able to get coaches to more pro days and workouts, so that’s going to be an added benefit for us,” said Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz. “In terms of volume of players [we study], that’s going to be the same.
“But I think the biggest positive is that our coaches have been able to spend more time on the road, whereas in the past, they would have to be back for football school.”
The Ravens have already been traveling hard.
Representatives in purple and black have reportedly attended several pro days of first-round draft picks, such as Colorado’s – which featured cornerback Jimmy Smith and offensive tackle Nate Solder – Georgia’s (Justin Houston), Maryland’s (Torrey Smith), Missouri (Adrian Clayborn) and Arizona (Brooks Reed).
Hortiz noted that scouts look for different things than coaches, but that does not present any problems in his evaluation process.
Said Hortiz: “As scouts, we’re trained to look into the future. In scouting, you try to evaluate what a guy can become and how long it takes to get there.
“In coaching, they’re getting ready every week to play a game, so they need a guy to play that week. That’s probably where the biggest difference is.”