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The Ravens weren’t finished bolstering their receiving corps with Torrey Smith, as they spent the 123rd-overall selection on Indiana’s Tandon Doss.
Doss, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, was graded as one of the best among the second tier of receivers. Some scouting services even had him going in the second or third round after producing 3,693 all-purpose yards.
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He was highly regarded by Joe Flacco as well. The Ravens quarterback gave scouts a list of six mid-level wideouts to grade and Doss was at the top.
Obviously, there is a lot to like about the Ravens’ fourth-rounder.
“He was their go-to guy. They got the ball to him anywhere they could,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. “He wasn’t really a downfield guy, but I thought that had more to do with their quarterback. He got the ball on screens, crossing routes, stop routes. Whenever they needed a play, they went to him.
“He’s great after the catch, but not like a DeSean Jackson. He’s a catch and get up the field. He’s a strong guy.”
But, the Hoosiers’ top athlete had a frustrating offseason after having surgery on a groin injury in December, which prohibited him from working out at any college All-Star game, the NFL Scouting Combine and Indiana’s pro day.
Doss was held out of the 2010 season opener, but gutted out the rest of the season with his injury.
“He played all year with two sports hernias,” Harbaugh said. “Both of them were torn off the bone, and he played well with them.”
Doss did have his own pro day, but it was somewhat disappointing. Reports came out of Bloomington, Ind., that he did not look 100 percent healthy and ran a 4.63-second 40-yard dash, according to ESPN.com.
“I’m guessing he’s faster than whatever he ran, because he’s coming off that [injury],” said Harbaugh.
Still, Doss was incredibly productive in college.
Last year, he led the Big 10 in all-purpose yards by averaging 175.8 per game. Doss was Indiana’s third-leading receiver with 63 catches for 706 yards and seven touchdowns. In addition, Doss tallied 41 kickoff returns for 1,016 yards (24.8-yard average) and 163 rushing yards.
The Ravens also love his heart. Doss was raised by a single mother, who had to also support his brother, Anthony. According to reports, Anthony has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic and has been in jail in addition to mental institutions.
Once he signs his first professional contract, Doss hopes to support them both.
“I’ve been through stuff throughout my life,” said Doss. ”This made me a lot tougher and I had to grow up a lot quicker coming from that with my family. I feel like football has always been the escape for me. Every time I go out, I always give my best so I can clear my mind and focus on what I need to get done.”
The Ravens almost didn’t have a chance to take Doss at 123. Harbaugh told reporters that he discussed a trade of the pick with the San Francisco 49ers and his brother, Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers’ coach.
Now, with Smith’s speed bringing a deep-threat aspect to the Ravens’ offense, Doss’ size, toughness and breakaway ability could offer another potent weapon for Flacco.
“Anywhere the Ravens need me, I’m willing to fill in,” Doss said. “I’ve got pretty good size on me. DBs are usually a little bit smaller. I feel like I can have my ways with DBs. I know it’s going to be a lot tougher in the league, obviously, but hopefully my size can help benefit me and I can make plays.”