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It didn’t take long after the draft ended for the Ravens to start recruiting.
Coaches and scouts quickly started working the phones to reel in undrafted free agents, and this season they had to get a little creative.
A major difference compared to most years was that the Ravens did not have as quite as an extensive list of undrafted free agents to target, as their draft board was wiped clean.
“We’ve never seen that,” Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta said after the draft. “Usually we’ll have 25 players maybe, 20-25 players that don’t get drafted that are free agents that we can target. This year, our free agents – the real quality players – seemed to have dried up.”
The Ravens typically target players from their board of top 150 prospects, but this season other teams appeared to have similar boards to the Ravens, which didn’t leave much left on the undrafted free-agent market.
“I think in looking at our 150 [top players], there might be only three guys on our 150 that haven’t been drafted,” DeCosta said. “And those guys, I think, are medical guys that failed physicals.”
Still, the Ravens had to adjust and within hours of the draft ending the reports already started coming in about the free-agent signings.
The Ravens won’t officially have deals with any of the players until they pass physicals and sign contracts, but the framework is in place for them to come to Baltimore. Baltimore is able to bring in a larger group than normal, as the NFL increased the roster size from 80 to 90 players, creating space for additional rookies heading into training camp.
While, Ravens brass admitted that their board was bare after the draft, the rookie free-agent class has historically been a place where they have found diamonds in the rough. Players like Jameel McLain and Bart Scott went undrafted, and the Ravens are hoping for another surprise in that year’s class.
“There are still a lot of good players out there,” DeCosta said. “The hunt goes on. We’ll continue to look at players who are available on the street, free agents, undrafted free agents, street free agents, unrestricted free agents. We’ll get a chance to look at those guys and build the best team for September.”