No organization takes an interest in rookie free agents quite like the Ravens.
From Mike Flynn and Bart Scott to Gus Edwards and Patrick Ricard, so many undrafted talents have found successful NFL careers in Baltimore over the years with some eventually blossoming into starters and even Pro Bowl players. That’s why the Ravens’ list of nine undrafted signings announced Thursday is notable despite the organization’s 16-year streak of carrying a rookie free agent on the Week 1 roster coming to an end last season amidst the challenges stemming from the pandemic.
This year’s undrafted group is headlined by safety Ar’Darius Washington (TCU), who easily would have been drafted if not for his slight 5-foot-8, 176-pound frame for the position. Despite Washington’s size, Pro Football Focus still projected the instinctive defensive back to be a second-round pick and graded him as the second-best safety in the nation behind TCU teammate and 2021 second-round pick Trevon Moehrig during the 2019 season. Washington started all 10 games for the Horned Frogs in 2020, collecting 37 tackles and five pass breakups to earn honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. Given Baltimore’s lack of established depth at the safety position behind starters Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott, Washington would figure to get an extended look this spring and summer.
With general manager Eric DeCosta not selecting an offensive tackle in this year’s draft, Oklahoma’s Adrian Ealy is another undrafted rookie of note due to his age — he won’t turn 22 until August — and 6-foot-6, 321-pound frame playing for such a prestigious program. In his career for the Sooners, Ealy saw most of his reps at right tackle until his senior year, making him an interesting developmental prospect at a position without a clear long-term answer behind veteran newcomer Alejandro Villanueva. PFF praised Ealy’s strong hands and projected him to be a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
Tight end Tony Poljan (Virginia) began his collegiate career as a quarterback at Central Michigan before changing positions and registering 33 receptions for 496 yards and four touchdowns for the Chippewas in 2019. In his only season for the Cavaliers last year, the 6-foot-7, 251-pound Poljan caught 38 passes for 411 yards and six touchdowns. PFF projected him to be a sixth-round selection and pointed to his blocking ability as a skill that would translate nicely to the next level.
Wide receiver Donte Sylencieux (Graceland) and quarterback Kenji Bahar (Monmouth) represent good human-interest stories even if their chances of cracking the 53-man roster would appear to be extremely remote. Sylencieux, 26, is a friend and former teammate of Lamar Jackson at Boynton Beach High who caught 59 receptions for 1,211 yards and 11 touchdowns in his three-year career at Graceland, an NAIA school in Iowa. Bahar, is a Baltimore native and Calvert Hall product who set plenty of passing records at Monmouth and was the 2019 Big South Offensive Player of the Year.
The Ravens’ list of undrafted signings also included defensive tackle Xavier Kelly (Arkansas), running back Nate McCrary (Saginaw Valley), offensive tackle Foster Sarell (Stanford), and inside linebacker Barrington Wade (Iowa). These players will hit the practice field with Baltimore’s eight-man draft class and other tryout players for rookie minicamp over the next few days.
|18||RB||Nate McCrary||Saginaw Valley||6-0||213||4/9/99|
|47||S||Ar’Darius Washington||Texas Christian||5-8||176||11/02/99|