Ravens lay it on the line on Day 2

Team addresses needs by drafting linemen on both sides of ball

Pro Football

April 28, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The Ravens addressed needs on the offensive and defensive lines on Day 2 of the NFL draft yesterday - and for once, they did it purposefully.

Known for selecting the best available player regardless of position, the Ravens strayed slightly and paid closer attention to the linemen left on the board when the fourth round began. Consequently, the Ravens drafted a defensive end, defensive tackle and offensive tackle with three of their top four picks in rounds four and five, providing depth to two of their thinner positions.

"You go a little bit more need on the second day," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said.

The Ravens selected Alabama defensive end Jarret Johnson in the fourth round (109th overall), Tennessee defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin in the fifth (146) and Illinois offensive tackle Tony Pashos in the fifth (173). The Ravens also selected Wake Forest fullback Ovie Mughelli with their second pick of the fourth round (134), Notre Dame safety Gerome Sapp in the sixth (182), along with Oklahoma tight end Trent Smith (223), Central Florida center Mike Mabry (250) and Utah safety Antwoine Sanders (258) all in the seventh.

Despite the Ravens' focus along the line of scrimmage, team officials said most of the players they chose were rated higher than they were selected.

"We looked at Jarret Johnson," Newsome said. "Did we talk about taking him in the second round when we were putting the board together? Yes. Would we have loved to have taken him in the third? Yes. Yet we got him in the fourth."

In Johnson, the Ravens have someone who, along with Franklin, could see extensive playing time in the defensive line rotation.

Johnson, 6 feet 3 and 284 pounds, is a high-energy player who was the emotional leader of Alabama's defense. An All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection, Johnson recorded five sacks and a team-high 21 pressures last year.

"He's undersized, and that's been well-stated," Newsome said. "But we just brought into our football team, at a need position in defensive line, a guy with a lot of passion, and at the end of the day, a person I think will give us a lot of production."

Franklin, at 6 feet 2, 307 pounds, will have a chance to split time at nose tackle with Kelly Gregg. He was one of the few players in the draft the Ravens felt could be a true nose tackle after finishing with 56 tackles and two sacks last year.

"One of the things we wanted to address was our defensive line depth," director of college scouting Eric DeCosta said. "Franklin is the prototype nose tackle for us. He's a very hard-nosed guy who is built for that position."

In Pashos, the Ravens have a four-year starter who was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. Pashos gave up just six sacks throughout his college career.

"He's really one of the tougher guys in this draft. It's good to get a guy in the fourth round that will compete for playing time," DeCosta said. "I think he will compete with Orlando Brown and compete with Ethan Brooks."

The Ravens also expect Mughelli to challenge starter Alan Ricard. Mughelli was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection.

"We think he is one of the best lead blockers to come out of the draft the last 10 years," DeCosta said. "We love his ability to run-block. To have him out there rotating with Ricard is pretty intriguing."

Ravens' picks

Jarret Johnson

Position: Defensive end

Round: Fourth, 109th overall

Size: 6 feet 3, 284 pounds

School: Alabama

Hometown: Chiefland, Fla.

Career statistics: Recorded 190 tackles, 23 sacks and 25 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Was a three-year starter.

Quote: "I remember when Rex Ryan read his report on Jarret Johnson and said he plays like a Raven. That's the kind of motor and intensity Jarret plays with." - Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.

Quick note: Sack total ranks second on school's career list behind Derrick Thomas' 52.

Strengths: Is an overachiever. Was the emotional leader of Alabama's defense.

Weaknesses: Lacks speed. Has more heart than talent.

Projected role: Should be a top backup on the defensive line.

Ovie Mughelli

Position: Fullback

Round: Fourth, 134th overall

Size: 6-1, 255

School: Wake Forest

Hometown: Charleston, S.C.

Career statistics: Started 33 of 44 games. Rushed for 530 yards on 137 carries with 13 touchdowns. Caught 18 passes for 164 yards.

Quote: "Although Alan Ricard had a great year last year, we feel like this was too good to pass up." - Ravens player personnel director Phil Savage.

Quick note: Also is a good tennis player.

Strengths: Considered one of the top two blockers in the draft. Always gets positive yardage on carries.

Weakness: Not much of a ball carrier.

Projected role: Will likely be the top backup to Ricard.

Aubrayo Franklin

Position: Defensive tackle

Round: Fifth, 146th overall

Size: 6-2, 307

School: Tennessee

Hometown: Johnson City, Tenn.

Career statistics: Recorded 70 tackles, two sacks and five stops behind the line of scrimmage.

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