A Better Choice?

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

In Face Of Own History, And Ravens', Third-round Pick Webb Has Something To Prove

Nfl Draft

April 27, 2009|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

The Ravens selected Nicholls State defensive back Lardarius Webb in the third round Sunday, hoping recent history doesn't repeat itself.

It was only three years ago that the Ravens missed on another small-school defensive back, David Pittman, who became one of their biggest third-round busts.

Asked about the challenge of not coming from a Division I school, Webb said: "I think I have something to prove. I love the game. To get a chance to continue playing football on another level is perfect."

Webb, who can play cornerback and safety, was compared with Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders by draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

Webb has Division I experience, playing two seasons at Southern Mississippi before being dismissed for a violation of team rules. He said he frequented nightclubs with "the wrong crowd." He missed curfews and broke other rules that he declined to discuss in detail.

"I've learned to make better choices," Webb said. "I was a young guy making stupid decisions for all the wrong reasons. Now I'm older."

Webb showed some maturity when he volunteered to help coach Nicholls State's defensive backs at practices this spring when there was a temporary hiring freeze at the school.

"He's a young man that realized that he made some mistakes, and he has started to overcome them," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "His track record over the past two years shows us that he's headed in the right direction."

Phillips uncertain

Inside linebacker Jason Phillips, the Ravens' fifth-round pick out of Texas Christian, might have to sit out the first month of minicamps with a knee injury.

Phillips tore his meniscus at the scouting combine Feb. 23 and had surgery a few days later. Rehabilitation was expected to take six to eight weeks.

Asked about Phillips' availability for the Ravens' minicamps, which begin May 8, director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said, "We have a comfort level with him, but I'm not sure what his involvement is going to be."

Kruger '100% healthy'

There has been more talk about what happened to defensive end-linebacker Paul Kruger off the field than on it.

Kruger, the Ravens' second-round pick, lost a kidney in a car accident in 1999 and needed 50 staples to close incisions after a stabbing in January 2008.

"I'm 100 percent healthy," Kruger said. "It's never affected me in football in any way. I know that teams are a little concerned about me, but to me, it's just another scar on my body. I've experienced some traumatic things, but I've played through them for years. It's disappointing that people would think of me like that."

Maryland connections

After Darrius Heyward-Bey went on the first day of the draft to the Oakland Raiders at No. 7 overall, the next Terrapin to be drafted was cornerback Kevin Barnes (Redskins) in the third round with the 80th pick. Also drafted from Maryland: linebacker Moise Fokou (Eagles, seventh round, 230th overall); guard Jaimie Thomas (Colts, seventh round, 236th); and tight end Dan Gronkowski (Lions, seventh round, 255th).

End zone

Former University of Buffalo quarterback Drew Willy agreed to a rookie free-agent contract with the Ravens, Buffalo's athletic department said. ... The Ravens didn't draft a kicker but are working to sign an undrafted rookie. "This is a unique opportunity where those guys can come in and compete with Steven [Hauschka] right away," Newsome said. If the Ravens don't sign one, they will look to add a veteran free agent (but not Matt Stover at this point, Newsome said). ... On Saturday, 15,606 fans attended the Ravens' Spring Football Festival. Last year's event drew 11,582.

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