The Ravens held their annual media luncheon this afternoon, and over the next 1 1/2 weeks, be sure to visit the blog for a series of stories previewing the NFL draft, which runs from April 25-27.
Today, we’ll start with an assortment of mini-updates off of today’s four-man panel press conference with general manager Ozzie Newsome, assistant GM Eric DeCosta, director of college scouting Joe Hortiz and coach John Harbaugh.
First, the main - albeit minor - news of the day is that Baltimore has signed former Broncos and Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie to a one-year contract.
Hanie, 27, is entering his sixth NFL season and could provide Tyrod Taylor with some competition to be Joe Flacco’s backup. Harbaugh said the Ravens are willing to have three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, and with an addition as experienced as Hanie, that seems possible.
Hanie appeared in no games with Denver last year after seeing a decent amount of action over four seasons in Chicago. In his career, the former undrafted free agent has appeared in 10 games, starting four. He has gone 59-for-116 for 679 yards, three touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Hanie saw his most time in 2011, playing in six games and starting four.
“We felt like it would be important to bring a quarterback in at this point in time, so they’re able to learn the offense from the ground up,” Harbaugh said. “And he’s a talented guy. He’s played in games. Maybe he hasn’t been in the ideal situation for him yet, but based on the evaluation of our pro (scouting) department with Vince Newsome and our coaches, we felt like he fit us pretty well.
“So I’m looking forward to seeing him. I don’t know him that well personally, but I can’t wait to get to know him as a player. If he fits the bill, he could be our third quarterback.”
Several other non-draft topics were broached:
* Left tackle is a position still in question, as the Ravens could draft someone or go with a player they know, such as second-year lineman Kelechi Osemele or free agent Bryant McKinnie, who ended last year there.
Ozzie Newsome acknowledged that McKinnie, a 33-year-old former Pro Bowler entering his 12th season, remains a possibility.
“I’ve had conversations with his agent,” Newsome said. “I have a good relationship with his agent, Michael George. John and Juan (Castillo) both have been in communication with Bryant, and it’s a process. We use that all the time, but it is a process with Bryant. Could we open up our first game this year, whenever that is wherever that is, could he be our left tackle? He potentially could be.
“Could K.O. be our left tackle? He could potentially be our left tackle, too. I think we are very open. The dialogue has been very good with B-Mac from my standpoint and I think John would echo the same thing. But if we had to line up today with the group that we have, I think John told Steve Bisciotti that K.O. would probably get that opportunity.”
* Harbaugh also provided updates on a couple of players who ended last season on injured reserve - cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee) and linebacker Jameel McClain (spinal cord contusion) - and reports were good.
“Lardarius is on schedule, maybe ahead of schedule. He looks really good,” Harbaugh said. “He should be ready to roll at training camp it looks like and we’re going to make sure we don’t have a setback. That’s the most important thing.
“And Jameel, the same way, nothing but positive from the doctors about Jameel. So he’s in training mode. He’s going to head out for a week to Los Angeles. There’s a certain type of trainer out there he’s going to work with for a week out there. That will be important, but it’s just a healing process. There’s a certain type of bruise that happens that caused his issue. But it’s going away on schedule. We don’t know for sure, but I’m approaching it as if Jameel’s going to be out there for us and it looks like he’s got a good chance to do that, a really good chance to do that.”
* Newsome also issued his first public comments on the signing of troubled former Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain.
Initially, Newsome was guarded in his comments, saying McClain was just brought in to push for a roster spot. But Newsome later expanded on the move. Slightly.
“As far as how he’s going to conduct himself here, he’s coming here just to be a part of this football team,” Newsome said. I think the guys in the locker room will be able to provide him with the proper guidance that he needs as to the way John wants his football team and his football players to be.”
* Newsome addressed the possibility of working on extensions with key players who are a year away from free agency, such as tight end Dennis Pitta and wideout/return specialist Jacoby Jones.
“We always look to get ahead. We tried that with Joe a year ago. Will we try to sign some of our guys that will be free agents? Yes, we will try,” Newsome said. “It’s a little bit difficult in their last year because they get the opportunity to start to smell free agency and they see what happens to their peers who get into free agency and the market that they command. But we will attempt to probably try to sign some of those guys.”