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Combing the Combine for the Ravens

Garrett Downing is one of the hardest-working Ravens reporters out there. He’s been working for the Ravens official media site for some years now, and this year he is right there in Indianapolis to give a Ravens view of the proceedings at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Here are some notes and opinions from Garrett on Day 3 of the proceedings as he recorded them for Baltimore Ravens NFL website:

“LSU running back Leonard Fournette doesn’t have the best showing. Clemson’s Mike Williams won’t run 40-yard dash at combine. Western Michigan’s Corey Davis would love to have another Flacco as his teammate…

“Players finally stepped onto the field Friday for the much-anticipated combine drills. Running backs and offensive linemen went through the on-field workouts, while the quarterbacks and wide receivers made their way through the media room.

“Here were eight news and notes from the day:

– LSU running back Leonard Fournette had an up-and-down week in Indianapolis. He weighed in at 240 pounds, which was the heaviest of all running backs (he said it was water weight), and then lacked some explosiveness with a vertical leap of 28.5 inches (second-lowest of all running backs). But Fournette did bounce back and showed good speed by running the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, tied for 10th-best among running backs.

– Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was only slightly faster than Fournette, running the 40 in 4.49 seconds. Cook told reporters Thursday that he would run somewhere in the 4.4’s, and he just barely met his prediction. That time likely won’t hurt Cook, but he was expected to be a little faster based on his ability to break long runs throughout his college career.

– North Carolina running back T.J. Logan posted a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.37 seconds, which was the fastest of the day. That time will certainly put him on the radar for some NFL teams even though his college production was limited.

– Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey told reporters Thursday that he feels like he’s been overlooked by some scouts leading up to the draft, but that probably won’t be the case anymore after his combine performance. McCaffrey ran the 40 in 4.48 seconds and shined in the pass-catching drills. McCaffrey is considered a potential first rounder, and he helped his case with his showing Friday.

– Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams could very well be the best receiver in this year’s draft, and he certainly looks the part of a big-play receiver (6-foot-3, 218 pounds). But the biggest question about him is his speed, and NFL scouts will have to wait a little longer to get that answer. Williams decided to skip the 40-yard dash at the combine, saying “[I] haven’t had much time to prepare for it, so I’m going to take this week and next week to prepare for it, and run it at my pro day.” Clemson’s pro day is March 16.

– The other candidate for the draft’s top receiver is Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, and he also won’t run at the combine because he’s still recovering from an ankle injury. Davis had surgery to repair a pair of torn ligaments after a high ankle sprain, and he won’t be back to full strength until April.

– Davis actually played with Joe Flacco’s younger brother, Tom, at Western Michigan. Tom Flacco was used as the team’s option quarterback, and Davis said he likes the idea of playing alongside another Flacco  at the NFL level. “He’s a great quarterback, great arm, very smart,” Davis said of Joe Flacco. “I like the way he plays. I like that offense. If I got to play with him, I wouldn’t be mad.”

– USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster embraced the comparison to former Ravens wideout Anquan Boldin that some draft analysts have placed on him. Smith-Schuster doesn’t have top-end speed – just like Boldin – but thrived making contested catches in his USC career. Questions about Boldin’s speed made him a second-round pick, but he’s put together a potential Hall of Famer career. Smith-Schuster said he’s “definitely” fine with the Boldin comparisons because of “overall how he plays his game and how tough he is. I kind of see myself the same way.” ”

Oh, in case you were wondering, here were the 40-yard times for the running backs on Friday:

TJ Logan / North Carolina / 4.37

Joe Williams / Utah / 4.41

Tarik Cohen / NC A&T / 4.42

Donnell Pumphrey / SDSU / 4.48

Christian McCaffrey / Stanford / 4.48

De’Angelo Henderson / Coastal Carolina / 4.48

Dalvin Cook / FSU / 4.49

Jeremy McNichols / Boise St. / 4.49

Marlon Mack / South Florida / 4.50

Stanley Williams / Kentucky / 4.51

Leonard Fournette / LSU / 4.51

Elijah McGuire / Louisiana-Lafayette / 4.53

Brian Hill / Wyoming / 4.54

Aaron Jones / Texas-El Paso / 4.56

Alvin Kamara / Tennessee / 4.56

Christopher Carson / Oklahoma St. / 4.58

Jamaal Williams / BYU / 4.59

Wayne Gallman / Clemson / 4.60

Kareem Hunt / Toledo / 4.62

Jahad Thomas / Temple / 4.62

Dare Ogunbowale / Wisconsin / 4.65

Samaje Perine / Oklahoma / 4.65

James Conner / Pittsburgh / 4.65

Corey Clement / Wisconsin / 4.68

Rushel Shell / West Virginia / 4.74

Freddie Stevenson / FSU / 4.75

Devine Redding / Indiana / 4.76

Sam Rogers / Virginia Tech / 4.93

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