Daily Combine Review: Day 1 Harbaugh’s Press Conference

Hello all,

For the remainder of this week and until Monday, we will be doing a series on the website called the “Daily Combine Review”, where we review the notable and important occurrences of the day at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. If you don’t know, the NFL Combine is an event held every year that brings over 300 draft prospects together to demonstrate their talents and abilities to the NFL scouts, coaches, and executives. It is one of the most important and looked forward to events of the whole year for the NFL, so we found it appropriate to break it all down in regards to the Ravens.

Yesterday was the start of the NFL Combine 2017, as all of the prospects attending arrived and registered. They were also medically examined, had x-rays taken, and were drug tested. Later in the day, the prospects were given an orientation, and began the process of being interviewed by teams that are interested in them. Although yesterday was the start of the NFL Combine, the first real action began today with the various media press conferences done by coaches and executives of the teams participating. Earlier today, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh spoke to the media and was asked some questions. Here, we are going to break down the highlights of the press conference, and infer what it means going forward for the Ravens.

“I really think Breshad Perriman can be a top flight receiver in this league…” 

Harbaugh started the press conference off by praising wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Perriman came into the league in 2015 as a speedster wide out from UCF, but was sidelined for all his rookie season due to a PCL injury in his knee. Harbaugh expressed his appreciation of Perriman’s work ethic, and saying that he came a long way. Harbaugh believes that Perriman improved throughout his de facto rookie season last year. This is true, as Perriman in his first eight games scored no touchdowns, but in his last eight he scored three. For using a first round pick on Perriman, the Ravens need Perriman to evolve into a premier wide receiver in the NFL, and Harbaugh defiantly thinks he can.

“Kenneth Dixon, yeah I’m a Kenneth Dixon fan.”

When asked about Kenneth Dixon, Harbaugh immediately said that he thought that Dixon had proved himself. He also went on to compliment Dixon’s personality and humility, along with his work ethic. Harbaugh praised Dixon’s arm strength and his ability to break tackles, saying that he was “excited about him”, and thought that he would be “a top back”. All this praise for Dixon may signal that the Ravens are not necessarily looking for a running back this year, as I have previously suggested they might be. However, Harbaugh later in the press conference stated he and the organization were open to selecting a running back in the first round. What I’m assuming is that the game plan for the draft is to not focus on getting a running back, but not to rule it out either. If the best prospect on the board is a running back when it is the Ravens’ turn to pick, they will probably go ahead and draft him.

“Mike Wallace to me was a big, integral part of our team last year.”

John Harbaugh was able to calm growing fears of Baltimore Ravens fans everywhere, including myself, by explicitly saying that he wants to have wide receiver Mike Wallace back on the team next season. This was not a confirmation, however, that the team would retain Wallace, as Harbaugh cited circumstances including contracts and salary cap, as reasons that keeping Wallace isn’t 100% certain. Harbaugh did in fact say though that he anticipates Wallace will be back next season, which is very good news for Ravens fans, as Wallace totaled over 1,000 yards in his first season with Baltimore. Harbaugh complimented Wallace for having a chip on his shoulder, and being very competitive. 

“We’re trying to get Ricky back.”

Towards the end of the press conference, coach Harbaugh was asked about impending free agent tackle Ricky Wagner. Trying to keep Wagner on the team has been a priority for the Ravens for much of the offseason. The rising star offensive tackle is set to become a free agent this offseason, and is the rated among the top free agent tackles available. Harbaugh also alluded to two other Ravens free agents he wants to keep, presumably Fullback Kyle Juszczyk and Defensive Tackle Brandon Williams. Harbaugh stated that the Ravens have an edge to keeping them, as all three want to be Ravens, and the Ravens are being competitive with negotiating. 

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