Sunday, June 26, 2022

Ravens named potential fit for standout USFL wide receiver

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The Baltimore Ravens failed to pick a wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft despite having little established talent at the position. That helps explain why Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballantine sees the Ravens as one of three NFL teams potentially a match for New Orleans Breakers wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr., who played his college football for the Arkansas State Red Wolves.

Adams has 30 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns in nine USFL games, helping the Breakers to a 6-3 record and second place in the league’s South Division. Those numbers may not sound too impressive, but they make him the fifth-best receiver in the league that has a wideout with more than 500 receiving yards, namely KaVontae Turpin of the New Jersey Generals.

Adams is also the leading receiver on his team, which employs former NFL receiver Taywan Taylor and former Ohio State wideout Johnnie Dixon. You may recall that Taylor spent four years in the NFL — two each with the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns — and recorded 53 receptions and two touchdown catches in 35 career games after the Titans drafted him in the 2017 draft to a pick for the had done the third round.

Still, Adams “deserves a shot” with the Ravens, Ballentine says — or if not with the Ravens, the Cleveland Browns, or the Chicago Bears — even though he failed to stay with the Detroit Lions after undrafting as a rookie free agent was signed in 2021. In fact, he only lasted six weeks with the Lions and was waived in favor of wide receiver Chad Hansen, a former New York Jets fourth-round pick who also played for the Houston Texans.

After that, Adams’ chance to break through with another team became a huge hit when he was suspended by the NFL for six games in September 2021.

Still, he was prolific at Arkansas State, where he began his college career playing football and basketball.

By the end of his collegiate career, he had 166 receptions in 47 games, good for a total of 2,306 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. That includes 79 receptions for 1,111 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior when he averaged eight catches and 111 yards per game.

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Speaking to the media after practice Thursday, June 16, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson noted that he was already impressed with the athleticism displayed by Tyler Linderbaum from the first round, who showed his speed as he chasing a ball carrier after Jackson threw an interception during practice.

“He is fast. He’s damn fast for a middle man. I’ve never seen a center run like that,” Jackson said, before affectionately referring to Linderbaum as a “football player.”

Linderbaum was a somewhat polarizing prospect prior to the final draft, with one analyst strongly urging the Ravens to go for Linderbaum, calling him a “game changer in the middle.” But another writer warned the Ravens against designing the “can’t-miss” center prospect, calling his play “a square peg in a round hole of the Ravens plan.”

The Ravens ranked Linderbaum 25th overall, despite Pro Football Focus predicting him as a top 10 pick and calling him “the best center prospect in years.” Others wonder if his relatively short arms and small size might limit his ability to fulfill his potential in the NFL

The Ravens listed Linderbaum at 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds.

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