In the past two weeks, the Baltimore Ravens have officially signed some of their draft picks and players they grabbed from free agency. This list of new Ravens include All-Pro quarterback Marc Bulger, wide-receiver draftee David Reed, tight-end draftee Ed Dickson, and defensive backs Walt Harris and Ken Hamlin.
Former St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger signed a one-year, $3.8 million contract with the Ravens on June 24. Drafted in 2000, Bulger has spent the past nine years with St. Louis after spending short term tenures with the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons during the 2000 season. The West Virginia alum is a two time Pro Bowl selection (2004 & 2006) and earned MVP honors for the Pro Bowl in 2004. Bulger reached 1,000 completions in only 45 games, which is the fastest by a quarterback in NFL history; faster than Kurt Warner (47 games), Drew Bledsoe (48), Peyton Manning (48), and Dan Marino (49). Bulger currently has 22,814 passing yards with 122 touchdowns and a career QB rating of 84.4. He will be competing with Troy Smith and John Beck for the backup position behind starter Joe Flacco.
The 5thround draft pick for the Ravens, WR David Reed, agreed to a three year deal and will be competing with a strong receiver core for possible playing time this upcoming season. During his time at Utah, Reed made first team All-Mountain West in 2009 after the Utes dominated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Reed had 58 receiving yards and a touchdown in Utah’s 31-17 victory over the Crimson Tide. During his senior year, Reed led the Mountain West conference in receiving yards per game (91.4) and was the only receiver in the conference with 1,000+ receiving yards. With the acquirements of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth, Reed will hope to see the field and contribute.
On July 2nd, tight end Ed Dickson and the Ravens agreed to a three year deal for the 3rd round (70th overall) selection. Dickson, the former Oregon Duck, spent his freshman year playing in all of the games as a defensive lineman for Oregon. Before the start of the 2009 season, Dickson was on the watch list for the Mackey Award (best tight end in the nation) and he did not disappoint with 11 catches for 148 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in Oregon’s upset of #6 ranked Cal. Dickson finished his college career All-Pac 10, as well as one of the top 3 best tight ends in the nation according College Football Performance Awards. Dickson will battle with fellow draftee Dennis Pitta and Davon Drew for the backup spot behind starter Todd Heap.
To add depth to the cornerbacks, the Ravens and Walt Harris agreed to a one-year deal. Harris is a 13-year veteran and has previously played with the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, and San Francisco 49ers. Harris was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006 after recording 60 tackles, a sack, and 8 interceptions during that season. Harris missed last season after tearing his ACL during OTA’s with San Francisco. Harris still holds the career record of 17 interceptions at Mississippi State, where he was named All-SEC in ’94 and ’95. With Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington both returning from knee surgery, the Ravens hope that Harris’s experience and knowledge of the game will reach out to the young cornerbacks.
On June 17, Baltimore signed safety Ken Hamlin to a one-year contract. Hamlin was released in April by the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003 by the Seahawks, Hamlin spent three years with Seattle before a quarrel in 2005 led to serious injuries. Hamlin was involved in an altercation between himself and two other men outside a nightclub where the two men severely beat Hamlin. Hamlin suffered a fractured skull, a blood clot, and bruised brain tissue after he was reportedly hit twice with a street sign by one of the two men. This caused Hamlin to miss the rest of the 2005 season. Hamlin signed with the Cowboys in 2007. After recording 102 tackles, 14 pass breakups, and five interceptions during the 2007 season, Hamlin earned a starting spot in the Pro Bowl as one of the 13 Cowboys selected. The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Hamlin in 2008, which led to a six-year, $38 million contract. Dallas reportedly released Hamlin to avoid paying Hamlin $5.6 million for this upcoming year. With Super Bowl XLV being held in Dallas, Hamlin will definitely want to return to Cowboys Stadium with a chance to win the championship for the purple and black.
Hamlin has acknowledged the Ravens efforts of improving: “The idea is to build for a championship, and I think [the Ravens] have done a great job of being in the running to be one of those teams competing for a championship for years. The additions that they made this offseason show they want to go an extra step further” (ESPN.com).