AFC East: Tandon Doss

Ravens smart to land Lee Evans

August, 12, 2011
On Monday, I suggested the Baltimore Ravens call the Buffalo Bills and inquire about Lee Evans. On Friday, the Ravens landed Evans in a trade for next year's fourth-round pick.

This is a nice rebound by Baltimore's front office. The Ravens miscalculated their receiver situation in free agency by releasing Derrick Mason and pursuing a younger, more dynamic Malcom Floyd. Baltimore eventually whiffed on Floyd and it was too late to turn back to Mason, who signed a one-year contract with the New York Jets.

That left the Ravens with a pair of rookies as their No. 2 and No. 3 receivers. Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss may become good players down the road. But if Baltimore is serious about winning a championship in 2011, it can't rely on Smith and Doss to lead that charge this season.

Evans brings deep speed and a veteran presence. According to ESPN's Stats & Information, Evans is third in yards per catch (15.7) among active receivers with at least 300 receptions. Only Greg Jennings (16.2) of the Green Bay Packers and Braylon Edwards (15.8) of the San Francisco 49ers are ahead of Evans.

Starter Anquan Boldin will be the top target underneath, while Evans can blow the top off the defense. Fourth-year quarterback Joe Flacco finally has the speedy receiver he needs to take advantage of his beautiful (but rarely used) deep ball.

Overall, this move makes a lot of sense for the Ravens -- and not just because I suggested it.

More AFC East combine leftovers

March, 5, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS -- A couple days back I posted some AFC East-related tidbits from defensive players at the NFL scouting combine in Lucas Oil Stadium. Let's close the combine book with thoughts from the offensive prospects.

[+] EnlargeTorrey Smith
Andrew Shurtleff/US PresswireMaryland receiver Torrey Smith knows his transition to the NFL will be challenging.
Maryland receiver Torrey Smith on watching the New York Jets on "Hard Knocks:"
"It's tough. It's a grown man's league. You get that feel from watching it. I liked their coach. He has a lot of fun. He definitely gets his team ready. It's an eye-opener."

Pittsburgh receiver Jonathan Baldwin on his mentors:
"People from Aliquippa, Darrelle Revis and Ty Law. After the combine I'll be working with Darrelle, doing one-on-ones and press release and things like that. Darrelle Revis is one of the best corners in the game. So doing what I’m sure will help me get ready for the next level of cornerbacks."

San Diego State receiver Vincent Brown on the toughest cornerback he faced in college:
"My true freshman year, Sean Smith. He shut me down pretty good that game. I'm not going to lie. It was definitely a learning experience, and I definitely grew from that. His size [was difficult]. I'm a smaller receiver. He's a big dude. He's got a big wingspan. It was a little tough to get around him at times when I'm a true freshman and thrown in the fire like that."

Indiana receiver Tandon Doss on learning from former Bills second-rounder James Hardy's inability to make it in the NFL:
"He's a great player and athlete. He's a freak athlete. He had some things along the way that kept him down. Hopefully, he gets back into it. I’m going to learn from the experience and take as much out of it as I can."

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady:
"Coach [Nick] Saban doesn’t ever say 'Here, let's watch No. 12 from New England,' but you watch him. He's the most fun guy to watch in the league right now. There's a lot of efficient quarterbacks, but as far as his control, his balance, the way he sets up in the pocket, the way he is so mechanically sound, it really is such a joy to watch. He's so fluid. He never gets flustered. Just his subtle movements, all of his subtleties, every little detail is addressed. Coach Saban would never let me watch another quarterback play. He thinks that's soft or something. But, yeah, I obviously have spent time watching Tom Brady. He's a hero of mine and a guy who I would love nothing more than to try to pattern my game off of."

McElroy on whether he'd like to be Brady's backup:
"In a heartbeat. Absolutely."

Texas Christian quarterback Andy Dalton on the Bills' coaching staff at the Senior Bowl:
"It was fun being able to get to play underneath the Bills and their staff. To be in a pro system and to be in a pro offense and to learn with a bunch of guys. It was a great experience and will help me with the transition."

Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams on being compared to Jets tight end Dustin Keller:
"You've got to like it because he's very successful in the NFL. I like watching him play, his style. He's that type of person who can get down field and run amazing routes. He can cause a mismatch against a slower linebacker or a smaller DB. And he has the ability to get on the line of scrimmage and block, too. I enjoy watching him play, and that's not a bad comparison at all. It's a very good one."

North Carolina receiver Greg Little on being teammates with New England Patriots receiver Brandon Tate:
"I was on the team with Brandon for about two years. I was a backup to Brandon, and I really grew as a player seeing him play and just taking notes from him. Just sitting alongside him in the meeting rooms and watching his play was very beneficial to my game as well. I don't talk to Brandon as much today. But it's definitely someone I learned from and grew from as well."

Pittsburgh tackle Jason Pinkston on his relationship with Bills assistant head coach Dave Wannstedt:
"I was pretty upset when Coach Wannstedt first got fired [from Pitt]. I had a different relationship with Coach Wannstedt than some of the other players on the team. I actually graduated from his high school [Baldwin] when he was recruiting me. I've known him for about six or seven years. So it was a different kind of relationship with me and him. He was like a father to me. My mother passed away two years ago from breast cancer, and he was there for me -- him and his family -- a lot. So I had a different kind of love for him. He was more than just a coach to me. He was like a father figure. So I was pretty upset and hurt when they fired him like they did."

Pinkston on Wannstedt's coaching style:
"Aggressive. He's smart and he plays to win. He's a great coach, and he does everything by the book. We always went by three words: trust, accountability, desire. If he couldn’t trust you, you weren't going to play. He definitely had the backs of all his players, and now all his players respect him. We love him. I still love him to death."