Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

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Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Keenan Reynolds

We are profiling the Ravens’ draft picks as they prepare to start minicamp Friday. Here are three things to know about sixth-round pick, WR Keenan Reynolds of Navy:

1. The biggest push to draft Reynolds came from assistant general manager Eric DeCosta.

DeCosta, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and coach John Harbaugh were visibly moved talking about making the phone call to Reynolds. All of them admire the way Reynolds has handled himself at Navy, both on and off the field.

When Newsome made the call, he put Reynolds on speaker phone so that everyone could hear his reaction. “Everyone in the room could be a part of telling him that we picked him,” Newsome said. “It was a special moment.”

2. Reynolds is much more than just a symbolic pick.

The Ravens believe Reynolds can stick as a punt returner, and that he has the athleticism and work ethic to become a polished slot receiver. Reynolds has many qualities inherent to top punt returners – good judgment, vision, elusiveness, sure hands, and speed. The Ravens also like that Reynolds has been working with CSN’s Brian Mitchell, a former Pro Bowl punt returner with the Redskins.

“Fortunately, we have a great relationship with Brian Mitchell,” DeCosta said. “We did our homework on him. He’s a guy that was a player of interest to us throughout the process. We kept it very quiet and, and it worked out the right way.”

 3. The Ravens are willing to wait if military obligations prevent Reynolds from playing right away.

Naval Academy graduates are obligated to a five-year military term, but Reynolds has hope of being able to play this fall. The Patriots drafted Navy graduate Joe Cardona last year as a long snapper, and he was granted permission to play. Cardona spent one day a week working at a Rhode Island naval facility. Reynolds hoped a similar arrangement could be worked out for him.

“I’m hoping and praying, and I’m confident that this potentially could be the same type of situation with myself,” Reynolds said. “It’s a blessing that the Ravens felt I was worthy to take a chance on with the military obligation and my service commitment.”

McCloughan says he prefers low-mileage running backs

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McCloughan says he prefers low-mileage running backs

When it comes to drafting running backs, Scot McCloughan prefers low-mileage models.

Last year, McCloughan took Matt Jones, who had 297 rushing attempts in three seasons at Florida, in the third round. This year the running back pick was Keith Marshall, a seventh-round pick who carried the ball 253 times in four years as a Georgia Bulldog.

In contrast, Heisman Trophy winning back Derrick Henry had 395 carries in 2015 alone.

Of course, Henry got the ball a lot because he was consistently productive for the Crimson Tide. Injuries kept Marshall from having a bigger role at Georgia and Jones couldn’t break out of a running back by committee arrangement with the Gators.

McCloughan sees the positive in each of his backs’ situations.

“The thing I like about it, and it was the thing with Matt Jones last year, is the amount of carries he’s had,” he said when asked about Marshall’s lack of college production. “He hasn’t been beat up. With running backs, it’s so important to have the health. The more hits you take, the worse off it is. Again, we’ll see how it shakes out.”

McCloughan may just be trying to put some lipstick on a pig here in talking about the Redskins’ still uncertain running back situation. But it’s a fact that heavy college workloads taken on by backs like Henry do drop their draft stocks. So it makes sense that all other things being equal a back who had a light workload prior to entering the draft should be somewhat more valuable.

As McCloughan said, we’ll see how it shakes out.

Bryce Harper's new Under Armour deal 'largest ever for a baseball player'

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Bryce Harper's new Under Armour deal 'largest ever for a baseball player'

Bryce Harper, along with Angels' outfielder Mike Trout, is widely considered to be "The face of baseball."

The reigning N.L. MVP is off to a scorching start to the 2016 season and with his "Make Baseball Fun Again" campaign generating major buzz, Under Armour has decided to back up the Brink's truck.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel company recently inked Harper to a 10-year endorsement deal that, according to ESPN sports business insider Darren Rovell, is the largest endorsement deal ever offered to a Major League Baseball player.

Under Armour announced earlier Tuesday that Harper signed a multiyear extension but said terms, including the length of the deal and compensation, would not be disclosed. The brand, which has had Harper as an endorser for five years, will begin selling Harper's first signature cleat, the Under Armour Harper One, in July. 
 

Harper has been signed with Under Armour since April 2011, less than a year after he was drafted by the Nationals with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft.

Through the first 25 games of the 2016 season, Harper is batting .271 and has 24 RBIs and 9 home runs and was named the N.L. Player of the Month for April.

In locking up Harper for the long haul, Under Armour continues to brand themselves with MVP talent. Harper stands along side 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, 2015 NBA MVP and world champion Steph Curry,  2015 Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth,  2015 NHL MVP (Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsey Award) Carey Price, and two-time NFL MVP Tom Brady as Under Armour athletes.