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Ravens moving main practice to grass field

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Ravens moving main practice to grass field

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Unhappy with the hard artificial turf at Tulane University's baseball field, the Baltimore Ravens finished practice Thursday on the grass field at the Saints' facility instead.

The San Francisco 49ers, their opponent in Sunday's Super Bowl, already are training at the Saints' complex in nearby Metairie.

The Ravens asked the league early Thursday if they could work out at the Saints' facility. In order for both teams to practice at different times there, the Ravens agreed to dress at Tulane's baseball facility and hold their 30-minute walk-through there.

Then the players and coaches boarded five buses for the 8-mile trip from Tulane to the Saints' facility, not far from New Orleans International Airport. There, under heightened security, the Ravens completed their on-field work for the day with a 1-hour, 25-minute practice coach John Harbaugh called ``a very normal, late-season Thursday practice.''

All 53 players on the Ravens' active roster practiced under sunny skies, and none of the players was limited.

``I think our players dealt with it great,'' said Harbaugh, who walked off the field afterward with linebacker Ray Lewis. ``As Ray just said to me, `We work.' That's what we do. Our guys don't flinch at things like this.''

Because Tulane has broken ground on a new football stadium, the AFC champions were forced to practice in the outfield of the baseball facility Wednesday.

``It's a baseball field, it's really tight, and when you stop and start, you feel it,'' Lewis said. ``It's especially tough for the older guys. I know the other players, on that hard surface, they feel it.

``I don't think (the NFL) thought it would be a problem. The last thing you want is anything that makes your players ache. You want to do the opposite.''

As part of the preparation at Tulane, the baseball field was tested to measure the hardness of the surface. The readings were within the acceptable range for NFL fields, but the Ravens weren't comfortable.

They also were working on a makeshift 80-yard field, although another area was available for the kickers.

And they had no indoor field to work on as the 49ers did. The Ravens practiced in wind gusts up to 24 mph on Wednesday.

Tulane has begun tearing down the regular practice field, where the new stadium will go. While Super Bowl planning has been under way for three years, Tulane's construction timeline was uncertain as the school cleared bureaucratic hurdles until recently.

Both Super Bowl teams have worked out at the same venue before.

In 2004 in Houston, the Panthers and Patriots both used the Texans' training facility.

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Ravens Mock Draft Roundup: Looks like Baltimore's getting a new wide receiver

Ravens Mock Draft Roundup: Looks like Baltimore's getting a new wide receiver

This is it. It’s finally the week of the 2017 NFL Draft, signaling the end to all of the mock drafts and educated guesses about which move your favorite team will make in the first round.

As for the Baltimore Ravens, there are a number of different directions they could go — add some youth to their receivers, buff up their defensive line or pull a move that could surprise everyone.

With the countdown to the NFL Draft now down to days, here’s a look at which players draft experts and analysts think the Ravens will take with their No. 16 first-round pick.

 

Corey Davis, WR from Western Michigan

Ben Standig, CSN Mid-Atlantic: He argues the Ravens need to prioritize their receiving unit to give Joe Flacco more consistent opens.

“The 6-foot-3 Davis wasn't just a receiver in 2016. We're talking playmaking monster after catching 97 passes for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns.”

But he also offers up the idea of an edge rusher for the Ravens too.

See Ben Standig's complete 2017 NFL Mock Draft 10.0

Chris Wormley, DE from Michigan

Cameron DaSilva, FOX Sports: Although he asserts Wormley deserves to be a first-round pick somewhere, the Raven’s No. 16 pick could be a bit too high but thinking he’ll still be around by the team’s second-round pick at 47 is “risky.”

“Often overshadowed by other playmakers on Michigan’s defense (Taco Charlton, Jabrill Peppers), Wormley is a great player in his own right, and fits perfectly as a 3-4 defensive end. He can eat up blocks on the edge for Terrell Suggs and Baltimore’s other dynamic pass rushers, while also generating pressure himself.”

Mike Williams, WR from Clemson

Rob Rang, CBS Sports: With the losses of Steve Smith, Sr. and Kamar Aiken, he’s not the only one to point out the Ravens need someone Flacco can rely on, and Williams might be it.

“The Ravens need help at edge rusher and offensive tackle, as well, but general manager Ozzie Newsome may have a hard time letting a prototypical split end like the 6-4, 218-pound Williams slip any further. His ability to box out defenders and win contested passes could make him a quick favorite for Joe Flacco…”

Corey Davis, WR form Western Michigan

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: His argument is quite simple.

“At some point, they have to get Joe Flacco more help outside. This is a player who will end up being the best receiver in this class.”

Cam Robinson, OT from Alabama

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: No matter what’s left by the time the Ravens’ pick rolls around, he argues Baltimore will find someone for the O-Line.

“If Buffalo takes this physically dominant tackle from Alabama at 10, then Ozzie Newsome will find another bargain here.”

 O.J. Howard, TE from Alabama 

Evan Silva, Yahoo Sports: In a year of stand-out tight ends, he asserts this might be the right move for the Ravens.

"Tight ends ordinarily do not make first-year impacts, and the depth of the class could work against the top-end talents. At No. 16, however, I think Howard would be too appealing for GM Ozzie Newsome to pass. 2015 second-round pick Maxx Williams has been a colossal disappointment, and Dennis Pitta is on his last legs. Howard is the pro-readiest tight end in this class." 

John Ross, WR from Washington

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report: His point is to basically have the Ravens strengthen their offense so it’s reliable and they can leave it alone while working to improve other areas.

“So fast. So record-shatteringly fast. Can also run routes and catch and stuff.”

MORE NFL DRAFT: 15 first-round NFL Draft busts

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2017 NFL Mock Draft 10.0: Plenty of questions ahead of draft day

2017 NFL Mock Draft 10.0: Plenty of questions ahead of draft day

The 2017 NFL Draft takes place this Thursday, April 27th.

With just a few days until draft day, we are doing some last-minute edits to our mock draft. 

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST NFL MOCK DRAFT

While the top picks remain all but guaranteed — DEs Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas — The meat of the first round is where the intrigue is.

Just how high will Texas Tech QB Pat Mahomes go?

Will Christian McCaffrey still be on the board when the Redskins draft at No. 18?

Will Reuben Foster plummet out of the first round?

There are a bevy of questions that need to be answered.

Mock Draft 10.0 answers those questions.

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST NFL MOCK DRAFT