Two Ravens' rookies to miss team workouts

The Ravens will be without two of their top draft picks until training camp because of an NFL rule concerning graduation.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Demetrius Williams will miss the remaining 15 spring workouts because of an agreement between the NFL and the NCAA that limits a player to one minicamp with his pro team while his school is still in session.

Ngata, a first-round pick, and Williams, a fourth-round selection, aren't allowed to return to the Ravens' training complex until June 16, the last day of exams for the University of Oregon, even though both have withdrawn from the school. The last day of minicamps for the Ravens is June 15.

"It really (stinks) because I'm going to be way behind in learning the playbook," said Ngata, who is expected to start immediately. "I'm going to try my hardest to communicate with the coaches and try to teach myself."
Ravens officials were aware of the rule when they drafted both players.

This policy, which was designed to help players stay in school, affects a small number of rookies because most colleges hold commencement in the middle of May, a time when most NFL teams are just starting to hold minicamps.

But players from schools that hold spring exams in June -- such as Oregon, Ohio State, UCLA, Stanford and Washington -- are penalized.

In talking with prospects at the scouting combine in February, Ravens coach Brian Billick estimated that 90 percent had already left school. Many players stop attending classes as soon as the football season ends in order to start working out for the draft.

"The intent (of the rule) was correct and we always supported it, but the problem is that it's not happening. Players are going to stay in school or they're not," Billick said. "This (offseason work) is important stuff. If we didn't need to do this, we wouldn't. For them to miss that amount of time, it's very unfortunate for them. It puts them at a competitive disadvantage. The rule needs to be re-evaluated."

The purpose of spring workouts is to give first-year players a foundation for the system and a familiarity with teammates that will carry into training camp. The sessions include non-contact practices that are followed by meetings where they break down the playbook and film.

Billick said the Ravens would send instructional DVDs that will help Ngata and Williams digest the information. Coaches could also visit them.

"It puts me behind," said Williams, a candidate for the No. 3 receiver spot who is still searching for someone to throw to him over the next month.

"When I come to training camp, a lot of guys are going to be off and running. It's just difficult. I don't think it's that great of a rule."

Because Ngata and Williams are virtually assured spots on the roster, the one Ravens newcomer who is most affected by this rule is undrafted quarterback Drew Olson.

Hoping to catch on as the No. 3 quarterback, Olson understands missing those minicamps could hurt his chances. On pace to graduate from UCLA with a history degree, he is trying to see if he can attend the June minicamps by taking his final exams early.

"It would definitely be a bummer if I couldn't be here," Olson said. "Obviously, (the minicamps are) huge, crucial and beneficial for myself. It's kind of in the hands of the professors right now."

RavensInsider.com Recommended Stories


  • Peyton Manning emerged alone atop yet another category in the NFL record book tonight vs the Niners, as he tossed touchdown #509 under the national spotlight of Sunday Night Football (NBC). (Photo…

  • Former USC and NFL running back LenDale White added tons of drama to what was a relatively quiet Homecoming weekend for the Trojans.

  • Here’s a way to watch football and improve your golf swing at the same time. In your living room (or on the range), practice the one-minute golf swing, as shown in this video. Set the timer on your…

  • Dr. Roto, like many others, can't believe Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (pictured above) passed for over 300 yards and rushed for over 100 yards in the same game. First time that's ever happened…

  • As soon as those winds fall off, get into the stand! I always tell people you can't kill them if you aren't out, but if you want to try and pick an opportune time – this is it.