Ravens coach John Harbaugh sees fewer players from smaller schools at NFL camps

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens have several players trying out for the team from smaller Division I schools and Divisions II programs.

However, coach John Harbaugh does not see that as a long-term trend as more players try to transfer into Power 5 programs to help their draft status.

“I don’t know the fine numbers on it, but honestly, I think there’s fewer guys now coming out from the smaller schools than there were, just because of the transfer portal,” Harbaugh said. “A lot of those guys are transferring up before they get in the draft. … But now they’re transferring to the SEC or the Big Ten …  So, it’s kind of a different deal. I think you’ll probably see more of those guys getting a year or two at the highest level before they come to the NFL, most likely.”

The Ravens signed a couple of players from schools that compete in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision — wide receiver De’Angelo Hardy (North Carolina Central) and defensive back Jordan Toles (Morgan State).

Morgan State defensive back Jordan Toles is trying to make the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.

The Ravens also have several players from Division II programs with running back Chris Collier (Lock Haven), wide receiver Jelani Baker (Limestone) and tight end Mike Rigerman (Findlay).

Undrafted players accept invitations to Ravens offseason camps because the team has a history of keeping a number of these players on the final roster. The Ravens have had at least one undrafted free agent make their season-opening roster in 19 of the last 20 years. Thirteen players on their current roster started their NFL careers as undrafted free agents.

A couple of the players this year have caught Harbaugh’s attention.

Collier had 1,393 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in 11 games last season at Lock Haven. He also had 22 catches for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Ravens need depth at running back and Collier has an opportunity.

“In Chris’s case, he was a dominant player at that level, and you expect him to be able to play in the NFL,” Harbaugh said. “He came out here and looked like he belonged. He’s quick and fast and strong and just looks the part, so he’s going to have a chance to make the team, just like everybody else. He looked really good.”

Harbaugh also likes what he has seen from Toles, a 6-foot-1, 209-pound local player from Morgan State in Baltimore. Toles led the Bears with three interceptions and a forced fumble in 2023. He also had 66 tackles and played on special teams.

“First of all, his tape is really good,” Harbaugh said about Toles. “He’s a very productive player. Then, we had him for the workout, and he looked really good moving around. He’s a big, strong guy, and he moves well. He’s a defensive back. He looked really good the last two days. I just think he’s an instinctive player who’s got a high level of ability.

“We like those guys, especially those guys from around here. There are five really good programs in this area that we have a lot of respect for.” 

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