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DL Urban drafted by Ravens; first Canadian to be chosen

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The Canadian Press
5/10/2014 4:08:46 PM
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The Baltimore Ravens looked to Canada on the final day of the NFL draft.

The Ravens selected Virginia defensive lineman Brent Urban, a six-foot-seven, 295-pound native of Mississauga, Ont., in the fourth round, No. 134 overall, Saturday. Then in the fifth round, Baltimore took Winnipeg native John Urschel, an offensive lineman at Penn State, at No. 175 overall.

A third Canadian, Notre Dame receiver T.J. Jones -- another Winnipeg native -- was taken in the sixth round, No, 189 overall, by the Detroit Lions.

Defence was Baltimore's emphasis early in the draft, taking Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley in the first round Thursday night before selecting Florida State defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan in the second round Friday night. And on Saturday, the Ravens opted for Florida State safety Terrence Brooks with their first third-round pick before selecting Colorado State tight end Crockett Gillmore with their second pick in the third.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was surprised that Urban was still available in the fourth round.

"He's a guy when I first watched him thought second round at the latest," Harbaugh told the NFL Network. "He's had a couple of injuries and things like that but you talk to this young man and he's a great guy.

"He's a hard worker, big, strong. He fits our defence. This guy is a guy who fits our scheme perfectly, a big, strong guy who fell to us so we couldn't be more happy with him."

NFL draft guru Mike Mayock agreed.

"Not only do I like the pick but he fits exactly what they do," he said. "'The five technique is probably his best position, a 3-4 defensive end in a 3-4 defence.

"I think he's a big, strong kid. He's stout. In addition to playing that five technique, he could probably move inside also. So I like him and I think there's some significant upside there."

Urban, 23, started eight games at defensive tackle with Virginia last year before suffering a severe high ankle sprain but still led all NCAA Division 1 defensive linemen with nine pass knockdowns. He was invited to the Senior Bowl but couldn't play in the game due to injury.

Not surprisingly, Urban has been compared to Houston Texans' star J.J. Watt, one of the NFL's top defensive lineman, and came into the draft projected as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme -- three defensive linemen, four linebackers. Urban was selected in the second round of last year's CFL draft by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats but elected to return to school.

This marks the second straight year the Ticats have lost a highly touted defensive lineman to the NFL. Hamilton took Calgary Dinos defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh first overall in the 2013 CFL draft but the native of Peace River, Alta., signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent and spent all of last season on injured reserve after undergoing back surgery.

A converted hockey player -- he played AAA as a bantam in Mississauga -- Urban took up football his first year of high school at Lorne Park Secondary School before deciding to concentrate full-time on the sport.

After high school, he attended Virginia and redshirted as a freshman. He served as a backup defensive end for two seasons before starting at tackle in 2012. Last season, Urban recorded 13 solo tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He was invited to this year's Senior Bowl but was limited to just two practices because of his right ankle sprain.

The major knock against Urban heading into the draft has been injuries. Urban underwent surgery in February and didn't participate in the NFL combine, where the top draft prospects undergo testing under the watchful eye of league coaches, GMs and scouts.

Urban expects to be ready to participate in training camp come July.

After being redshirted, Urban suffered a torn left ACL that limited him to just three games in 2010. He appeared in all 13 games in 2011, recording 15 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss but did undergo wrist surgery after the season.

Urban started all 12 games at defensive end in '12, registering 20 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks with a fumble return for a TD.

The six-foot-three, 313-pound Urschel was born in Manitoba but played football at Canisuis High School in Buffalo, N.Y. He was a team captain at Penn State and earned all-Big 10 honours his final two seasons there and was one of 15 offensive guards invited to the '14 NFL combine but could also play centre as a pro.

But he is much more than just a football player. He earned a masters degree in math and received the Campbell Trophy as U.S. college football's top football scholar athlete.

The six-foot, 195-pound Jones had his most productive season at Notre Dame in 2013 with 70 receptions for 1,108 yards and nine touchdowns. And he heads to the NFL with a definite pro pedigree.

Jones' late father, Andre, was a defensive end at Notre Dame who also played for the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers while his uncle, Philip Daniels, is a former former NFL defensive lineman who played for Seattle, Chicago and Washington over 14 NFL seasons who's currently Washington's director of player development.

Also, his godfather is former Notre Dame flanker Raghib (Rocket) Ismail, who helped the Toronto Argonauts win the Grey Cup in 1991.

Jones was born in Winnipeg before moving to Georgia, where he attended high school. As a true freshman in 2010, he started seven of 12 games with Notre Dame and had 23 catches for 306 yards and three TDs.

Brent Urban (Photo: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
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