When the Ravens selected fullback Kyle Juszczyk with a fourth-round pick on Saturday, the team wound up getting a little more help from the Harvard football program.
Long-time center Matt Birk played for Harvard, and he just retired after the Super Bowl. But Juszczyk also is a Harvard guy who can line up at a number of different spots on offense and also has done very well on special teams, something that coach John Harbaugh seemed to like when talking after the draft finished.
But the Ivy League and Harvard have connected with the Ravens again, something the new draftee talked about in a conference call with the media Saturday afternoon.
"“It’s pretty cool," he said "It’s always cool to see the Ivy League get a little respect, and people recognize we play some serious football out there.”
And when asked about the way he plays, Juszczyk didn't hesitate. He plays tough, hard-nosed football and is looking forward to doing more of that for the Ravens this season.
"It’s kind of a tough, blue-collar, gritty kind of skill set," Juszczyk said. "I like to think I bring physicality to skilled positions at times.”
What's interesting about the pick is that assistant GM Eric DeCosta had been asked about Ivy League football at the pre-draft press conference and talked about it in a positive way.
"I think there are some players there this year," he said that day. "I think teams are spending more resources trying to find some of those diamonds in the rough. There are players at all levels of football. Our scouts do a good job of finding those guys, identifying those guys early, and we put those guys through the process of the draft and see how they hold up."