Published November 20, 2014
The snap exchange for the Baltimore Ravens may be Delaware- to-Delaware someday.
On the third and final day of the 77th annual draft Saturday, the Ravens used the third pick of the fourth round - 98th overall - to select Delaware offensive guard and center Gino Gradkowski.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Gradkowski, the younger brother of veteran NFL quarterback Brad Gradkowski, will join an offensive line that protects former Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco.
"I'm elated right now because Baltimore plays football the way it's supposed to be played," said Gradkowski, whose first visit with a team was the Ravens.
Gradkowski wasn't generally considered a fourth-round selection, but the Ravens thought otherwise. The two-time All-CAA Football selection is regarded as an excellent interior blocker who could learn from veteran Ravens center Matt Birk.
Gradkowski began his college career at West Virginia before dropping to the FCS level at Delaware. He started for the Blue Hens' FCS national runner-up squad in 2010.
He was the first FCS player selected on the third day of the draft, and the third overall after the St. Louis Rams selected Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick and Montana cornerback Trumaine Johnson in the second and third rounds, respectively, Friday night.
Later in the fourth round, the Ravens stayed in the FCS by selecting South Carolina State free safety Christian Thompson at No. 130 overall, starting a run of defensive backs among FCS selections. The Ravens also tabbed Cal Poly cornerback Asa Jackson with a fifth-round selection.
Perhaps the most surprising pick was Eastern Washington strong safety Matt Johnson going in the fourth round to the Dallas Cowboys with the 135th pick. A physical and productive player, his senior season after seven games because of a biceps injury, which required surgery.
"I'm sure the injury and being from a FCS school probably is why people had me picked later or not drafted at all," Johnson said. "But I knew the fourth round was possible. When I met the coaches, they were able to see what kind of person I am and how smart of a football player I am."
It was not surprising that defensive backs dominated the FCS draft class. Nine of the first 11 selections were cornerbacks and safeties, including a run of nine straight after Gradowski's selection.
The draft ended with 15 FCS selections coming off the board.
2012 FCS DRAFT SELECTIONS
St. Louis Rams (2nd round, 33rd selection overall) - Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State, 6-3, 220
St. Louis Rams (3rd, 65) - Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana, 6-2, 204
Baltimore Ravens (4th, 98) - Gino Gradkowski, OG/C, Delaware, 6-3, 300
Baltimore Ravens (4th, 130, compensatory selection) - Christian Thompson, FS, South Carolina State, 6-0, 211
Green Bay Packers (4th, 133, compensatory selection) - Jerron McMillian, SS, Maine, 5-11, 203
Dallas Cowboys (4th, 135, compensatory selection) - Matt Johnson, SS, Eastern Washington, 6-1, 212
Carolina Panthers (5th, 143) - Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina, 6-0, 197
New Orleans Saints (5th, 162) - Corey White, SS, Samford, 5-11, 206
Baltimore Ravens (5th, 169, compensatory selection) - Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly, 5-10, 191
Seattle Seahawks (6th, 172) - Jeremy Lane, CB, Northwestern State, 6-0, 184
Arizona Cardinals (6th, 177) - Justin Bethel, CB/FS, Presbyterian, 6-0, 200
Oakland Raiders (6th, 189) - Christo Bilukidi, DE, Georgia State 6-5, 290
Washington Redskins (6th, 193) - Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota, 6-5, 314
Dallas Cowboys (7th, 222) - Caleb McSurdy, LB, Montana, 6-1, 245
Green Bay Packers (7th, 243, compensatory selection) - B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga, 6-3, 233