Baltimore Ravens May Have Struck Gold in Seventh Round With Elon's Aaron Mellette

By Tyler Ash

Aaron Mellette was projected to be a late third-to-mid fourth round pick in most mock drafts. He was rated the 19th best wide receiver to enter the draft by ESPN scouting reports, yet when the seventh round rolled along, Mellette was still waiting for a team to select him and fulfill his life-long dream. Mellette was finally chosen in the seventh round, the 238th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.  The wait may have been well worth it for the 23-year-old wide receiver out of Elon as he was drafted by the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.

Make no mistake; Mellette will not just be a “practice squad” player for the Ravens like so many other seventh round picks turn out to be. Immediately after he was selected, all the draft boards raved about how the Ravens just got a “steal” in the draft by picking the big-bodied Mellette who has a major potential to be a force on the outside in the passing game. Not only does Mellette present a big target, he also excels at tracking the ball over his shoulder and adjusting to the ball in flight.

The doubters will be plentiful when it comes to Mellette’s chances at success in the NFL. Despite his physical size, aggressive corners have been able to push him around at the line of scrimmage. The other naysayers will assert that Mellette’s struggles against FBS teams depict his inability to play with the highest level of competition.

These skeptics of Mellette, though, cannot deny the outstanding success the wideout had playing for the Elon Phoenix. While Mellette did not start a single game for the Phoenix in his freshman season, he was able to post remarkable numbers as a three year starter for Elon. His statistics improved year by year showing his budding potential. In his sophomore season he hauled in 86 receptions for 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns. He caught his most passes and accumulated his most receiving yards in his junior season in 2011, corralling 113 receptions for 1,639 yards and 12 touchdowns. Mellette had a knack for reaching the end zone in his senior season, scoring 18 touchdowns.

Mellette received some prestigious awards in his tenure with the Phoenix. He was named to the All-Southern Conference First Team in three of his four years at Elon. He was awarded First-Team FCS All-American honors in 2011 and 2012. Following his senior year, he was invited to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl as a member of the North roster.

So how can the 6-foot-2-inch 217 pound Mellette fit in the Ravens offense? Well, he certainly has the height to be a productive possession receiver. He could be reliable on slant passes and is not afraid to go over the middle to catch passes in traffic.

The Ravens’ top two receivers for the 2013 season will be Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, but the number three spot on the wide receiver depth chart is up for grabs. Mellette will compete with Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams and Tommy Streeter for playing time at the wideout position. Doss has caught seven passes in his two seasons in the NFL.  Williams has caught just four passes in his career and missed the entire 2012 season with a hamstring injury. Streeter, a sixth round pick in the 2012 draft,  never got lifted off the practice squad last season.

After Smith and Jones, the Ravens do not have any experienced receivers with a commendable resume. Suffice to say, Mellette has a great chance to see considerable playing time in his rookie season.

After getting drafted in the seventh round from an FCS school, Mellette has plenty of motivation to prove people wrong. He will have a chip on his shoulder and that is the perfect mentality to have for a seventh round pick looking to make all the teams pay for passing on him so many times in the daft.

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