Former University of Maine All-American defensive lineman Pat Ricard’s versatility has helped him land one of the 53 roster spots for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
He signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.
In addition to playing on the defensive line, the Ravens also used the 6-foot-3 1/2, 304-pound Ricard as a fullback in certain situations and as a tight end.
If he does play both ways, he would be the NFL’s sixth two-way player in this decade and the first since Dan Klecko did so with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008.
“Ricard was one of the surprises of training camp for his ability as a two-way player. The Ravens gave him a shot at fullback and he played well enough that the team decided not to carry a traditional fullback on the active roster,” Garrett Downing wrote in a baltimoreravens.com report.
“He also blocked a field goal against the Saints and earned a spot despite the defensive line group being perhaps the deepest (position) on the team,” he added.
Dustin Cox also praised Ricard in an ebonybird.com report before the roster cuts were announced on Saturday.
“What can’t this guy do?” wrote Cox. “He has lined up on the defensive line, at fullback and even at tight end. Ricard was already a favorite of the undrafted rookies to make the team but he solidified his spot with a strong performance against the Saints.
“He has shown he can make punishing blocks at the fullback and tight end position. He is also a huge menace on the defensive line and even blocked a field goal against the Saints. Ricard provides versatility, which is huge for his chances of making the team. The defensive line is the deepest position on the team so contributing on offense makes him worth keeping.”
Ricard, who could be the biggest fullback in NFL history, played fullback in high school and was approached about playing fullback by Ravens senior offensive assistant coach Greg Roman according to a story by ESPN writer Jamison Hensley.
“I was like, alright, cool,” said Ricard in the report. “It’s another opportunity to play and another chance to make the team somehow.”
In a preseason game against Miami, Ricard hit Dolphins linebacker Trevor Reilly so hard Reilly’s helmet came off. Ricard’s block helped spring Buck Allen for a 16-yard run.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in the story that “when we put (Ricard) in there in the spring, he looked like he was comfortable with it. He moved, he made decisions, he could see things and sort things out the way you would want to see a fullback do. He did just fine with it.”
The Ravens lost Pro Bowl fullback and free agent Kyle Juszczyk in the offseason. He signed a four-year, $21 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
Ricard, a native of Spencer, Massachusetts, was a two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team selection and a third-team All-American.
Last fall, he was involved in 50 tackles including 15.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks. He was second in the CAA in tackles for loss and fifth in sacks.
In 2015, he had a league-high 16.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Ricard was involved in 208 tackles during his impressive 44-game UMaine career including 47.5 for loss and 18 sacks.