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Ravens' Nico Siragusa 'Obviously Willing To Learn' Center Position

May 15, 2017
After the Baltimore Ravens selected San Diego State offensive guard Nico Siragusa in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, many Ravens fans probably thought the same thing: Is Nico related to former Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa?

Nico Siragusa joined Glenn Clark Radio May 3 and revealed that he is related to a Tony Siragusa -- just not the one who played for the Ravens from 1997 to 2001 -- and he's been asked about his last name since he started playing football when he was about 16.

"You know how they have all those [websites] like Rivals and Scout and stuff? When you start getting offers, they interview you, and that's when they're like, 'Are you related to Tony Siragusa?' I was like, 'Nope,'" Nico Siragusa said. "My dad's name is Ramon Siragusa. He's a 5-foot-8 Puerto Rican dude. The funny thing is I have an uncle named Tony."

Nico Siragusa, a Chula Vista, Calif., native, was an Oakland Raiders fan growing up, and he remembers when the Ravens beat them in the AFC Championship Game in January 2001 with the help of Tony Siragusa.

"It was sad," Nico Siragusa said. "Tony Siragusa had to go and crush [Raiders quarterback] Rich Gannon."

Nico Siragusa had a productive career at San Diego State from 2013 to 2016 after redshirting in 2012. He played in all 54 of the Aztecs' games during his four-year career and started 42, mostly at left guard. He was named first-team all-Mountain West by the conference's coaches and media in 2015 and 2016, the Aztecs' first offensive lineman to earn that honor in two seasons.

Siragusa blocked for running back Donnel Pumphrey, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round in 2017, for four years. Pumphrey ran for an FBS-record 6,405 career yards, including 2,133 yards in 2016.

Siragusa said in the past that Pumphrey owes him some McDonald's food as a reward for Pumphrey's prolific rushing. 

Siragusa noted Pumphrey hasn't come through on payment -- not yet, anyway. 

"Since he's in Philadelphia, which I'm assuming is not that far away, we're going to have to meet halfway somewhere and he's for sure taking me to Ruth's Chris … or whatever fancy steakhouse," Siragusa said. "He's a fourth-rounder, so he's going to get some money, so we could take care of that and then we're good. And then he's going to take care of his O-linemen with the Eagles."

Siragusa was in Owings Mills, Md., for Baltimore's rookie minicamp May 5-7 to work out at the Ravens' facility for the first time and meet his new coaches and teammates. There are two openings on Baltimore's offensive line, and the 6-foot-4, 319-pound Siragusa will figure into the competition. 

If Siragusa earns playing time in 2017, he has a chance to impact a Baltimore team that rushed for 4.0 yards per carry last season, a middling mark. One scouting report said Siragusa is a "drive blocker with [the] strength to win individual battles" and "better-than-expected maneuverability when asked to pull." 

Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda are entrenched at left tackle and right guard, respectively, but there's more flexibility with the other spots. Alex Lewis played left guard last season but was a left tackle at Nebraska in 2014 and 2015. Lewis could presumably bounce outside to right tackle, with Siragusa filling in at left guard. The competition for center also is wide open, though Siragusa has never played there before.

"I've never really snapped. If they want to teach me how to play center, I'm obviously willing to learn, but I haven't really played center before," Siragusa said. "But I feel like I'm really football smart to where I could understand the schemes of the defense and offense and what calls to make and how to multi-task -- snapping and doing footwork at the same time.

"I just want to help the team win, and whatever that entails me to do -- if that means I've got to be the sixth guy and play both guard spots in case someone gets hurt, or be the backup center, or come in on big-man packages, I don't care, just whatever it takes for the team to win."

For more from Siragusa on Glenn Clark Radio, including meeting new Ravens safety Tony Jefferson when he was preparing for the NFL Combine, his go-to McDonald's order when he was in college and his favorite food in San Diego, check out the full interview:

Issue 233: May 2017