Feb 25, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Iowa State Cyclones offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The Baltimore Ravens rookie class of 2012 had their first practice of the year yesterday, offering media and coaches their first look at the new guys on the field. At least I think it was a practice. It sounded more like a practice of a practice.
Overall the new class seemed to impress as Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com had some great things to say about the rookie class:
- It’s easy to see why Eric DeCosta called Courtney Upshaw a "junkyard dog." He’s built like defensive end Pernell McPhee, but Upshaw is up moving around at different positions. It makes sense considering Upshaw is just an inch shorter and eight pounds lighter than McPhee.
- Upshaw’s arms are huge.
- Upshaw’s strength was obvious, even when it wasn’t real contact. Coaches stressed it was all about fundamentals, but offensive players will know when Upshaw puts his hands on him.
- Upshaw did a very nice job in coverage on a couple instances. He recognized a swing pass on one play, and would have had a tackle for loss, drawing praise from Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino. He also had a tipped pass that was picked off.
- Guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele is massive. He looks like a bigger version of Michael Oher. He’s got active feet and looks very athletic for his 6-foot-5, 333-pound frame. He looks like he can maul people at guard.
- Wide receiver Tommy Streeter is more physically defined than expected. Maybe he’s been hitting the weight room this spring.
- Streeter can pluck the ball away from his frame. He had a few impressive catches both behind his body, low and high. He hasn’t grabbed any deep bombs yet.
- Streeter has some competition in the big-boy wide receiver battle. Undrafted rookie free agent Lamont Bryant of Morgan State is 6-foot-6, 230 pounds. That’s an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than Streeter.
- Syracuse receiver Dorian Graham and Florida wideout Deonte Thompson can fly.
- Cornerback Asa Jackson has moxie. He plays with confidence and combines it with major speed and quickness out of his breaks. He broke on a couple balls that could have been interceptions.
- Rookie free agent kicker Justin Tucker hit a 55-yard field goal to end practice. The other rookies applauded him.
It's great to hear that Upshaw shows good strength and drive. He has the chance to put up an impressive rookie year if he plays his cards right. There will be plenty of playing time to be had at outside linebacker for someone that stands out.
Osemele looks big, we get it. I just hope he was worth passing on some of the receivers that were available at that point in the draft. I'd say quietly he has to be the favorite at guard without even having put on pads yet.
I'm pretty sure Tommy Streeter has been pretty physically defined since I've seen him play but it's nice to see he's making good first impressions.
The more I hear about Asa Jackson the more I like him. He could be the next great Ravens draft steal.
With Tucker hitting 55 yarders maybe the kicking competition will heat up!