Ravens receiver Marlon Brown one step closer to roster spot

Undrafted rookie Marlon Brown caught four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown Thursday night against Carolina. - Rob Carr

After a four-catch, 59-yard performance that featured a touchdown, undrafted rookie receiver Marlon Brown might be in the driver's seat for one of Baltimore's final roster spots.

If there was one bright spot to take away from Thursday's otherwise misadventure at M&T Bank Stadium, it would be that the Ravens might have found itself some potential in another rookie receiver.

This time, it was undrafted rookie receiver Marlon Brown who put in his best effort to prove he belongs on the 53-man roster. And who honestly believes he hasn't done enough to earn one of those final spots?

Baltimore's locks are Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Brandon Stokley. Given LaQuan Williams participated on all four special teams units, he's probably getting a spot. You still have Deonte Thompson to consider, depending on the severity of his foot injury. He might be an IR candidate if he's not ready to go by the beginning of the regular season.

No longer can it be assumed Tandon Doss, who committed a simple error that resulted in a Drayton Florence 71-yard interception for a touchdown, has a roster spot on this team.

Maybe Doss' mishaps through the preseason have turned into Brown's gain. Brown caught four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown during Baltimore's 34-27 loss Thursday night. He put in that production with the first team, catching each pass from quarterback Joe Flacco.

"Coach told me during the week I was going to play with the ones so all I had to do was go out there and perform," Brown told reporters after the game.

Flacco began targeting Brown when he entered and looked for him the entire way on his 24-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Brown caught the pass out of the slot, a position you don't typically see 6-5 receivers working out of. But Brown beat his man off the line of scrimmage, ran a post and caught a perfectly thrown ball from Flacco near the goal line before taking it in for the score.

"First off, it was an awesome pass by Joe," Brown said. "He was able to keep the ball away from the safety and the nickelback defender. And I was able to make the catch."

Brown was a blue-chip recruit coming out of Harding Academy in Memphis, Tenn. He began showing flashes of his five-star status as a senior at the University of Georgia, but tore his ACL against Ole Miss last November.

Brown showed a little bit of chemistry that's been missing from some of the other receivers this preseason. It might be time for the Ravens to opt for a young group of receivers this season, considering there haven't been any to separate themselves outside of Smith.

"We have a bunch of guys that are probably going to play very well in this league over the next few years," coach John Harbaugh told reporters. "They aren't going to all be here, but they're going to play somewhere, and I'm really kind of happy where we're at with those guys. You probably saw today the things we've been seeing in practice for the last few weeks, and I'm glad you got a chance to see those things."

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

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