With the rookie minicamp going on May 8th and 9th, we get our first chance to see what the Ravens' draft picks look like and maybe even some of the hidden gems that Ozzie Newsome collected afterwards. We've written that the Ravens came to agreements with 15 undrafted rookies just Friday to go along with the 9 drafted prospects that the Ravens were able to snatch up in the 6 rounds that they had picks in. With more than 40 players on the field at the Under Armour Performance Center, you can be sure that there were some important things going on.
As would be expected, first round pick Breshad Perriman seemed to get the most attention. As we estimated earlier, Perriman was able to showcase his speed and quickness. One one particular play, Perriman caught a crossing route over the middle and sprinted past the entire secondary on route to the endzone. The biggest question and knock on Perriman so far has been his hands; but with just one pass dropped, you can be sure that he not only took note of that complaint, but is working hard on getting rid of it.
Sadly, the Ravens had their first injury of the year. Undrafted cornerback Julian Wilson suffered a season-ending broken leg. Harbaugh mentioned that Wilson had a "lot of potential" and "was disappointed".
Second round draft pick Maxx Williams was able to answer his question going into practice by finding the soft spot in zone coverage and converting first downs. As we discussed previously, Williams needed to show that he could maintain the same level of play he had in college, but against better competition, by using his football IQ instead of relying on his physicality solely.
The surprising player so far was tight end Nick Boyle. Drafted out of the fifth round, Boyle was a player that many expected to be solely a blocker and compete for that spot on the roster. As a big player, he showcased a huge wingspan in addition to his physicality as a blocker. He should not only make the final roster based on what we've seen so far, but could have a major impact in two-tight end sets that the Ravens love to run and use play action out of.
Head coach John Harbaugh had plenty of positives to talk about with this group of rookies. By the sounds of it, this might be one of the more talented and smart rookie classes that the Ravens have ever fielded.
They’ve all done a really good job. This group of guys is really talented, so they picked it up really well. Good football IQ.
Now comes the point where the Ravens and coaching staff must boil down the group of talent they have into a 90-man roster to go into training camp with.
"It is a challenge to even set a 90-man roster right now because you want to give everybody a chance and these are close decisions," Harbaugh said. "Every single guy we have here could have a really good training camp in the National Football League, and make a run at a career in this league."