The first week of OTAs is in the bag, the second one is in the sack, thanks to the NFL lowering the judgment boom on the Baltimore Ravens for rules violations. Before skipping to the third, here are 5 players that seemed to stand out in media reports and video footage of the primary drills.
5. QB Ryan Mallett
Surprised to see this name? Go back and look at the footage again. Pretty much every good pass was thrown by #7. He had some needle threads and some straight-up bombs mixed in there. He looked good and did not hurt at all from the multiple reps and the chemistry built with new teammates. File under: great looking insurance policy.
4. TE Dennis Pitta
Sarah Ellison of BaltimoreRavens.com tweeted it best:
People need start thinking about @dennispitta's role on team. It's just OTAs, but he's looking like same ole Pittahttps://t.co/MG8SyzusxG— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) May 28, 2016
I have said all along that I believed he was going to make it. He looked very good and very normal, which in this context is excellent, during the practices. Running strong, making grab after grab, alert and heady. Pitta made it out without a hitch and sounded confident in his presser. This was a change, because he previously spoke very cautiously about his chances when rehabbing. It's not over, but Pitta's stealthy return is a serious difference-maker.
3. WR Breshad Perriman
If Ravens fan can remove the emotional blockage from Perriman's impression of In-and-Out Burger last season, they will recall that he was lighting up minicamp and OTAs, showing a Noah's Ark-load of promise. It appears that he is back to this M.O. again. Flashing superior speed, catching lots, and cutting with no visible hesitation, Perriman has a true chance to go from the proverbial outhouse to the fanboy penthouse if he makes it to and through the season. There is a reason he was drafted in the first round.
2. WR Mike Wallace
The commitment that I've observed in Wallace, along with the sheer excellence, pit him highly on my list. The man is a touchdown machine, has a chip, and has come out firing. He took a playmaker's number and is making plays. What better person to mentor a young deep threat in Perriman, what better motivation to be pushed by essentially a rookie, that everyone says will be THE deep threat? Bonus: He must have it out for Pittsburgh. I mean, he just has to.
1. S Eric Weddle
Coach John Harbaugh said, "He just fits in here. He is a Raven." Sure, Weddle made plays, changed QB decisions, and appears to have picked things up quickly. What put him atop this list for me was the way I saw him embracing teammates, cheering them on, congratulating them. Not only in the positive, but in the accountability category too--fellow S Lardarius Webb said "He speaks up." Weddle is clearly upgrading the culture. Show me a Ravens fan who can patiently wait to see him in action, and I'll show you an untrue Ravens fan. File under: "As advertised."