The Baltimore Ravens got off to a great start to 2018 on Sunday, steamrolling the Buffalo Bills 47-3. There were new faces all over the field for Baltimore, including the 2018 rookie class that collectively saw a decent amount of action, especially thanks to the lopsided score early on.
So how did they perform? Let’s take a look:
Baltimore made four selections in the first three rounds of the draft in April, two of which saw significant snaps on Sunday. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, nobody probably would’ve guessed those two players to be Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews.
Jackson relieved Joe Flacco after he had already put the game in hand, but Lamar was also mixed in as a weapon early on. Andrews saw his time partially due to Hayden Hurst’s injury leaving them somewhat thin at the position. Both players impressed in different ways.
Andrews helped move the chains on his way to three catches for 39 yards on four targets and looked comfortable on the field, which was a bit of a concern throughout the preseason. The gadget plays with Jackson weren’t especially effective but did keep the defense on their heels. Beyond that he looked good after taking over for Flacco, tossing a long completion and finishing second on the team in rushing with 39 yards.
The Defensive Duo
Kenny Young and Anthony Averett are two more players that made their debut on Sunday afternoon. Young was active, chipping in four stops and a sack, while Averett had two tackles of his own.
In what was an impressive team performance for the defense, it was great to see some of the more unheralded young talent step up. This is especially true for this crop of rookies led by Young and Averett who have the potential to be starters at some point.
The Wild Card
Rotational receiver was one of the more contested battles of the summer, and it ended up being decided partially by special teams value. Rather than keep a player like Breshad Perriman or have Jaleel Scott active this season, Baltimore opted to go with the undrafted Grant thanks to his return ability.
On Sunday we saw why, as he raced through Buffalo’s punt coverage unit on his way to a 51-yard return that set up the offense for a touchdown. Hopefully Grant can produce more explosive plays like that down the line, and avoid mistakes such as his muffed punt.
All in all, this was a solid debut effort for several Ravens rookies. We saw young talent step up in all three phases of the game, which will be necessary throughout the season for a team that fancies itself an AFC contender.
A hallmark of a true heavyweight is a deep roster, and Baltimore sure seems to have one right now. That’ll certainly be tested in the coming weeks, but for now it was nice to see some of the rookies showcase their skills in Week 1.