Ravens wide receiver Jordan Lasley turned heads before coming to the NFL being seen as one of the more explosive players coming into the draft. The 21-year old broke into conversations as a potential second or third round pick. In his final season with the Bruins, Lasley played in nine games, catching 69 passes for 1,264 yards and nine touchdowns.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Lasley to former Ravens receiver Torrey Smith. One aspect of their game that they both share is their speed and “home run potential”, according to Zierlein.
“Lasley has good size, great athleticism and is tremendously explosive,” wrote Zierlein. “He also has one of the worst drop rates that you will find for a receiver over the last two years. He has home-run potential on the field and suspension issues off of it. It’s this dichotomy that makes Lasley a difficult projection.
“Teams may be willing to live with some of the drops as long as he’s making big plays, but he can’t make big plays unless he is much more disciplined and focused in the pros than he was in college. Lasley has early starter potential, but there are enough red flags in play that he could see his draft stock tumble.”
Although Lasley had good numbers on the stat sheet, teams passed over him - falling to the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Though the chips didn’t fall in his favor, he looks to prove why he should’ve been drafted higher as he embarks on his first season as a pro.
Kyle J. Andrews: How is coming all of the way from the West Coast to Baltimore - the culture shock - how big is that? You’ve always played football in Los Angeles and now you’re coming all of the way to Baltimore. How much different is Baltimore?
Jordan Lasley: It’s been very different - really specifically weather-wise. In Cali, it’ll be hot, but we get that nice breeze. That was my biggest acclimation - just getting used to the weather, but other than that, football is football. No matter where you go, you’re going to play the same football no matter where you’re at. So, it hasn’t been that much transition, just new scenery.
KJA: You’ve had to learn a new system with playing in the NFL - playing with the Ravens. How much different is the NFL system in comparison to playing in college? A bunch of different times, the route running is a little bit different - it’s expanded. How much have you improved on all of those aspects of your game?
JL: I’ve always prided myself on being a full route tree route runner, no matter what offense I’m in. Luckily for me, [I think] I had two or three offensive coordinators when I was in college. They really had three different types of offenses for me to play in and I was able to adapt my talents into whatever offense my offensive coordinator had.
Our system that we have here [in Baltimore] luckily is the same thing that I had last year at UCLA with coach Jedd Fisch as our offensive coordinator and Marty teaches the same kind of teachings with his offense. Making that transition into the Baltimore offense really wasn’t that hard for me. It’s just like you said - getting used to playing in the NFL, getting used to guys moving faster and just no wasted movements out there. But, it’s pretty much the same thing.
KJA: Also, you were one of the two rookie receivers to make the team (along with Janarion Grant). As a rookie, you’ve got a lot of other guys that are already established. How much have you learned from Chris Moore, Michael Crabtree and John Brown as well?
JL: All three of those guys are totally different receivers. Willie went undrafted. So, Willie is a good guy to learn from as far as working hard and being on it every day. Chris stretches the field. He can run any route on the route tree and he’s really quick - really twitchy.
Guys like Smoke [Brown] - Smoke is just fast. You really can’t teach speed like that. He works really hard. He’s probably our hardest working wide receiver. He’s out their early to get early catches, he stays late after practice, he gets extra catches after practice.
And Michael Crabtree is Michael Crabtree. Whatever he brings to the game is what he brings to the game, but he brings a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience - Crab has seen a whole lot of plays, a whole lot of defenses and he’s been proven over and over again.
I’m just glad I made the team. I’m glad that I get to be around the guys that are in our room. And I’m just ready to learn and ready to make plays for our team.
KJA: What do you feel personally that you have to offer to the team skill-wise?
JL: I feel like I can do pretty much anything as a receiver. I can play slot, I can play outside, I’ve got enough speed to run by somebody, I’m big enough to go up against linebackers and safeties. I bring a real grit. I love to play and I’m competitive as hell and I think that’s what drives me.
I still feel like I need to prove myself. I’m still not happy about the draft. I’m still pissed off about that. I still feel like I shouldn’t have been drafted that low. But, it is what it is and God has a plan for me and whatever happens, happens now and I’m going to make the plays for my team when the ball comes my way.