Baltimore Ravens OTAs observations: Lamar Jackson’s passes, an undrafted standout and more - Aaron Kasinitz
Quarterback Lamar Jackson threw passes with impressive velocity throughout Thursday’s practice, but his accuracy fluctuated. In one sequence, Jackson fired a gorgeous deep ball down the left sideline to wide receiver Jaleel Scott and then sent his next pass wobbling way wide of Seth Roberts on a basic out route. Such is life for a 22-year-old quarterback still in the process of tweaking his mechanics. He did finish on a strong note, whipping a 3-yard touchdown pass to running back Gus Edwards in a crunch-time drill.
Antoine Wesley, a 6-foot-4 undrafted receiver out of Texas Tech, stood out from the pack of young wideouts Thursday. He made a one-handed catch in individual drills and burned past the second-team secondary at one point to haul in a long touchdown pass from Robert Griffin III.
“I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”
“I see my hip is firing. Coach always wants me to, ‘Fire my hip! Fire my hip!’” Jackson said. “Keeping a wide base, that’s been showing up a lot on film. But I’ve got to get that spiral tighter.”
“It’s my hand placement,” Jackson said. “I feel like my hand will be a little too high on the football sometimes. That will make the ball go out of whack.”
“Man, he can throw it,” Ingram said of Jackson. “I’ve seen him make a lot of tight throws in tight windows. I’ve seen him make some deep throws. I’ve seen him go through his progressions, make check-downs, see guys in second windows in zones. He’s making his reads, he’s getting better.
Since OTAs are voluntary, veterans frequently opt against the workouts, and several Ravens veterans were not present. That group included guard Marshal Yanda, cornerback Jimmy Smith, safety Early Thomas, linebacker Matthew Judon and defensive linemen Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams. Safety Tony Jefferson, who had offseason ankle surgery, was on the field in street clothes but did not participate.
Two players who were not present and are still competing for roster spots were running back Kenneth Dixon and cornerback-punt returner Cyrus Jones.
Expect to see a lot more of Chris Board in Year 2, as the former undrafted rookie (North Dakota State) spent time rolling in with Kenny Young next to Patrick Onwuasor. With C.J. Mosley’s departure, the Ravens are looking for a run-stuffing inside linebacker.
Second-year defensive end Zach Sieler stood out on several occasions, including keeping Jackson contained on a rollout and batting down another pass. The 6-foot-6 seventh-round pick (Ozzie Newsome’s final pick) could end up replacing departed Brent Urban.
New veteran outside linebacker Shane Ray passes the eye test. He’s huge and seemingly in great shape. Veteran Pernell McPhee also looks to be in good shape. Both were praised by Head Coach John Harbaugh.
“Michael’s a hard worker, a guy that can go up and get the rock, and a great blocker,” Jefferson said. “Also, he’s a good dude. I’m excited about him. I think he’s intriguing. I think he fits what our offense is trying to do.
“How teams played us last year stacking the box, it will give us the opportunity to have a big receiver outside who has one-on-one matchups to go up and get the ball for Lamar. He can go up and get it with his catch radius.”
“Each team only carries about six guys (wide receivers), depending on what the team chooses,” Floyd said. “I know what I can bring to the game. It’s not my first time going through this. I think I can help the team, and I think I can help the young guys. You want to contribute to a winning team however you can. I’m going to get the playbook down, and let the cards fall where they fall.”
Ravens’ Miles Boykin brings sure hands after years of breaking fingers - Jamison Hensley
“Ever since my fingers healed up, I’ve been pretty steady with catching the ball,” Boykin said.
Boykin was considered one of the most sure-handed receivers in this year’s draft class. He dropped three of his 62 catchable targets last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Alexander feels the career season was a product of Boykin developing physically. Boykin believes it’s the result of increasing knowledge, learning from Alexander about the coverages and leverages that defenses are trying to use.
”Simple things like that go a mile and just slow everything down for you,” Boykin said.