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Ravens News 5/6: Rookie camp observations and more

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NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Minicamp News & Notes: John Harbaugh Likes Focus of This Year’s Rookies - Clifton Brown

Third-round draft pick Miles Boykin showed excellent hands, and he looked at least as big as his measurements – 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. Having a receiver that size, with the body to take punishment and make contested catches, could be an important asset for quarterback Lamar Jackson.

First-round draft choice wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was forced to watch practice from the sideline, still recovering from Lisfranc foot surgery in January. However, Brown observed intently and has plunged headfirst into learning the offense. “Studying the playbook and getting those mental reps is key,” Brown said. “It’s tough (not practicing), but at the same time I have fun taking those mental reps, because I kind of have an advantage getting back and being able to watch.”

Hopefully Brown will be fully recovered in time for the start of training camp.

Ravens Hope Another Rookie Class Grows Up Fast - John Eisenberg

Several decades ago, it was assumed most first-year NFL players needed time to get acclimated and become truly productive. There were always exceptions, but teams knew better than to expect much from most rookies.

But the league is a much younger place now. Because of the salary cap, teams frequently have to go with inexpensive, young talent over veterans who earn more. Also, constantly rising salaries encourage college players to turn pro sooner. The average age of an NFL player is always dropping.

In that environment, many teams have no choice but to count on first-year players to fill certain roles.

I’d argue that one reason the Ravens slipped a bit after winning Super Bowl 47 is they didn’t always get as much from their rookies as they did in 2018.

Rookie contributions are crucial in the age of the salary cap.

5 DAY 3 PICKS WHO COULD WIN ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Trevor Sikkema

JUSTICE HILL, RB, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Though they have Mark Ingram in front of him on the depth chart, I think it’s only a matter of time before Justice Hill finds himself a prominent role in the Ravens running back rotation. I see Hill coning along in that same type of mold Philip Lindsay did for the Broncos last year. He’s an undersized guy who is more of a receiving difference maker than a true running back, but expect that kind of role the be utilized heavily in Baltimore’s offense.

Hill will compete against Kenneth Dixon to serve as the Week 1 change-of-pace back.

NFL Power Rankings Poll: Patriots No. 1, Browns No. 11 After Draft and Free Agency - MMQB

18. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Previous rank: 11

Points in poll: 160

Highest-place vote: 15 (2)

Lowest-place vote: 22 (1)

Season result: 10-6, lost wild-card

The Ravens added speed on offense, but they lost enough talent on defense to suffer the biggest drop of any team in the poll.

The personnel losses at linebacker will be at least partially offset by the addition of Earl Thomas. His ability to defend the middle of the field will allow coordinator Martindale to attack with Tony Jefferson and the speedy replacement linebackers.