10 Practice Observations From Ravens’ Wednesday OTAs - Clifton Brown
Both Tyler Huntley and Trace McSorley threw the ball crisply, and some of Huntley’s deep passes were particularly impressive. Their battle to be the backup quarterback behind Jackson should be fun to watch.
Jackson also had a strong throwing day, although he was intercepted in the end zone by Jordan Richards during one goal-line drill. It was also impressive to see Jackson running all the way to the end zone on scrambles, then jogging back to the huddle and running the next play without ever looking winded. Jackson’s stamina is one of his least talked-about strengths, but he rarely seems tired during practices or games.
Devin Duvernay continues to look like a candidate to make a significant leap from Year 1 to Year 2. The Ravens have plenty of wide receivers vying for larger roles, but Duvernay is running crisp routes and catching virtually everything thrown his way.
Tylan Wallace continues to show impressive hands. He made a difficult grab look easy, plucking a slant pass thrown slightly behind him by McSorley without breaking stride. Wallace is making an early case to be a rookie who can earn playing time.
Sammy Watkins Back at Voluntary Practice for Ravens, Skirmish Erupts - Todd Karpovich
Watkins, who missed last week’s sessions, looked smooth with his route running but had a couple of dropped passes.
In addition to Watkins, offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler and tight end Mark Andrews were back on the field after missing last week’s practice.
Wide receiver Rashod Bateman, a first-round pick in this year’s draft, was also back after being held out of practice last week as a precaution against an injury.
Ravens offensive lineman Patrick Mekari got into a scuffle with defensive tackle Justin Madubuike midway through the practice. Mekari appeared to have pushed Madubuike, who responded by ripping off his helmet.
Ranking all 32 NFL receiving corps ahead of the 2021 season - Steve Palazzolo
22. BALTIMORE RAVENS
After Baltimore wide receivers posted the fourth-worst receiving grade in the league last year at 68.5, the Ravens have added Sammy Watkins in free agency and Rashod Bateman in the first round. Watkins once looked like one of the next great receivers in the league, but his 89.8 overall grade in his second season is the best of his career and he’s coming off a career-low 64.5 grade. He still shows flashes of brilliance, but Watkins was clearly a step slower while battling injuries last season.
Bateman adds a potential No. 1 threat as his slick releases and a 55% contested catch percentage landed him at No. 17 on the PFF draft board. His presence takes pressure off former first-rounder Marquise Brown, who can play to his strengths as a downfield threat. Brown has 675 yards on deep (20-plus yard) passes in his two years in the league.
WR Miles Boykin has disappointed with receiving grades in the high-50s in each of his two seasons, so look for rookie fourth-rounder Tylan Wallace to compete for snaps, especially as another vertical threat. Devin Duvernay, a 2020 third-rounder, had just 20 catches as a rookie, but he’ll have a role in the slot and in the underneath game.
At tight end, Mark Andrews is one of the league’s best, and his 2.22 yards per route rank fourth among tight ends over the last two seasons. TE Nick Boyle is one of the best run-blockers at the position, but there was a clear dropoff with last year’s departure of Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Ravens have the pieces to improve as a receiving unit, but much of their hope lies in Watkins’ health and how quickly Bateman adjusts to the NFL.
13. BALTIMORE RAVENS
The Ravens would rank much higher here if Lamar Jackson were factored into the rankings. His unique ability as a runner and the respect that defenses must give it is what drives this rushing attack, but Baltimore will have several quality running backs in the backfield heading into next season, as well.
J.K. Dobbins is coming off a rookie season in which he earned a rushing grade of 82.0 and averaged six yards per carry during the regular season. And Gus Edwards has been one of the highest-graded running backs in the league over the past three seasons. They, along with Jackson, should once again lead one of the NFL’s most efficient rushing attacks in 2021.
NFL 2021 fearless forecasts: From MVP to sack leader to first QB benched, predictions in 19 categories - Jason La Canfora
AFC Rushing Leader: J.K. Dobbins
Check out any of his peripherals from his rookie year. A rookie year in which Mark Ingram was still supposed to be the man. Dobbins has explosion and is in a perfect scheme in the pistol. His elusiveness and ability to adapt to a moving and shifting meshpoint makes him a true game-changer in an offense that is zigging when everyone else zags. Baltimore added some new coaches and wrinkles but will still run more than any team in the NFL – by quite a margin – and they won’t want Lamar Jackson running 16-20 times a game once he is making $40M a year.