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Ravens News 5/9: First Impressions and more

NFL: Baltimore Ravens Minicamp Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Practice Report: First Impressions From Rookie Minicamp - Clifton Brown

Kyle Hamilton displayed the superb range at safety that scouts rave about. He covered ground quickly with long strides, and he took direct angles toward the football. He looked every bit of 6-foot-4, but faster than the 4.56 he ran at his Pro Day.

Defensive tackle Travis Jones’ quick first step was obvious during pass-rush drills. If that quickness translates once players get into pads, Jones will have a chance to give Baltimore more inside pass-rushing presence.

Tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely had some nice catches, but they both had drops. Kolar punished himself at one point by doing pushups. They will both want to show more consistency catching the football.

Devon Williams (6-foot-5), Shemar Bridges (6-foot-4) and Makai Polk (6-foot-3) had strong days catching the football. All are undrafted wide receivers looking for their opportunity, and this was a good way to start.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh says ‘well-schooled’ Tyler Linderbaum has mental edge over most rookies - Michael Baca

“Once the older guys get in here I’m going to soak in as much as I can from them,” Linderbaum said. “Especially just understanding the offense, understanding their communication. We’re with a bunch of rookies right now, so, who knows, I could be running everything wrong right now compared to what the older guys do.

“I think with just the center position comes leadership. You’re the guy who has to put people in the right positions and make the right calls. I’ve been playing center for awhile now and I think it just comes natural to me.”

“At the end of the day, football is football,” Linderbaum said of adjusting to the pro game and snapping in the shotgun. “We’re running similar stuff, there’s just a lot different verbiage. That’s something we’re trying to get done right now — just understanding the verbiage, communication. I thought it’s been good. But also, we’re only running 10 percent of the plays that we run during the season, so there’s a lot more that I need to learn. But I think it’s a good start so far.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh plans on safety Chuck Clark being with team: ‘I love the way he plays’ - Ryan McFadden

After the Ravens signed free-agent safety Marcus Williams and then picked Notre Dame star Kyle Hamilton in the first round of the NFL draft, there was uncertainty about how the team would utilize veteran Chuck Clark.

But during rookie minicamp Saturday, coach John Harbaugh said Clark is a big part of the team and expressed hope that the 2017 sixth-round draft pick remains in Baltimore.

“I don’t worry about the other stuff,” Harbaugh said. “I love Chuck Clark, and I love the way he plays. I’m very happy that he’s a Raven.”

Harbaugh’s comments come a day after Clark posted a cryptic message on Twitter, saying “This can go one or two ways. It can go Up, it can go Down. Either way I’m Prepared !!”

Harbaugh called Clark “one of the best safeties in football” and believes the team is deep at that position group.

“We were deep at safety before, then you add a guy like Kyle and the depth just explodes in your face,” he said. “Marcus, obviously, was a high-priced free agent that we were pleased to get. After that, Tony Jefferson can play football. Geno Stone is a really good young safety. Brandon Stephens, who started last year at safety for us, also got corner flexibility. With all those safeties, [Stephens is] probably going to be moving to the corner a little bit. I’m really happy about that group.”

Ten bold NFL predictions for 2022 season: Russell Wilson wins MVP, Aaron Rodgers calls it a career and more - Jason La Canfora

David Ojabo will have a monster season … in 2023

I love the Ravens’ selection of the Michigan pass rusher in Round 2 as much as any pick in this draft. He is a top 10 talent and he has natural pass rush instincts and moves and a ceiling as high as any pass rusher in this draft, including the top two picks. He will be an instant fit in Baltimore’s evolving scheme under new coordinator Mike Macdonald. He is going to be the first impact pass rusher the Ravens have developed and cultivated since Terrell Suggs. But it ain’t gonna be this year. At least I figure it won’t be. After his horrible pre-draft injury, and given the Ravens’ massive injury woes in recent years and multiple issues with players returning from surgery, a redshirt year and a monster season a year from now makes sense to me.

Lamar Jackson will be on a franchise tag by this time next year

An extension has proven to be elusive and the QB market is going to keep changing dramatically once Wilson gets his new deal (and probably Kyler Murray, too). Jackson will be okay with playing things out unless the Ravens drastically alter the scope of what they are willing to do. Neither side will press the issue in the short term. A tag will seem inevitable. And once it comes it will only drive the price up more and will only further complicate the ability to get something done long-term unless someone blinks.

Adding Jarvis Landry Feels Like a Right-Player, Right-Price Move - Ryan Mink

Eric DeCosta expressed confidence in the team’s young wide receivers during his interview on “The Lounge” podcast. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t also want to supplement with a veteran. Marquise Brown had 146 targets last season, so there’s plenty to go around and still let the young’ins grow.

While the Ravens value their young wideouts, it’s a lot to put on their shoulders (including Rashod Bateman) to make up for the loss of Brown. Landry could be a better version of Sammy Watkins – a guy who can move the chains, make clutch plays and block on the outside.

The Ravens were annoyed the Steelers drafted wide receiver Calvin Austin III one spot ahead of them in the fourth round, but something tells me the resulting Likely pick will work out. Likely reminds me a little of Evan Engram. Don’t trust that 4.8 40-yard dash time.