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Ravens rookie TE Isaiah Likely is acclimating well and flashing playmaking potential

The fourth-rounder is making a smooth transition to the pros and heads into the summer break on a high note.

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens wrapped up their mandatory minicamp this past Thursday. One player that ended the last portion of the team’s offseason program with a bang was rookie tight end Isaiah Likely.

The fourth-round pick out of Coastal Carolina made one impressive catch after another, including some one-handed snags or catches just before the ball hit the ground. He received high praise from his coaches, as well as several of the team’s veteran players.

“He was making heck of good catches,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “A rookie, he was making diving catches. Sure hands. [He] caught one in the back from Anthony [Brown] in the back of the endzone. It was a tremendous catch. So, the sky’s the limit. Sky’s the limit.”

Veteran safety Tony Jefferson didn’t have a scheduled podium session with the media on Thursday like Jackson, but that didn’t stop him from taking to social media to express how he feels about Likely and his future.

While Jackson and Jefferson are getting their first glimpses at Likely’s talents, wide receiver James Proche has had his eye on him since he was at Costal Carolina. He isn’t surprised that he is turning heads at the next level. Proche’s younger brother, Jacob, is a cornerback at Coastal Carolina and was teammates with Likely in 2021.

“I’ve been watching Isaiah [Likely] for probably two years now,” Proche said. “I already knew what he was capable of.”

Likely was dynamic and highly productive in college as the focal point of Chanticleers’ passing attack last year. In his breakout senior season alone, he recorded 59 receptions, 912 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns, and averaged 15.5 yards per catch.

He was the second of two tight ends that the Ravens selected in the 2022 NFL draft, with Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar being the first in the same round nearly a dozen picks ahead. The team already has an All-Pro tight end in Mark Andrews who could benefit from a complimentary pass-catching threat at the position. Andrews has liked what he has seen from the pair of rookies.

“Those guys are doing their things. They’re very well-rounded players, already. If I see something, I’ll chip in [and] say what I have to say. But, mostly, just let them be them, and they’ll figure it out from there,” Andrews said. “They’re just going to grow naturally – and they already have.”

Ravens’ Head Coach John Harbaugh believes that the team’s entire crop of rookies is adjusting well in their transition from college to the pros. He says that the next step will be repeating the process when the team reconvenes in a little over a month for training camp and again once the 2022 season begins.

“I feel like those guys, they’re kind of acclimated to this,” Harbaugh said. “Now, the next step will be training camp; that will be a shock for them. Then, they’ll have to get acclimated to that, and then they’ll be preseason games, and that will be a shock for them, and then the regular season.”