The Baltimore Ravens went overseas in Week 6 and will return home victorious after beating the Tennessee Titans 23-16 on Sunday. They received some solid contributions from their 2023 rookie draft class, especially their top pick and their top undrafted free agent signing.
In a game where the Ravens had just three of their six 2023 draft selections and one undrafted first-year pro dressed, their first overall selection was heavily involved for the sixth week in a row and a promising unheralded talent saw the field for the first time since the preseason.
The only healthy first-year pro not in uniform was sixth-rounder Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, who was inactive after dressing as a backup in previous weeks. Seventh-round offensive guard Andrew Vorhees, who is likely to miss his entire rookie year, remains on the Non-Football Injury list. Undrafted rookie outside linebacker Malik Hamm remains on injured reserve, although he is eligible to return at any time once he resumes practicing, opening his 21-day window to be activated.
How did the rookies who took the field fare in their latest taste of NFL regular season action?
WR Zay Flowers
The first-round rookie out of Boston College was one of several Ravens pass catchers that bounced back from a rough outing in last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that was plagued by dreadful drops. Against the Titans, he hauled in six of his eight targets—both of which were team-highs—and finished with the second-most receiving yards with 50 and carried the ball once for one yard.
Flowers’ best catch of the game resulted in not only the Ravens only touchdown of the game but it also marked his first of the regular season. It came late in the second quarter on second-and-long from the Tennessee 10-yard line where he found himself being covered 1-on-1 by Titans’ outside linebacker Harold Landry. He easily gained separation and hooked up with quarterback Lamar Jackson for a 10-yard strike.
“Me and Lamar have been connecting the whole year on scramble drills,” Flowers said. “I just cut back and he just gave it to me and I ran in.”
He got into the end zone again on the next play when the Ravens opted to go for a two-point conversion but an offensive pass interference penalty called on three-time Pro Bowl veteran wideout Odell Beckham Jr. negated the successful attempt.
LB Trenton Simpson
The third-round rookie out of Clemson played exclusively on special teams for the second week in a row and for the fifth time this season on Sunday. While he has still yet to record his first career tackle, he was on the blocking unit that helped spring two-time Pro Bowl returner Devin Duvernay for a 70-yard punt return in the second quarter.
EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-round rookie out of Ole Miss continues to see consistent playing time on defense and special teams. He wasn’t among the outside linebackers that made an impact as a pass rusher and didn’t register a single tackle for the second week in a row. Robinson did give up the edge that allowed Derrick Henry to get a full head of steam into the second and third level on his way into the end zone on the Titans only touchdown of the game.
RB Keaton Mitchell
The undrafted rookie out of East Carolina University made his highly-anticipated NFL regular season debut on Sunday but he played exclusively on special teams covering kicks and punts. He flew down the field and got in the face of Titans punt returner Kyle Phillips, who muffed a punt just before halftime to set up a Justin Tucker field goal that increased their lead to 18-3 at the end of the second quarter.
Had the Ravens been able to hold their double-digit advantage on the scoreboard, Mitchell might have seen some action on offense but because the game was too close for comfort, they relied more heavily on veterans Justice Hill and Gus Edwards.