The Baltimore Ravens stayed on the road in Week 5 and suffered their second loss of the season in an ugly 17-10 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They got a mixed bag of results from their 2023 rookie draft class, especially their top pick.
In a game where the Ravens had just three of their six 2023 draft selections dressed, their first overall selection was heavily involved for the fifth week in a row. While he made some impactful splash plays, he also made mistakes that cost the team as well.
The only healthy first-year pro not in uniform was sixth-rounder Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, who was inactive after dressing as a backup the past three weeks. Seventh-round offensive guard Andrew Vorhees, who is likely to miss his entire rookie year, remains on the Non-Football Injury list. Undrafted rookies Keaton Mitchell and Malik Hamm remain on injured reserve, although they were both eligible to return this week but weren’t activated.
How did the rookies who took the field yesterday fare in their latest taste of NFL regular season action?
WR Zay Flowers
The first-round rookie out of Boston College was not immune to the contagious case of bad drops that plagued the Ravens’ pass-catching corps all game long. Although he still finished as the team’s leader in receiving yards with 73 on five receptions, Flowers was targeted a game-high 11 times. There were several instances where he didn’t come down with passes that Lamar Jackson threw to him accurately. There was another play in which he got wide open deep downfield and he tripped and fell before the pass could reach. It may have been a long touchdown reception if not for at least a huge gain.
While there’s no making up for the crucial plays he let slip away, Flowers did have several nice moments where he displayed his speed and improvisational prowess on scramble drills where Jackson needed someone to get open.
The most awe-inspiring play was a 20-yard catch he made in the third quarter, where he stopped on a dime and sent Steelers’ linebacker Cole Holcomb flying out of bounds.
Flowers would’ve had his first 100-plus yard receiving game and probably his first career regular-season touchdown had he not let those balls hit the ground. Hopefully, this disappointing performance result will serve as a painful learning experience for the first-year wideout — as well as his veteran compatriots.
ILB Trenton Simpson
The third-round rookie out of Clemson went back to playing exclusively on special teams this week. Had the Ravens taken care of business, though, he likely would’ve gotten a few late defensive snaps late, as was the case in Week 4.
While Simpson still has yet to record his first career tackle, he was involved in one of the biggest special teams’ plays of the game. He was part of the host of Ravens that swarmed Steelers’ punt returner Gunner Olszewski, which caused him to fumble the ball. Veteran cornerback Kevon Seymour picked it up and returned it to the Pittsburgh seven-yard line to set up what should’ve been the game-winning score.
KEVON SEYMOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 8, 2023
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EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-round rookie out of Ole Miss continued to see consistent playing time on defense early and often. He struggled with tackling at times in this game and wasn’t even credited with an assisted takedown. He didn’t flash much as a pass rush rusher either, as most of the pressure the Ravens generated came from the veterans.