The Baltimore Ravens notched their fifth straight win in Week 16 with a 33-19 blowout of the San Francisco 49ers on the road in a primetime matchup between the top two teams in the NFL. They received significant contributions from their first-round pick while the other members of his draft class were solid on defense and special teams.
The Ravens had just three of their six 2023 draft selections and none of their undrafted first-year pros dressed. Their first overall selection was one of the stars of the show and a human highlight reel.
The only healthy first-year pro not in uniform was sixth-rounder Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, who was inactive after dressing as a backup earlier this season. 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 practiced for the third week in a row but wasn’t activated from injured reserve. With his 21-day window officially closed, he will likely revert to season-ending injured reserve.
How did the rookies who took the field fare in their latest taste of NFL action?
WR Zay Flowers
The first-round rookie out of Boston College went from having a silent night last Sunday to shining bright on a Christmas edition of Monday Night Football with one of his best games of the season. Flowers bounced back from having one catch for seven yards on two targets in Week 15 to leading the Ravens with nine receptions on 13 targets for 72 receiving yards and recorded his fourth receiving touchdown, improving his total from scrimmage to five.
As nice as it was to see him reach the end zone for the fourth time in the Ravens’ last four games, Flowers did his best work and was the most impressive making plays after the catch and moving the chains. He picked a first down on five of his catches and made one or more defenders miss in space every time he touched the ball with the top highlight being a 10-yard catch and run in the second quarter where he broke the ankles of a pair of would-be tacklers including All-Pro inside linebacker Fred Warner on his way to picking up a first down.
EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-round rookie out of Ole Miss continues to play rotational defensive snaps on early downs and contribute on special teams. He wasn’t credited with a tackle was part of the collective effort that helped dig the 49ers into a hole and prevented them from being able to claw their way out.
ILB Trenton Simpson
The third-round rookie out of Clemson continued to play exclusively on special teams in his third game back from missing the previous two ahead of their bye with a concussion. He recorded his fifth tackle of the season on punter Jordan Stout’s third and final boot of the game in the fourth quarter. It marked his fourth solo of the year and limited fellow rookie Ronnie Bell who was serving as the 49ers’ backup punt returner to just 11 yards on the return. Had San Francisco not been able to make it a two-score game early in the fourth quarter, Simpson would’ve likely seen his first defensive snaps since Week 9.