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Ravens News 6/20: Offseason Standouts and more

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NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Commanders at Ravens Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

15 Ravens who stood out this offseason, from a veteran receiver to a rookie lineman

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

Running backs Justice Hill and Keaton Mitchell: There’s not a lot that running backs can do to stand out in OTA and minicamp practices besides catch the ball and run fast. Hill and Mitchell, a well-regarded undrafted rookie, did just that. With J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards not participating in team drills, Hill showed his vision and cutback ability a few times on zone runs behind the first-team offensive line. Mitchell, a productive receiver at East Carolina, was comfortable catching passes out of the backfield and didn’t need long to reach top speed. He could push for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Tight end Isaiah Likely: Likely just gets open. More of an underneath option than a downfield threat in minicamp, the second-year tight end saw a lot of targets, especially with Mark Andrews’ workload limited. Likely’s open-field wiggle should endear him to offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who found creative ways to get Georgia’s shifty playmakers in space over the past three years.

Tight ends Charlie Kolar and Travis Vokolek: Kolar, a fourth-round pick last year, and Vokolek, an undrafted rookie, stood out with their size throughout minicamp. Kolar is 6 feet, 6 inches tall and 250 pounds, with some much-needed bulk added since last season, and was a reliable option over the middle. Vokolek, at 6 feet, 6 inches tall and 260 pounds, is a more plodding target, but he made the most of his opportunities. If they can prove themselves as run blockers, they’ll open doors in training camp — more snaps for Kolar, and a possible roster spot for Vokolek.

Ravens stock report: Who rose and who fell during OTAs and mandatory minicamp?

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

Stock Up

Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, G/T: After the final practice of mandatory minicamp, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Aumavae-Laulu is in the mix for the starting left guard spot. That would have been much easier to dismiss as coach speak had the sixth-round rookie out of Oregon not spent the week getting first-team reps. Aumavae-Laulu brings a physical and no-nonsense style that appeals to the Ravens’ coaching staff. He also has solid athleticism for a 6-foot-6, 322-pound guard. Aumavae-Laulu won’t enter training camp as the favorite to start at left guard, but he showed enough promise over the past month to at least be in the conversation.

Ar’Darius Washington, DB: With several of the young defensive backs dealing with injuries, Washington is getting a long look — and the coaching staff has to be reasonably pleased with what they’ve seen. Washington, who had a solid career as a safety at TCU but went undrafted because of concerns about his size (5-foot-8, 176 pounds), seemingly has a knack for being around the football. He profiles as a nickel cornerback, and that’s an area where the Ravens have a need. He’ll have to remain healthy this summer, which has been a struggle, but his roster chances shouldn’t be dismissed.

2023 NFL rookie updates: Notes on 31 first-round draft picks

Jamison Hensley, ESPN

22. Zay Flowers, WR, Baltimore Ravens

How he has fared so far: Flowers has been impressive with his ability to consistently get open. The Ravens have drafted six wide receivers in the first round in their history, but none has shown this type of route-running as a rookie. Teammates and coaches have raved about his sharp change of direction, which has caused plenty of separation this offseason. “Zay is shifty,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “Zay is very fast, explosive. He can stop on the dime.”

Flowers has had the occasional drop, which was a problem in college. But Ravens officials have shown no concern over his hands. Flowers is projected to be among Baltimore’s top three wide receivers alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman.

Best duos on each NFL team heading into 2023: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce lead Chiefs; OL greats pace Eagles

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

Baltimore RavensRoquan Smith (LB) and Patrick Queen (LB)

The Ravens arguably have the best linebacker duo in the league with Smith and Queen, which is impressive considering they only played nine games together.

Smith made an instant impact in the Ravens defense since Baltimore acquired him prior to the trade deadline, finishing with 169 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three interceptions and six passes defended with the Ravens and Chicago Bears this past season. Smith and Patrick Willis are the only players to have 150-plus tackles, four-plus sacks and three-plus interceptions in a season.

Queen is coming off a season which he notched a career high in tackles (117), sacks (five), interceptions (two) and passes defensed (six). He is one of three defenders (Roquan Smith and Bobby Wagner) with at least 300 tackles, three interceptions and 10 sacks since entering the league in 2020.

If Baltimore makes a deep playoff run in 2023, Smith and Queen will be a massive reason why.

NFL Head Coach Power Rankings 2023: Has Andy Reid Usurped Bill Belichick in the Battle for Coaching Supremacy?

Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network

4) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

Regular-season record: 147-95 (.607)

After injuries prevented Harbaugh and the Ravens from earning a playoff berth in 2021, Baltimore overcame more health issues to grab a postseason appearance in 2022. Harbaugh has taken the Ravens to the playoffs in three of the last four years and 10 times overall.

After winning Super Bowl 47 with Joe Flacco under center, Harbaugh led a transition to Lamar Jackson, helping turn the former first-rounder into an MVP. He’s always willing to make aggressive in-game maneuvers because his accomplishments have earned him total support from ownership.