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First Impressions From Rookie Minicamp

Posted May 5, 2013

The 2013 class of rookies got their first taste of the NFL with minicamp this weekend.

The first weekend of professional football is in the books for the 2013 rookie class.

The Ravens wrapped up their rookie minicamp Sunday, ending a three-day run of practice, meetings and workouts.

"We were pleased with it," Head Coach John Harbaugh said after practice. "Guys worked hard, it was a good group, and we had a good weekend."

Sunday's practice was open to the media, giving reporters their first opportunity to see the rookie class in action.

There's a limited amount of information that can be gleaned when watching an hour of practice where players are in helmets and shorts, but here are some initial impressions from the weeknd:

  • Safety Matt Elam is just as advertised. He moves all over the field and the Ravens coaches varied his assignments. On some plays he was up at the line of scrimmage to defend the run, and other times he was playing on the back end defending the deep middle of the field. He has good instincts, and shows a quick first step while breaking on a ball in coverage or coming up to stuff the run.

  • Arthur Brown looks the part of a starting middle linebacker. The second-round pick out of Kansas State was knocked by some draft analysts for his size because he's only six feet tall. While he doesn't tower over his teammates, Brown is well built at 242 pounds. He has Dannell Ellerbe's old No. 59, and he looks just as big as him or Ray Lewis in the middle of the defense.

  • Third-round pick Brandon Williams is a block eater on the line. The nose tackle was taking up two blockers on most plays during 11-on-11 drills and clogging up the middle of the defense. The Division II lineman out of Missouri Southern State held his own, and did not look outmatched going up against rookies from some much bigger programs.

  • Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk was used all over the field, just like in college. The Ravens lined him up as a traditional blocking fullback in some sets, but then would also split him out wide to make him a target in the passing game.

  • Wide receiver Aaron Mellette, the seventh-round pick from Elon, showed off good hands during individual drills. He has good size and showed polish in his routes. Mellette watched most of the second half of practice standing on the sidelines after appearing to tweak his leg and quickly getting looked at by a trainer.

  • As expected, undrafted free agent tight end Murphy Holloway is a raw prospect. The college basketball player from Ole Miss hasn't played football since his sophomore year of high school, and this weekend he had to relearn the basics like where to line up and the terminology of the playbook. While he still has plenty to learn, Holloway did show off some good athleticism in his route running and ability to go up and pluck balls out of the air. He also has decent hands.

  • Another undrafted free agent tight end, Matt Furstenberg showed that he can make some plays in the passing game. He had a nice touchdown catch over the middle of the field with Elam in coverage.

  • Offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, the sixth-round pick out of Colorado State-Pueblo, has a mean streak. He plays with some nastiness, which he showed off by finishing off his blocks and hitting the linebackers in the second level on running plays. He worked out at both center and guard.

  • There's a big difference watching undrafted rookie quarterbacks compared to Joe Flacco. Passes clearly didn't have the same zip, and there were a number of balls thrown off the mark that ended up hitting the ground.

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