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First Impressions Of Ravens Rookies

Posted May 18, 2014

ILB C.J. Mosley had good communication and coverage, and TE Crockett Gillmore has soft hands.


Ravens Rookie Camp wrapped up Sunday, and there were a lot of strong first impressions.

While the rookies can’t tackle, are playing at half speed and are still spending most of their time just trying to learn the plays and adjustments, there are a few things to be gleaned.

Head Coach John Harbaugh gave a few of his first impressions when reporters asked about specific players Saturday:

On ILB C.J. Mosley:

“Probably the first impression is that he seems very comfortable in a defense. He understands the game very well. So, he’s been really well-coached, obviously, down [at Alabama]. That was a big plus coming out – we knew that. But it’s not like he doesn’t know what gap he is fitting in. It’s not like he doesn’t know what adjustment to make. That’s a long way ahead for a rookie. Plus, he is athletic, and he moves around really well.”

On RB Lorenzo Taliaferro:

“I thought Lorenzo was very smooth running the ball. He did a nice job picking up the aiming points and the reads. He looks like he is a big guy, a downhill guy. I was very impressed with what kind of shape he is in. There is not an ounce of fat on him, and he is 230 pounds. [He is] very good at pass protection. I thought he showed excellent hands and get-away ability on his routes when he went against a linebacker. So [it was] all good that way.”

On QB Keith Wenning:

“Two things: really nice touch and also he has a strong arm. He is a big, strong guy. Those [quarterbacks] are all under siege right now from [Offensive Coordinator Gary] Kubiak and [Quarterbacks] Coach [Rick] Dennison to have their eyes and their feet where they’re supposed to be, and he is no different. But he has talent.”

OTs James Hurst, Parker Graham and Brett Van Sloten

“[We’re] very happy with all those guys; I think they’re all going to make a run. Of course, Hurst at the left tackle draws my attention a lot. He has very good feet. He seems like he’s picking it up quickly. He likes to practice. He has a heavy punch. So, he has a chance.”

And here are some of my notes after watching Saturday’s morning rookie practice:

  • Tight end Crockett Gillmore didn’t drop a ball all day. He has really soft hands and plucks the ball well away from his body. He’s a big target running crossing routes. Gillmore views himself as a blocker first, but he can catch too.

  • Mosley showed his strong pass coverage skills when matched up one-on-one with running backs and wide receivers in drills. He is physical at the point of the break, slowing the receiver down, and has closing speed. He knocked away three passes during the drills.

  • Mosley also got a lot of praise from Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees and Inside Linebackers Coach Don Martindale for his communication before the snap. Martindale barked at one linebacker for not recognizing an offensive movement earlier and praised Mosley for bailing him out.

  • Taliaferro has very good hands. He also didn’t have a ball hit the ground during practice, and got up the field quickly after hauling it in.

  • Wenning throws the deep ball with some really nice touch. He dropped one perfectly over the shoulder of a receiver streaking up the right sideline. He also got disciplined less by the coaches than the other backup quarterbacks.

  • Undrafted cornerback Sammy Seamster cut underneath a wide receiver and had a chance for an interception, but it bounced off his hands and out of bounds.

  • Undrafted cornerback Deji Olatoye showed off his height (6-foot-1) and leaping ability, rising up to swat away a pass.

  • One knock on center/guard John Urschel is that he isn’t that strong. His arms don’t match up to defensive tackle Brandon Williams, but Urschel is a big, cut player.

  • Fourth-round defensive end Brent Urban (ankle) and seventh-round wide receiver Michael Campanaro (hamstring) did not practice.

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