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Where Does Aaron Mellette Fit Into Wide Receiver Competition?

Posted Jun 27, 2013

The rookie used the offseason to soak up the playbook. When training camp hits he wants to 'dominate.'

Aaron Mellette has mostly gone under the radar in the much-discussed wide receiver position battle. 

Players like Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams, David Reed and Tommy Streeter have attracted most of the attention during the offseason. 

But where does the rookie out of Elon see himself fitting in when he returns for training camp next month? 

“I know when training camp comes it’s going to be another mindset [from learning in the offseason], where I’m going to be out there looking to dominate every day and be more confident in what I’m doing,” Mellette said at the conclusion of rookie football school.

Mellette did dominate the small school level at Elon, a Football Championship Subdivision school. He reeled in 97 catches for 1,398 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns last year, and he had 30 receptions over the last two seasons. Mellette ranked second in the country with an average of 127 receiving yards per game. 

Now it’s a big leap to the professional game, but the 6-foot-2 receiver has the size and potential to make that jump. And a strong start in training camp will go a long way to giving Mellette the opportunity to prove he deserves a chance to get on the field. 

He will be part of competition at wide receiver along with the other young, unproven receivers who are also competing to earn playing time behind Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones

“All of those guys are battling for that second, third and fourth spot, and it’s all real close,” Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler said. 

Mellette’s focus since getting drafted in the seventh round has been to learn as much as possible from players like Smith and Jones. He’s been a sponge around his teammates, trying to pick up the playbook, the offense and make the overall adjustment to life in the NFL. 

Now he’s intent on standing out from the pack. 

The Ravens have had young receivers stand out and earn roster spots with impressive training camp performances each of the last two years. Thompson and Williams were both undrafted players who earned their way onto the team with strong camps, and Mellette hopes to put forth a similar showing. 

Smith is the only player entrenched in the starting lineup, but a strong performance from any of the others during training camp and the preseason could move them up the depth chart. Mellette was working behind most of the other young receivers in the rotation during offseason practices, but he was still working to master the playbook.

“It’s going to be a transition, like anything,” Mellette said. “You’re going to be lined up against veteran DBs who know what you’re doing before you even do it, but you just got to do what you’ve been practicing. Hopefully I’ll adjust fast and quickly, and be able to transition and show bright spots."

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