The competition at wide receiver will take center stage for the Ravens over the next few months.
The position battle has already been underway throughout the offseason, but this week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) was the first chance for the crop of young receivers to all get on the field together for full team practices.
It’s still very early in the competition, but the Ravens like what they see in their young wideouts.
“They look stronger than ever,” Harbaugh said. “They are all in the best shape of their lives, so they are ready to handle the workload in terms of the practice reps.”
The crop of young receivers are all getting opportunities in practice to make their mark. They’re sharing reps and being put to the test during a tough week of OTAs, and quarterback
“I’m excited about who we have,” Flacco said. “I like the idea of having guys that we’ve had, we’ve drafted here or we’ve picked up here, and grooming them and getting those guys to become great wide receivers.”
Each of the receivers showed glimpses of their potential during this week’s practices.
Doss had one of the highlights of Wednesday’s session when he made an outstretched diving catch over the middle of the field. Streeter looked more polished and physical than when he first arrived as a rookie. Thompson and Reed both displayed their speed and shiftiness in their routes.
“Those guys are doing a great job right now, catching the football and being in the right spots,” Flacco said. “They’re doing well. I think we hit the ground running pretty good yesterday. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but our pace is good, everybody is lining up doing all the right things.”
The young receivers are competing for the chance to fill the void left by trading Anquan Boldin to San Francisco. The biggest difference between Boldin and the other receivers, Flacco said, is their mindset, not their talent.
“One of the biggest things about Anquan is that he knew he was the man,” Flacco said. “So, when he went out there, he didn’t care what happened. He was the man. You don’t realize how much that helps out your play and your team’s play. And when these young guys can get to the point where they’re out there and their attitude is that, they have all the ability in the world, and I feel very confident with those guys.”
To get that confidence, Flacco said that they have to get reps in practice and during the preseason. They need their potential to carry over to game action, and they still have plenty of time to get ready for that opportunity.
“They have all reacted very well the first two days of practice, so they are playing like veterans out there right now,” Harbaugh said. “They just have to keep improving every day. [Then we’ll] take them into the preseason and see how they do."