Courtney Upshaw Feels He Can Make Immediate Impact


When Ravens top draft pick Courtney Upshaw arrived for his first practice, there were already expectations that he would become a first-year starter.

So after rookie camp and three weeks of offseason team activities (OTAs), does Upshaw feel he'll be ready to fill-in for injured Terrell Suggs?

"I feel like I can make an immediate impact," Upshaw said Wednesday. "It's just on me to come in and get in that playbook and learn it."

Learning the plays seems to have been the biggest hurdle for the talented Alabama prospect, as he mentioned it several times.

There's crossover from the national championship defense from Alabama, and coordinator Dean Pees has helped Upshaw by using some of his old language to relate to the new terminology. But Xs and Os are still what Upshaw's spending the most time on.

"Courtney, like all the rookies, is making the transition, and it's not an easy transition," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"The game is faster. Even at [the SEC] level, the [NFL] game is played faster and is more complex scheme-wise. But, he's doing real well. He's a good player, and he's going to play well this year."

Upshaw said he's been learning all aspects of becoming a pro, including eating the right things and staying in shape.

Upshaw said he wanted to shed five to 10 pounds when he first arrived. That would presumably help him become quicker in pass coverage, which is an adjustment for him from college. Nearly a month later, Upshaw said he has lost six or seven pounds.

"They keep me in there, I've got to weigh in, report my weight, so it's been coming along," he said.

Asked for any specific moments that stick out to him from practices so far, Upshaw said there are many. Is he on the winning side in those moments?

"Winning some, losing some; just out here trying to get better each and every day," he said with a smile. "You're going to lose some. You've just got to go back the next play and try to get that win."

Upshaw will get more lessons from the veterans next week. He is expected to be joined by Ray Lewis, along with veterans Jameel McClain and Brendon Ayanbadejo, who have been in and out of the voluntary OTAs.

"Just the fact that I get to play with Ray Lewis and actually get to see him in action and be on the same field with him [is exciting]," Upshaw said.

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