To dismiss Jaleel Scott’s possible role in the Ravens’ offense this season would be a mistake.
Scott doesn’t feel like a forgotten man, and nor is he performing like one. He was one of the Ravens’ most impressive wide receivers during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, making a statement that he plans to bounce back from a rookie season that didn’t go as planned.
A hamstring injury suffered during training camp last year meant Scott spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve. Scott has returned stronger and more confident, eager to become the playmaker the Ravens envisioned when they drafted him in the fourth round.
“I think I had a great practice to end minicamp, and now I’m going to get ready for the start of training camp,” Scott said. “I want to show people I can be a deep threat, that I can make big plays and do things in the red zone, help us score points. That’s my goal.”
Scott’s height at 6-foot-5, coupled with his speed to get downfield has long intrigued the Ravens. They see his potential as a big-bodied red zone threat, as well as his potential to develop into a consistent target for second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The challenge for Scott will be to continue making plays once training camp begins. The wide receiver position will be one of the most competitive during training camp and preseason. The Ravens drafted two rookie wide receivers, Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, and both Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore have established roles with the team.
Beyond those four, roles are very much uncertain. Veterans signed during free agency like Seth Roberts and Michael Floyd will be vying to establish their identity with a new team. Undrafted free agents Sean Modster and Antoine Wesley both looked good during mandatory minicamp, while Jordan Lasley, Quincy Adeboyejo, Joe Horn Jr. and Jaylen Smith are also competing for spots.
That’s 13 wide receivers, with the Ravens expected to keep just six wide receivers, seven at most, on the 53-man roster. But Scott isn’t worrying about numbers. He’s simply making plays.
It started during OTAs, when he made two touchdown catches during one practice session that caught the eye of Head Coach John Harbaugh. In Thursday’s final minicamp practice, Scott hauled in a jump ball touchdown, then another tough touchdown catch despite traffic.
“Jaleel has had a really good offseason,” Harbaugh said. “He’s made plays like that pretty much the whole camp. He’s playing really fast and really well, and I think all those receivers are setting themselves up for a competition during training camp. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.”
Scott’s size is something you can’t teach, and he’s working to become more physical getting off the line of scrimmage. He was a late bloomer in college, playing three years at Ellsworth Community College before posting 76 catches for 1,079 yards and nine touchdowns during his final season at New Mexico State. The Ravens believe he has a high ceiling, that his best football is yet to come.
Here are players who flashed during the three days of practices open to the media.
During the five weeks prior to training camp, Scott plans to work with a personal trainer in Houston. He wants to put on three-to-five pounds of muscle before camp.
“We’re going to work on explosive moves, speed, get my body weight back up,” Scott said. “I feel like I can play a lot more physical. Strength is big. I’m going to be in the weight room.”
The Ravens are looking for as many wide receivers as possible to build chemistry with Jackson. Scott is clearly a candidate. He doesn’t view his rookie season as a wasted year, but as a learning experience.
“I really learned how to be a professional last year from guys like Eric Weddle, and RG3 (Robert Griffin III),” Scott said. “How they study film and approach practice. It’s a long season and they helped me a lot. The game seems slower now.
“I love our offense. It’s easy to understand, and there’s a lot of things you can do with it, putting a lot of guys in different areas to attack the defense’s weaknesses. I’m ready to make plays. So far, so good, but I can’t wait for training camp to start.”