Knowing his future with the Ravens could depend on it, Jaleel Scott made the most of his opportunity Thursday night.
With six catches for 87 yards and a touchdown, Scott used the preseason finale to deliver a strong case to make the 53-man roster.
Scott was the best receiver on the field during Baltimore’s 20-7 victory over the Washington Redskins. During the preseason, Scott led the Ravens with 11 catches for 146 yards, and he has clearly become a much-improved player after spending his 2018 rookie season on injured reserve.
“Pretty much every game has been a good game for him,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s had a great camp. He’s done really well. Ever since last year when he went on IR, he’s done nothing but come in every day and work as hard as he possibly can. Then it carried over into OTAs, carried over into training camp. When you stack that kind of work, it’s bound to show up.”
The deadline to trim the 90-man roster to 53 players is Saturday at 4 p.m., and Scott has done everything he can to be included. Willie Snead IV, Miles Boykin, Marquise Brown and Chris Moore are considered locks to make the roster, but Scott is likely to stay should the Ravens keep six receivers. Seth Roberts, signed as a free agent this offseason, is the favorite to claim the other wide receiver spot, with his experience as a four-year NFL veteran with the Oakland Raiders strengthening his case.
When the Ravens made Scott a fourth-round pick last year from New Mexico State, they saw his potential as a 6-foot-5 wide receiver with impressive speed for his size. But Scott seemed somewhat tentative during training camp last year before going on the injured list with a hamstring injury.
However, since the start of OTAs, Scott has been one of the Ravens’ best receivers. Not only has Scott gained more experience, he has benefitted from the competition during Ravens’ practices, working against quality cornerbacks like Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr.
“They’re very competitive, and when you play against other teams, the game slows down so much,” Scott said. “I was out there (tonight) and it was like, ‘Wow, it started to feel like college out there, it started to feel like high school.’ They strap up their pads just like I do.”
On his 24-yard touchdown reception Thursday night, Scott made a nice adjustment on Trace McSorley’s throw and made the catch despite decent coverage by Redskins cornerback Deion Harris. Scott’s size makes him a quarterback-friendly target, and he has become more adept at using his body to his advantage.
The Ravens have seriously revamped their wide receiver corps since last season, drafting Brown and Boykin and signing Roberts. Keeping Scott would give the Ravens another young receiver to develop, and he looks ready for a role.
He entered Thursday’s game knowing the stakes, yet he seemed unfazed by the pressure. During a recent phone conversation with his father, Scott expressed confidence that his performance Thursday would speak volumes.
“I feel I’ve done well,” Scott said. “As long as I know that I gave it all I had, I’m satisfied.”