The best part of Tyus Bowser’s minicamp practice Tuesday came when he was totally exhausted sitting against the fence.
Bowser picked off quarterback Joe Flacco during 11-on-11 red zone drills, then raced about 85 yards for a touchdown, flanked by his celebrating defensive teammates.
After a promising rookie season ended with Bowser, admittedly, hitting the rookie wall, the sophomore second-round pick is just fine with this kind of tired.
“It was far – very far,” Bowser said of the interception run. “Hey, whatever I have to do to get to the end zone.”
Bowser has taken a noticeable step forward this offseason, epitomizing the Year 2 leap that NFL coaches look for in their young players.
In addition to his interception on the first day of minicamp, Bowser also had a similar pick during Organized Team Activities. He seems to have a good feel, and plenty of speed, to undercut short throws into the flats.
“You saw the pick for the touchdown today, so that got your attention, right? It was fun to watch. That was a great catch!” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Tyus has had a very good offseason.”
Bowser played in all 16 games of his rookie season and logged 11 tackles, three sacks and one interception. He was named NFL.com’s Pepsi Rookie of the Week after he got a sack and interception in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns.
The Houston product showed great burst and athleticism, but found the mental and professional side of the game to be taxing. He didn’t have a break from football for pretty much a full year. Bowser said there’s “definitely” a different feeling this year.
“You have more time off, you have less people in your head the entire time,” he said. “When you’re doing it so much, you get burnt out after a while and you hit that rookie wall.
“Now I’m actually able to go out there and play. Knowing the system and how everything works around here, I can go out there with a clear mind and play fast.”
The Ravens are also looking for a leap from fellow second-year outside linebacker Tim Williams. The third-round Alabama product played in eight games last season and made six sacks.
Bowser and Williams will have to earn their defensive snaps amidst a talented group. Baltimore returns starting outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Matthew Judon. Za’Darius Smith is heading into a contract year and Kamalei Correa is transitioning back to playing some outside.
Still, Harbaugh pointed to Bowser and Williams as standing out so far this offseason.
“They’ve both done very well,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not afraid to say that I’m expecting big things from both those two guys.”