Former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds thought playing wide receiver was, for lack of a better word, kinda easy.
"Being a quarterback, you think people are just running routes. 'Get out there and get open,'" Reynolds said after Tuesday's Organized Team Activities (OTAs) practice. "But the receiver position is an art, and it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of hard work."
As he makes the transition from an NCAA record-setting quarterback to NFL wide receiver, the Ravens' sixth-round pick is seeing that it's going to take, as he said, "a lot of hard work and a lot of time."
"I've got a long way to go," Reynolds said. "It's like drinking from the firehose trying to learn the playbook right now."
Making things even more difficult for Reynolds is that he missed two weeks of OTAs. He couldn't participate in the first week because of the Naval Academy's late graduation. Then the second week of OTAs was cancelled as punishment from the NFL for the Ravens wearing pads during rookie camp.
Reynolds did participate in rookie camp, but every snap counts for a rookie, and especially one faced with such a tough shift. Tuesday was just Reynolds' second practice with the veterans.
"There's a lot of different things that I didn't think about when I was making the transition," Reynolds said, listing his release off the snap, running crisper routes and understanding post-snap reads.
"I'm behind, so I'm doing the best I can, grinding every night and listening in meetings, trying to take it all in and learn."
Reynolds watched film of Ravens practices during his time away from the team. During that time, he also attended the NFL Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles and signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour. And, in the biggest news of all, he received permission to defer his military obligation from the Secretary of Defense, which was announced in front of his classmates during graduation.
"That was pretty dope," Reynolds said. "I'll finally be able to focus full-time on football and know how my Naval career is going to work."
Between that, he found time to run routes and work out on his own, eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to get back on the field.
In Tuesday's practice, Reynolds had a few nice catches over the middle of the field. He looked like a wide receiver, which, at this point, is a compliment. Reynolds said he felt good running around and catching the ball, but didn't seem in especially high spirits after the practice.
"[He's] doing fine," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm not going to get all excited about it. He has a long way to go. He's shown he can catch the ball. He runs routes well. He's really smart and all of that."
While Harbaugh noticed Reynolds' grabs, he also had a critique. Harbaugh said the rookie sixth-round pick needs to do a better job of staying on his feet after the catch to pick up more yardage.
"Something as simple as that, when has he ever done that before?" Harbaugh said.
"That's just going to be a big question mark in terms of how fast he can pick it up, and it will be fun to watch. We drafted him because we believe he can do it. He has to do it now."