Kyle Hamilton, Patrick Queen Among Biggest Training Camp Standouts
With 10 Ravens training camp practices in the books, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec identified the players who have been the biggest standouts and those who have room for improvement.
Here are four players having strong camps, according to Zrebiec:
S Kyle Hamilton
"Whether it's been the one-on-one segments, where he's stepped in against star tight end Mark Andrews and won his share of reps, or the full-team sessions, Hamilton has been one of the best players on the field for the Ravens for much of camp. The 2022 first-round pick is playing with speed and confidence. He's embraced more of a leadership role and the coaching staff's challenge to get his hands on more footballs."
ILB Patrick Queen
"As Queen correctly pointed out, he and [running back J.K.] [add space] Dobbins aren't in the same situation — despite them both being in a contract year. Still, it's hard not to make note of the fact that while Dobbins has still yet to practice, Queen has been out there every day, flying around and getting his work in. When the pads came on last week, Queen was one of the most noticeable and physical Ravens. He's said all the right things, too, about focusing on winning and his own performance. If he has a big year, and he's in a position to do so, Queen's payoff will come after the season. He seemingly understands and is OK with that."
CB Kevon Seymour
"Mostly limited to special teams last season in Baltimore, Seymour has been playing extremely well at cornerback. He's gotten interceptions and tipped balls that led to interceptions for teammates. He's forced a number of incompletions and held up well in coverage. He's also gamely stepped in against the Ravens' top receivers in one-on-ones and held his own. He was an afterthought in the cornerback competition when camp started, but that's no longer the case."
Among the players whose stock is down according to Zrebiec are wide receiver Devin Duvernay and quarterback Josh Johnson.
"Let's be clear: there isn't any indication that Duvernay's roster spot is in jeopardy, even with his $4.5 million cap hit," Zrebiec wrote. "He's still a Pro Bowl-caliber returner and has shown, when used offensively, that he's capable of making big plays. We just haven't seen many of them this summer, at a time when receivers like him and [Nelson] Agholor are trying to make sure they have a notable role on offense."
Regarding Johnson, who is competing with Tyler Huntley to be Baltimore's second-string quarterback, Zrebiec wrote: "Huntley hasn't had a great start to training camp, but he seemingly has been a little more consistent than Johnson and made fewer mistakes. Obviously, the preseason games will have a large say in the competition, and the pressure will be on Johnson to perform better than what he's shown so far in camp."
Bengals Cornerback Mike Hilton Claps Back at Odell Beckham Jr.
A comment by Odell Beckham Jr. that was buried in an article written by NBC Sports’ Peter King did not go unnoticed by Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton.
Reflecting on his performance with the Los Angeles Rams against the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in 2022, Beckham told King: "People have no idea what I was actually gonna do that day. It was gonna be the day where I catch 15 balls, maybe 250 yards. The game plan was for me. We would've beat 'em 42-17."
Two weeks after catching nine passes for 113 yards in the NFC Championship Game, Beckham appeared on his way to another big game in the Super Bowl. He had two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game late in the second quarter with an ACL injury. The Rams went on to win, 23-20.
"It is what it is," Hilton told Joe Dannamen of Cincinnati's Fox affiliate when asked if Beckham's comments bothered him. "That was what, two years ago, and he's still thinking about it. Man, like he got him a Super Bowl ring, that's all good. But we'll see him Week 2."
Sports Illustrated’s Russ Heltman noted that "Hilton had one of his worst games that season in the Super Bowl, allowing five catches for 78 yards."
Lamar Jackson's Ranking, Justin Tucker's Omission Among Things NFL Top 100 Voters Got Wrong
Now that the full list of the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2023 has been revealed, NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman looked at the things the voters (the players themselves) got wrong.
Unsurprisingly, Jackson's absurdly low ranking was mentioned.
"What should we make of Lamar Jackson's (No. 72) lag behind the lead-footed Jared Goff (No. 66)?" Bergman wrote. "Sure, Lamar's crashed out of the last two seasons due to injuries, but he just inked an at-the-time-record deal and is undoubtedly a more reliable game-changer than Goff when healthy."
Bergman also criticized the omission of Justin Tucker this year. Last year, Tucker became just the second kicker to make the annual NFL Top 100, joining Adam Vinatieri (No. 98 in 2015).
"The peer shade extends once again to special teams, as Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, a trailblazer at No. 94 in '22, was booted from the club this go-around," Bergman wrote. "The players yet again have no place for placekickers and many other unsung positions in their exclusive club."
In addition to Jackson, three other Ravens made this year's rankings: inside linebacker Roquan Smith (No. 24), Andrews (No. 80), and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (No. 92).