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Mailbag: Which Rookie Wide Receiver Has Surprised the Most?

Left: WR James Proche II; Right: WR Devin Duvernay
Left: WR James Proche II; Right: WR Devin Duvernay

Mink: This is a tough question because I've been really impressed with both, which really says something about the kinds of players they are considering all the practice time missed this summer.

Third-round pick Devin Duvernay has some major speed. If he has room to run, watch out because he'll leave a cornerback in the dust. He turned on the burners to get past Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters on one play Tuesday, and he did the same to Anthony Averett on Wednesday. It's not just speed either; the rookie wideout has a knack for getting separation at the top of his routes. He also has some muscle, and I can see him picking up some tough yards on shorter throws too. He is earning trust with how good his hands are.

At the same time, James Proche II, the sixth-round pick out of SMU, has also been impressive. He's got some burst to him, and I could see him being a dangerous and reliable wideout on underneath and intermediate routes. At the same time, he made the offensive play of the day Wednesday with a full extension diving catch on a long throw down the middle from Robert Griffin III.

Downing: The Ravens have a good competition for the third tight end spot between Eli Wolf, Charles Scarff and Jerell Adams. Head Coach John Harbaugh described the competition as "neck-and-neck." Given how much the Ravens use their tight ends, it would be surprising if the Ravens were to only keep two on the 53-man roster. Pat Ricard can fill in at tight end in certain packages, but that's not a permanent solution because Ricard is so valuable at fullback. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman likes to find ways to get three tight ends on the field, so Ravens will be looking for someone to stand out from the pack. Something to watch with this competition is the health status of Wolf, who left Wednesday's practice after a late collision. Harbaugh said he did not expect it to be a "big serious thing," but Wolf still had to undergo an evaluation with the medical staff.

Mink: Malik Harrison will certainly push for a starting job out of the gate, but I do think it's a tall task for one rookie inside backer to be an immediate starter, as first-round pick Patrick Queen is expected to be, let alone two. Veteran L.J. Fort has proven he's more than capable of handling a start role. He did it well last season after being signed midway through the year.

Harrison has been impressive, however, and I do expect he'll become a starter at some point in the not too distant future. He had a couple strong reps in one-on-one coverage drills in which he broke up a pair of passes, including one deep ball that really tested his range. Head Coach John Harbaugh said he's flowing really well to the ball. To your question, I bet it's after Week 8, but not too much longer. And I don't think it matters all that much since the Ravens will have a steady rotation at linebacker.

Downing: He definitely looks faster. Exactly how much faster is tough to tell watching from the sidelines, but Brown told reporters that during his offseason training he matched his top game speed from his rookie season. Beyond his actual speed, Brown is just moving better across the board. He isn't favoring his foot like he was last season, and he just looks like he's playing more naturally. Brown showed off his speed and agility during a great one-on-one battle against cornerback Marlon Humphrey, where he gained separation from Humphrey to pull down a deep pass from quarterback Lamar Jackson. If that play is a sign of things to come, then get ready for a big second season from Brown.

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