Mastering Playbook Aaron's Mellette's First Goal


When rookie receiver Aaron Mellette was handed the Ravens playbook at rookie minicamp two weeks ago, he was impressed.

And not just because of the complexities of the offense.

"It's pretty cool that it's on an iPad," Mellete said with a smile when asked about his first impression of playbook. "That makes it easier to search and find everything."

Mellette's priority now is mastering that playbook.

The seventh-round pick spent the three-day minicamp working to get down the plays, and then had a week back at home to continue digesting the information. He returned to Baltimore Monday with the rest of the rookies to start the offseason training program.

"I'm just learning that playbook as quick as possible," he said. "It was similar to what I saw at the Senior Bowl, with all those plays thrown at you in a short period of time, so luckily I had that to fall back on."

One challenge in learning the offense is that Mellette is making the jump from a small-school college program. He played at Elon University, a Football College Subdivision school, and the most experience with running an NFL offense was what he saw during the week of Senior Bowl practice.

Mellette dominated the collegiate level, making 97 catches for 1,398 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns last year. The competition now is a big step up, but Mellette insists he's not getting caught up in the idea of making that transition.

"It's tougher if you let it get to you," Mellette said. "But if you come in with the attitude that 'I'm equal,' then you can play just like anybody else. Then it will be a smoother transition. But if you come in thinking, 'I'm not sure if I can adjust,' then obviously it's going to show out there on the field and you're going to be a step slower."

Mellette isn't alone in making the leap from a small school.

The Ravens continued their recent trend of mining all levels of college football to find top-flight talent, and they drafted four players from small programs this year. Third-round defensive tackle Brandon Williams is from Missouri Southern State, fourth-round fullback Kyle Juszczyk is from Harvard and sixth-round pick Ryan Jensen is from Colorado State-Pueblo.

"It helps when you see other guys that have come from small schools because they know what you're going through mentally," Mellette said.

This week is the first opportunity that Mellette is able to get on the field with the veterans, and he'll get inserted into the mix at wide receiver. The Ravens already had Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed, LaQuan Williams and Tommy Streeter slated to compete for reps now that Anquan Boldin is gone.

Mellette will get a shot in that group, but as a seventh-round pick he knows that the most likely way onto the roster for him is to shine on special teams.

"I want contribute on special teams and hopefully I get my chance on offense and I have to take it and run with it," Mellette said. "Hopefully I'll adjust fast and quickly, and be able to transition and show bright spots."

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