The bye week is a time to look back and evaluate, and the Ravens’ rookie draft class is always an interesting group.
This year’s class has been led by first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who has impressed everyone in Baltimore and many outside it, but there have been other contributions as well.
“I’m happy with them,” Head Coach John Harbaugh. “Could we squeeze more out of them? That’s what we’re trying to do, absolutely.”
Here’s a look back and forward for this year’s group through nine weeks of the season, with commentary from Harbaugh or position coaches:
CB Marlon Humphrey**
1st round, pick No. 16
Look back: Humphrey has been stellar so far this season. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he has the 15th-best coverage rating in the NFL, just behind veteran Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson. He’s allowed 13 receptions for 141 yards and hasn’t given up a touchdown. Humphrey has been physical at the line of scrimmage and hasn’t given up any big plays.
Look forward: Humphrey’s role has grown since the start of the season, and he’s had some games (Oakland and Miami) where he’s played more than half the snaps. He continues to spell Jimmy Smith, who is dealing with a sore Achilles. No matter where, the Ravens will find snaps for the rookie.
Harbaugh: “I’m really happy with where Marlon’s at. He’s playing more and more every week and he continues to play very well. And I think he’ll get better.”
OLB Tyus Bowser
2nd round, pick No. 47
Look back: Bowser was the NFL’s Rookie of the Week after notching an interception and sack in the Ravens’ 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. He had a tougher time the following week against the Jacksonville Jaguars and has seen a decrease in snaps since the emergence of Matthew Judon. Bowser played three snaps in Tennessee.
Look forward: Bowser can still be a valuable role player on defense and a special teams contributor. Linebackers Coach Don Martindale said he envisions the rookie as a sub linebacker and “penny” defensive end in pass-rush situations.
Martindale: “The last three weeks, I have really seen him grow up. It is always a process with rookies, and every one of them grows at a different pace, but I have really seen him grow up, and I really do think he is going to be a star in this league once he gets it. He is starting to get it in that process.”
DE Chris Wormley
3rd round, pick No. 74
Look back: After being inactive the first four weeks, Wormley got his first game action after Brent Urban went down for the year (Lisfranc foot) in London. Wormley took over the starting defensive end spot from Bronson Kaufusi in Week 6, and is used in a rotation with Carl Davis and Willie Henry. Wormley has made five tackles in five games played.
Look forward: Wormley said he was initially playing too hesitant by trying to make sure he was reading everything right before reacting. Now he’s playing faster and can be more physical moving forward as he’ll likely continue to share snaps.
Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen: “He plays a position in our defense where it’s one of those positions where you’re not going to get a lot of glory. Lawrence Guy has played it, Brent Urban has played it, as you guys know, Chris Canty. He’s playing more square, playing more physical, and in the last couple of weeks, he’s progressing pretty well.”
OLB Tim Williams**
3rd round, pick No. 78
Look back: Williams played in four games from Weeks 2-5 before going down with a hamstring injury. He flashed some of his potential in that small window. The Alabama product blew by Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas in his first NFL game and nearly got a sack. Williams has five hurries and one hit.
Look forward: Williams has shed about 30 pounds since the start of training camp. He said he bulked up too much over the summer because he thought he would have to be bigger to handle the physicality of the NFL. Now sleeker, faster and healthier, Williams feels like he can contribute more in the second half.
Harbaugh: “Timmy Williams has been hurt. He’s had the hamstring, he’s had some migraine issues that have really held him back from us activating him. I want to get him active. He’s practiced really well the last two weeks, so there’s a possibility we’ll see him, hopefully against Green Bay. I’d like to see him out there running around because he has some talent.”
G Nico Siragusa
4th round, pick No. 122
Look back: Siragusa tore multiple ligaments in his knee (ACL, MCL and PCL) during a training camp practice, which sent him to injured reserve before his rookie year really began.
Look forward: Siragusa has been on the mend and has stuck around the Under Armour Performance Center throughout the process and now for rehab. He’s eyeing a return next offseason.
Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris: “We saw really nice growth with him [before the injury]. We were working him as a guard, as both guards, and working him at center. He was doing a really good job of absorbing all of the offense, the communication skills, and then applying his technique and fundamentals. Unfortunately, he got hurt, and now it’s a setback, but, it’s a setback, in a way, that [means] he’s going to get bigger and stronger.”
G/T Jermaine Eluemunor
5th round, pick No. 159
Looking back: Eluemunor was thrust into action in Week 3 while in his hometown of London after Marshal Yanda went down with a season-ending ankle injury and Matt Skura was banged up. A late-comer to the game of football, starting in the NFL was a tall order and he showed his youth. A key missed block in overtime against the Chicago Bears hurt, but Eluemunor also had many one-on-one wins.
Looing forward: Skura holds the starting right guard job as long as he’s healthy, with Eluemunor backing him up. Eluemunor’s big and physical, but needs time to develop.
Harbaugh: “We knew he was a project. In all honesty, he hasn’t played much football, he was in a spread offense in college. I think you have to give him a lot of credit, a lot of credit for how well he’s done so far as a really inexperienced player. He’s done pretty OK. Is it good enough to win? No. He knows that, he’s not there yet. But he practices out here really hard every single day, he listens, he’s coachable, he’s got talent, he’s a big, strong guy. I think he’s going to be a good player.”
S Chuck Clark
6th round, pick No. 186
Looking back: Clark has focused almost totally on special teams and has done a nice job with it, making six total stops. He’s been one of the unit’s best players, which was needed after veteran linebacker Albert McClellan went down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Clark missed last week’s game in Tennessee because of a thigh injury, but returned to practice this week.
Looking forward: Clark will continue to be relied upon on special teams. With the Ravens’ depth at safety and in the secondary overall, there isn’t much need for him on defense at this time.
Harbaugh: “I’m very happy with Chuck. Chuck’s been excellent on special teams. Chuck has been like a vet on special teams.”