50 Words or Less: What I Learned at Ravens Minicamp

HC John Harbaugh gathers team in huddle.

The conclusion of minicamps means the NFL goes on vacation.

This is the only slow time of the NFL calendar, but it didn't wrap in Baltimore without plenty of good news to write about.

Here are my thoughts on Ravens minicamp, all in 50 words or less.

Lamar Jackson obliterated the concerns about him not being at Ravens OTAs with how he looked and practiced over minicamp. John Harbaugh said he didn't sense a lack of chemistry between Jackson and his targets and what he missed in OTAs can "easily" be made up for in camp.

I don't believe Jackson meant anything with his "I don't know" when asked if he could sit out training camp if he hasn't signed an extension. It was a throw-away line after repeating the same answer. If he didn't plan to do training camp, why would he have done minicamp?

Those saying Jackson is risking too much by taking the field without an extension are probably the same people who fret every time he takes off running. Jackson has never played or lived scared. He scoffed at the notion. "I play football; that's what I'm here for."

Jackson's added 12-15 pounds of muscle this offseason is one reason why he's throwing the ball with more zip. Can't help but think it could also make him a tougher runner to bring down, not to mention leave him a little less sore after taking hits.

One of the most important takeaways from minicamp is that nobody suffered a major injury. The Ravens will be knocking on wood every chance they get leading into training camp that it continues. They're taking extra precautions, but luck is a huge factor. Maybe it has turned.

Now for the best piece of news from minicamp. That goes to Ronnie Stanley's ankle, which is "looking great," according to Harbaugh. The offense hasn't been the same since Stanley went down midway through 2020. The importance of getting him back, and playing at a high level, can't be understated.

Did the wide receivers do enough between OTAs and minicamp to stave off a veteran signing? In my opinion, yes. That doesn't mean Eric DeCosta won't pull the trigger on one anyway, but seeing the receivers come alive once Jackson returned to the field inspired confidence.

The wide receivers are unproven, but let's not pretend like there's been no investment made. Rashod Bateman was the team's top draft pick in 2021. Devin Duvernay was a Day 2 selection in 2020. There's been years with a veteran on their last legs and mostly undrafted guys around him.

Calling it now. Damarion "Pepe" Williams was a good pick. His big personality has already made him a pied piper around the facility and he plays bigger than his 5-foot-10 size. Said Chris Hewitt, "I guarantee you the kid has got the biggest heart and he's a good football player."

Coming out of minicamp, the best competitions in training camp will be on the offensive line (guard), running back, and cornerback. Patrick Mekari gives the Ravens a lot of flexibility in terms of depth along the offensive line. Can Tyre Phillips, Ben Cleveland and Ben Powers all make the team?

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