No Redshirting for Rookies Due to COVID-19

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks on his headset during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The rookie draft class has played an instrumental role in helping the Ravens make the playoffs the past two seasons.

In 2018, it was Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and Orlando Brown Jr. stepping into the starting lineup at various points in the season, helping the Ravens go 6-1 down the stretch. Last season, Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson and Miles Boykin all played at least 400 snaps and helped Baltimore have the best regular season (14-2) in franchise history.

Following the conclusion of this year's draft, Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear he expects an immediate impact from the 2020 class.

"We're not drafting them to redshirt them," Harbaugh said. "We're drafting them to play them as freshmen. You want them to play, and we're going to do everything we can to get them ready and get them on the field."

Instead of having a typical rookie minicamp this weekend, the Ravens coaches are having virtual teaching and training sessions with drafted and undrafted rookies who are not allowed to be at the team's facility due to the pandemic. Harbaugh believes the virtual teaching methods the Ravens have in place will get the rookies up to speed.

"It's different, but we're approaching it like it's the same, in the sense we're going to try to do as much as we can," Harbaugh said. "We're allowed to have one-on-one tutorial sessions with the rookies and work on their training also. Our goal is that they get in the best possible shape they can. I really believe that we drafted guys that are already doing that and are in great shape."

How much each rookie plays in 2020 will depend on multiple factors, including injuries and depth at certain positions. However, here is a look at how each member of the 2020 class could find an immediate role.

ILB Patrick Queen, LSU

Case for playing time: Queen has the inside track to start. The two inside linebackers who played the most snaps in 2019, Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes, both departed in free agency. C.J. Mosley made the jump from the SEC to the starting lineup in 2014 and Queen has the talent to follow suit.

RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

Case for playing time: If Dobbins displays the same explosiveness he had in college, he could get at least 100 carries considering Gus Edwards had 133 carries playing behind Mark Ingram II. Dobbins has house-call speed, he breaks tackles and he loves running from the shotgun, which the Ravens use frequently.

DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M

Case for playing time: The Ravens like rotating their defensive front, giving Madubuike a window for playing time. He is also an interior pass rusher, something the Ravens have lacked. He'll compete for reps in a deep unit featuring Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, Jihad Ward, Justin Ellis, Daylon Mack and rookie Broderick Washington.

WR Devin Duvernay, Texas

Case for playing time: Duvernay's speed gives him a chance to be a rookie playmaker like Marquise Brown (46 catches, 584 yards, seven touchdowns) last season or Torrey Smith, who had 50 catches, 841 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011. Lamar Jackson and Brown found fast chemistry. So could Jackson and Duvernay.

ILB Malik Harrison, Ohio State

Case for playing time: He was an elite run-stopper in college which could help the Ravens deal with running backs who hurt them last season like Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb. Playing time at inside linebacker is clearly up for grabs and the rookies have designs on seizing it.

OL Tyre Phillips, Mississippi State

Case for playing time: The starting right guard spot vacated by Marshal Yanda's retirement is open. Phillips will have to transition from playing left tackle in college, but he has the physical tools to be a mauler inside if he can get up to speed quickly.

OL Ben Bredeson, Michigan

Case for playing time: After starting 46 games at a major program, Bredeson has more playing experience than many rookies. Even if he doesn't win a starting job, Bredeson could be a valuable insurance policy ready to play in case of injury.

DT Broderick Washington, Texas Tech

Case for playing time: He's a three-year starter and two-time co-captain, so Washington is used to being on the field. Rooke reps will be hard to come by because the Ravens are stacked on the D-line. But he's a young talent who is very versatile, so that gives him a better chance. And he'll have strong mentors in Campbell, Williams and Wolfe.

WR James Proche, SMU

Case for playing time: Proche's skill as a punt returner gives him an immediate opportunity for that job. His potential to get on the field as a receiver can't be dismissed, not after he caught 39 touchdown passes for nearly 4,00 yards in college.

S Geno Stone, Iowa

Case for playing time: It will be tough for Stone to earn reps if Earl Thomas III, Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott are healthy. But Clark earned his stripes on special teams for two years, then seized his opportunity to play when it came. Stone could be headed down a similar path.

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