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Practice Report: Pepe Williams Interception Amplifies Ravens' Depth at Cornerback

CB Damarion "Pepe" Williams
CB Damarion "Pepe" Williams

For the second straight day, the Ravens did not wear helmets at OTAs and focused on execution.

However, there was plenty of competition. An interception by third-year cornerback Damarion "Pepe" Williams near the goal line was one of the day's highlights.

After making the catch, Williams ran the length of the field to finish the play, and it was another illustration of how much depth the Ravens have at cornerback.

Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis are both entering their third seasons, competing for playing time in a deep cornerback rotation. With Marlon Humphrey not participating in voluntary OTAs this week, Williams and Armour-Davis have gotten more reps and have taken advantage of the opportunity.

It remains to be seen how Williams and Armour-Davis fit into Baltimore's cornerback mix. The Ravens are deep at the position in a rotation that includes starters Humphrey and Brandon Stephens, slot corner Arthur Maulet, first-round pick Nate Wiggins, fourth-round pick T. J. Tampa and veteran Trayvon Mullen.

Williams and Armour-Davis have been plagued by injuries during their first two seasons and this is a huge campaign for both players. With his interception on Thursday and strong play during OTAs, Williams is clearly rising to the challenge.

Here are some other notes from Thursday's session:

  • Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh burst into the backfield to blow up a designed run featuring wide receiver Zay Flowers. If there was an award for most impressive defensive player during OTAs, Oweh would be a strong candidate.
  • Tampa made a nice play in coverage on Flowers, staying close enough to provide a distraction on a pass that Flowers dropped. Wiggins has been extremely impressive during practices, but Tampa is making plays as well.
  • The enthusiasm that Marcus Williams brings to practice is infectious for the defense. After Flowers mishandled a pass in the end zone, Williams started dancing as some of his teammates began laughing. Williams' energy and leadership has helped the secondary this week with Kyle Hamilton not on the field.
  • Nelson Agholor made a spectacular leaping catch in the corner of the end zone that was the grab of the day. Entering his 10th NFL season, Agholor brings a steady presence to the wide receiver group and embraces the role of being a mentor to young receivers like Flowers, Rashod Bateman and rookie Devontez Walker.
  • Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken had a vocal day of practice which isn't unusual. The process of Monken adding wrinkles in Year 2 of his offense will be a storyline throughout the summer, and Lamar Jackson and others listened intently as Monken gave instructions.
  • A good portion of practice was spent on kickoff return and coverage. The new kickoff rules have challenged NFL teams to find new ways to take advantage of opportunities on kickoffs that will become more prevalent next season.

"We see the good of it, the excitement in it," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "There are going to be a lot more returns out there, and we're just trying to figure out how to be successful with the play, both covering the kick and returning the kick. We're looking at it from every angle that we possibly can, and hopefully we'll be good at it next year."

  • Malik Cunningham continued to run nice routes, and his comfort level after switching from quarterback to wide receiver has been impressive throughout OTAs.
  • Veteran running back Justice Hill continued to be a consistent presence at OTAs. Whatever his role is as a runner, receiver, or on special teams, Hill prides himself on staying ready.
  • Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris had a lengthy session doing individual work with the offensive line. The Ravens will have three new starters up front, and rookie tackle Roger Rosengarten is enjoying being taken under D'Alessandris' wing.

"He's been in the league a long time [and] been around a lot of great players," Rosengarten said. "Especially when we're in meetings, he's got a lot of great stories about players he's coached and whatnot, so he knows the ins and outs of this league and the tips and tricks – kind of like I was talking about before – [he's] a great coach."

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