Players On the Rise After Week 2 of Training Camp
After six-straight practices closed out the second week of training camp, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec added new names to his stock report, with six players' stocks up.
Here are three from his list:
OT Daniel Faalele
"There was a lot said and written about Faalele's weight and conditioning when he struggled with the heat in the mid-June mandatory minicamp," Zrebiec wrote. "Faalele, though, clearly worked hard to get himself in better shape ahead of training camp, and he handled a scorching hot week of practices well. He also did it while taking a good number of reps at the left tackle position, which is not where he's most comfortable. Harbaugh acknowledged that Faalele had some technique breakdowns later in practice when he got tired, but he was otherwise pleased with how the rookie competed. It was known that Faalele was a developmental prospect who'd need time. He has a long way to go, but he's already shown improved conditioning and technique."
WR Jaylon Moore
"Moore has made plays throughout camp and he's done it on all different parts of the field. He's also shown an ability to make tough, contested catches," Zrebiec wrote. "Moore has spent the past two seasons on the practice squad, so it isn't surprising that he's ahead of the team's group of undrafted free agents. He should be. However, if you were evaluating the entire wide receiver group through the first two weeks of camp, it would be extremely hard to not conclude that Moore belongs among the Ravens' top five receivers. If he continues to play like this and takes to special teams, a 53-man roster spot should be waiting for him."
OLB Odafe Oweh
"At least once a practice, the 2021 first-round pick has left an offensive tackle in his wake and earned a free run at the quarterback," Zrebiec wrote. "He's looked extremely explosive off the edge and shown a nice array of pass-rushing moves. He appears to be playing with more confidence than he had at this time last year, and he's continually trying to learn more. Whether it's Morgan Moses, Justin Houston or an assistant coach, Oweh is always seeking input on his craft. Rashod Bateman is the popular pick as a breakout performer on offense. Oweh should be that guy on defense."
Zrebiec also named safety Tony Jefferson, running back Justice Hill and rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones among his "stock up" players.
Wide receivers Devin Duvernay and Tylan Wallace, cornerback Kyle Fuller, outside linebacker Daelin Hayes and the undrafted inside linebackers made Zrebiec's "stock down" list.
Ravens Offensive Line Ranked Top 5
Over the offseason, the Ravens made three key moves to add offensive line talent via free agency and the draft. According to ESPN’s Seth Walder, those moves and more have catapulted the Ravens to No. 5 in his offensive line rankings.
"Free agent signing [Morgan] Moses upgrades the right tackle position in terms of pass protection (91% PBWR last season, 16th best among tackles) but is a downgrade from Alejandro Villanueva in the run game," Walder wrote. "[Ben] Powers was exceptional in run blocking last season, as was Zeitler in pass protection."
Along with the Moses and a healthy Powers, the Ravens added center Tyler Linderbaum, who already has high expectations from PFF's Sam Monson, who predicts Linderbaum "will be the best-graded rookie offensive lineman."
"The narrative on Linderbaum seemed to go on a real journey pre-draft. Early in the process, he was being talked about as the next great offensive lineman prospect — a player so good that teams might need to reconsider the unwritten rules about how high they can draft a center. Then, when measurements began to be taken, Linderbaum was "undersized" enough that that talk grew quiet. He end up being drafted with the 25th overall pick, but he never changed as a player. Linderbaum earned an absurd 95.5 PFF grade last season in college and allowed nine total pressures over his last two seasons starting. He is set to hit the ground running in the NFL and outperform all of the linemen drafted ahead of him."
According to Baltimore Beatdown’s Frank Platko, it's not only the additions that put the Ravens so high in Walder's rankings, but the returning Ravens, including Kevin Zeitler.
"Zeitler was the team's best and most consistent offensive lineman last season," Platko wrote. He started all 17 games and allowed just one sack in over 1,200 snaps. He's one of the biggest reasons for optimism for the Ravens' offensive line heading into 2022."
Baltimore also drafted Faalele in the fourth round, boosting their offensive tackle depth along with the healthy return of veteran Ja'Wuan James.
As for the rest of the AFC North offensive line rankings, Walder ranked the Cleveland Browns No. 8, Cincinnati Bengals No. 18 and the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 28.
Isaiah Likely: Student of the Game
Rookie tight end Isaiah Likely has garnered great attention this offseason after exiting mandatory minicamp on a high note and quickly returned to playmaking in training camp. Likely spoke to The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer to talk about his approach to football, the difference between track speed and football speed and why his Twitter handle is @DaGorilla4.
In camp a couple of years ago, another Ravens tight end said that one of the advantages of working under Mark [Andrews] was that he could steal things from him to help his game. Is there anything you've picked up from Mark that has really helped elevate your game?
"Really, just hearing how he goes about coverages," Likely said. "I mean, Mark's one of — not one of, the best, probably, route runner when it comes to zone coverages in this league. When we come to practice, I ask Mark, before he even turns on the film, I'll be like, 'Mark, I saw you run a route today, and you knew it was 'Cover 4' before they were even in Cover 4.' He'll just tell me what he's seen from either the linebacker stance or a safety rolling deep."
During the pre-draft process, it sounded like you prided yourself on understanding what the defense was going to do.
"One hundred percent," Likely said. "I love film. I love watching film. I love knowing what the defense is doing before they do it, because football is a game of inches. So if you have a one-up on your opponent, you're always going to have the best of them. But like I said, in the NFL, defenses know how to disguise it the best. So having Mark being the best tight end in the league right now, just going in and really just being able to dissect defenses before they even come out ... is just something that I obviously have to bring my game to another level for."
At the Senior Bowl, people were talking about you potentially being the best tight end in this draft class. Then at your pro day, you ran a 4.80-second 40-yard dash, and your three-cone drill wasn't as fast as maybe some expected. Did those times surprise you in any way?
"The numbers are the numbers," Likely said. "At the end of the day, I keep the main thing the main thing. I play football. You turn on my film, you can see I don't run what I ran. You can see I make cuts. You can see I'm explosive. You can see I stretch the defense. So I'm just blessed to be with the Ravens and just show them the talents that they've seen on film are the same I do in person."
Last question: Can you tell you me about the origin of your Twitter handle, DaGorilla4?
"Everybody wants to be king of the jungle, but I'm different," Likely said. "... Everybody wants to be a lion. Everybody wants to be the quote-unquote king of the jungle. But a lion never tests a gorilla. And that's what I am. I ain't never been tested. So I'm a gorilla."
Marlon Humphrey Is Among 'the Most Impactful Players Returning from Injury'
The Ravens are gaining multiple stars back from injury this offseason, including three All-Pro players in left tackle Ronnie Stanley and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. Each returning player is important, but Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton believes Humphrey's return is one of the biggest league-wide, ranking him No. 4 among players returning from injury.
"Humphrey is one of the NFL's most dominant and physically imposing man cornerbacks," Wharton wrote. "Even as the Ravens defense underachieved last year, Humphrey ranked fourth in coverage rating, 13th in target separation and fifth in catch rate allowed, per Player Profiler. The 26-year-old had posted even better numbers earlier in his career, as the ecosystem around him was stronger."
The Ravens are hoping with the new additions this offseason, they'll significantly improve their pass defense, and Wharton believes a healthy Humphrey will have a lot to do with that.
"New Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will need Humphrey to be in his best form for the defense to get back into the top five," Wharton wrote. "There's not another unit with as much cornerback depth as the Ravens, but having their playmaking stars is crucial."
Could This Be Calais Campbell's Final Year?
On Friday, defensive end Calais Campbell joined NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Judy Battista to talk training camp and his 15th season in the NFL. During the conversation, Campbell revealed he's preparing for this season as if it's his last.
"I'm in a place right now where I'm just taking it this year. I know I've got this year in me," Campbell said. ""I don't know if there's anything left after that, but I'm going to leave it all on the field, empty the tank, and when it's all said and done, after this year, I'll reconvene in the offseason to see where I'm at. But right now, I'm preparing like this is my last year. So, I'm going to give it everything I have."
Campbell debated retiring after last season, but after re-signing with the Ravens in April, NFL.com’s Nick Shook believes Campbell made the right decision.
"[Campbell] has good reason to return for 2022: Baltimore is welcoming back a number of key defensive contributors and is gearing up for a deep run after falling short of the postseason in 2021," Shook wrote. "Campbell and the rest of the Ravens have some vengeance to earn."
Shook also believes Campbell's "earned the right to focus solely on one season."
When looking at his resume, it's hard to disagree. Campbell's amassed 773 tackles, 14 forced fumbles and scored three defensive touchdowns. He also needs only 6.5 sacks to join the 100-sack club.