50 Words or Less: Players Standing Out at Ravens OTAs

OLB Daelin Hayes

The Ravens are through two weeks of Organized Team Activities, with two practices open to the media.

As they say, everybody looks good in shorts and T-shirts. Still, the summer is all about projections and excitement. It's a time to think about the possibilities of players breaking out.

With that in mind, here are some players that are standing out to me, all in 50 words or less:

I may be driving the Daelin Hayes hype train at this point. The second-year Notre Dame product has good burst off the edge and can bend. As he adds more tricks to his arsenal, he could be a productive pass rusher who can also drop into coverage.

Hayes hardly played as a rookie due to injuries, but he flashed in training camp and the preseason last year, too. Now he's healthy and has a path to snaps with other outside linebackers healing. If the Ravens get five-plus sacks from Hayes, that would be a boon.

It's impossible to listen to James Proche II on "The Lounge" and not root for him. He oozes passion for the game and love of the work. Proche is confident he and good friend Devin Duvernay can be special, and they know they must prove it every day.

It's not uncommon for established veterans to attend one week of OTAs and dip out. Not Mark Andrews. Not only has he been present for the first two weeks, but he's a leader with the way he works in practice. He's full-tilt all the time.

Speaking of tight ends, the importance of a healthy Nick Boyle shouldn't be understated. Boyle was a lynchpin of the 2019 offense, and considering the Ravens are constructed to be more like that unit this year, Boyle's blocking is a huge component. He's a "completely new guy."

Chuck Clark taking new safety Marcus Williams under his wing to tutor him is so Chuck Clark. Chuck is always a pro and the Ravens have made it clear how much they value him and envision a big role for their leader in this defense.

The left guard competition won't heat up until training camp but keep an eye on Tyre Phillips. He won the job last year before getting hurt and he's improved his physique. If Phillips can stay healthy and locked into guard (instead of filling in at tackle), he could break out.

Somebody else flying under the radar is Jaryd Jones-Smith, the 6-foot-7 offensive tackle who has bounced around a few teams' practice squads. The longer Ja'Wuan James isn't on the field, the more Jones-Smith can stake his claim to a reserve role, especially if he can play left tackle too.

Greg Roman said he wants to get his running backs more action as receivers. There were big plans for J.K. Dobbins to do that before his injury. The Ravens prioritized adding versatile weapons with Mike Davis and Tyler Badie this offseason, plus Justice Hill's return adds more receiving potential.

Jaylon Ferguson slimmed down presumably to add more explosion off the edge and turn up his pass rushing. While he's been a strong run stopper his first three years, 4.5 sacks for "Sack Daddy" is surely fewer than he'd like. It seems he knows this is a critical year.

The return of Tony Jefferson is a joy. He's injected his fun personality and competitiveness back into this team, and you often hear him at practice shouting at or joking with somebody. He's also moving really well. Of all the reunions, he's near or at the top of the list.

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