Jaleel Scott ran a smooth deep pattern during Thursday's OTA session, and Robert Griffin III lofted a perfectly-thrown ball. Scott cradled the pass and raced into in the end zone. Touchdown Ravens.
Was it a preview of more good things to come from Scott? A fourth-round pick from New Mexico State, Scott was out of sight and sometimes forgotten last year after landing on injured reserve in August with a hamstring injury that put him on the shelf for his rookie season.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said Scott has looked confident during OTAs.
"Jaleel has had a really good offseason," Harbaugh said. "He's made plays like that pretty much the whole camp. He snatched two touchdowns (today), right? The red zone grab where he was contested and the deep ball. He's playing really fast and really well, and I think all those receivers are setting themselves up for a competition in training camp. It's going to a lot of fun to watch."
The Ravens used two of their first three draft picks on wide receivers – Marquise Brown (first round) and Miles Boykin (third round). It's up to Scott to prove he can make enough plays to earn a role. But if he continues having solid practices like Thursday, Scott will build a strong case.
"(I have to) stack my days up, learn from each day, become a better player day by day so by the end of training camp I can be in tip-top shape and the best player I can be for this organization," Scott said. "I'm playing faster, I'm not thinking as much. I'm letting my overall talent take over."
Here are some other observations from Thursday's OTA practice:
- Wide receiver Willie Snead IV wore a red jersey because coaches wanted him to avoid contact after an offseason procedure on his finger. But even in a red, Snead gave himself the green light to run routes and make catches. Snead is a gamer. He led the Ravens in receptions last season and has embraced the role of being the veteran leader of the wide receiver room.
- The loudest voice on the practice field was new Assistant Head Coach/Receivers/Passing Coordinator David Culley. He has been an NFL assistant coach since 1990, most recently with the Buffalo Bills. Harbaugh said he loves Culley's approach. Snead mentioned impressive names of wide receivers Culley has worked with in the past like Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, Hines Ward and DeSean Jackson.
- Veteran Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, recovering from a broken leg, was on the field for the first time during an open media session since being acquired during free agency. There is no reason for Thomas to push himself too soon, with the regular season still months away. However, it was a positive sign that Thomas felt comfortable enough to take on-field reps. That should only accelerate his adjustment to Baltimore's defense after nine seasons in Seattle.
- Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Hayden Hurst all looked solid running routes at tight end. Boyle is a superb blocker, but both Andrews and Hurst have worked on that aspect of their game this offseason. The Ravens have something many teams don't – three versatile tight ends who can contribute as both receivers and blockers. If all three remain healthy, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman will have many ways to use their combined skill sets.
- Newly-acquired edge rusher Shane Ray certainly looks the part – long arms, athletic, quick off the ball. He was a first-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 2015, and he just turned 26 years old on May 18. Back in 2013, the Ravens signed another pass rusher from Denver, Elvis Dumervil, who produced 26 ½ sacks over his first two seasons in Baltimore. It's still early in Ray's acclimation process, but the Ravens won't complain if Ray comes anywhere close to approaching Dumervil's production.
- Another edge rusher who flashed Thursday was Tim Williams. The pass rusher, who the Ravens will rely on to breakout in his third year, exploded into the backfield on one play and would have sacked quarterback Lamar Jackson. His teammates gave him a big shout after the play.
- Absentees from practice Thursday included wide receivers Marquise Brown (foot) and Boykin (hamstring); linebackers Otaro Alaka, Alvin Jones, Matthew Judon and Pernell McPhee; cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Cyrus Jones; running back Kenneth Dixon; safety Tony Jefferson (ankle); guards Alex Lewis (shoulder) and Marshal Yanda; defensive tackles Michael Pierce and Gerald Willis, and left tackle Ronnie Stanley.