Day 1 of training camp brought perfect weather and enthusiastic fans to the Under Armour Performance Center.
Here are some takeaways from the initial training camp workout:
- Lamar Jackson missed some throws early in practice but improved as the day progressed. Overall, his best throws came when he was on the move, and he threw a perfect strike to tight end Mark Andrews, who continues to impress. The chemistry between Andrews and Jackson was evident last season and seems to be growing.
- Rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin finished a strong day with two outstanding catches near the end of practice. Moving well and running routes decisively, the third-round pick looks fully recovered from a hamstring issue that restricted him during mandatory minicamp. There’s an opportunity for Boykin to play regularly this fall if he makes a quick transition from Notre Dame to the NFL, particularly because his blocking ability at his size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) could help the Ravens’ running attack.
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- Running back Kenneth Dixon appears to be in excellent shape and running with the same burst that he finished last season with. When healthy and available, Dixon has performed well for the Ravens, and appears to be starting training camp on the right foot.
- Rookie defensive end Jaylon Ferguson disrupted a running play by getting into the backfield to prevent rookie running back Justice Hill from turning the corner. Ferguson was a prolific pass rusher in college, and the Ravens expect that facet of his game to be his strength. However, if Ferguson defends the run well, it will improve his chances to earn reps.
- Undrafted rookie defensive tackle Gerald Willis had a nice rush into the backfield to halt a passing attempt, the kind of play he made regularly last season at the University of Miami (Fla.). Willis was expected to be drafted by many scouts, but after being bypassed, he signed with the Ravens. Willis is hungry to prove he belongs in the NFL, and at least one undrafted free agent has made the Ravens’ roster for 15 straight years.
- Rookie fourth-round pick Ben Powers took reps with the first team at left guard, and the competition at that position is wide open. James Hurst, Jermaine Eluemunor and Bradley Bozeman are also in the mix, but neither Eluemumor (failed physical) nor Lewis (shoulder) practiced Thursday, giving Powers as chance for more reps. Hurst ran with the first team at right tackle, because Orlando Brown Jr. also did not practice (failed physical). To win the starting job, Powers must show the coaching staff he can be a physical run blocker, as well as a reliable pass-protector. More will be learned about Powers when the Ravens begin padded practices, joint practices, and preseason games.
- Undrafted free agent Antoine Wesley was the other receiver who stood out, building off a strong mandatory minicamp. Early in practice he made a crowd-pleasing over-the-shoulder catch for a touchdown. It’s an uphill battle for Wesley to make the roster, but he’s another big target (6 foot-4, 206 pounds) with a knack for making plays.
- The Ravens had outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams on the field together for a period of practice, giving both a chance to make plays. Both in their third seasons, Bowser and Williams are being given an opportunity to step up, in what could be a make-or-break year for both.
- In addition to Orlando Brown Jr., Eluemunor, and Lewis, Thursday’s practice absences included rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo and defensive end Shane Ray.