One of the best competitions at Ravens training camp is at tight end, where Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle will take the top two spots but a third could make the 53-man roster.
On Monday, Josh Oliver literally elevated the game, skying for the most impressive catch of the day to make a statement in the competition. Oliver leapt over cornerback Anthony Averett and held on for a touchdown during red-zone 7-on-7 drills. He also made a couple catches in tight traffic.
The Ravens traded for Oliver this offseason to add a big-bodied (6-foot-5, 249 pound) receiving weapon to the mix, which also includes Eric Tomlinson, Eli Wolf, Tony Poljan and Ben Mason. Oliver was a third-round pick out of San Jose State by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but foot and hamstring injuries limited him to just four games in two seasons.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said his performance in preseason games will go a long way in determining whether he makes the team.
"He's doing a really good job," Harbaugh said. "He's learning, he hasn't played a lot of football in the NFL, but he's a talented guy. So, just for him, getting out there and getting the experience of all these situations."
Here are other notes from Monday's practice:
- In his second practice, Lamar Jackson re-established his connection with Andrews. The two hooked up for long gains down the middle of the field, including once during an 11-on-11 two-minute drill. The drill ended, however, with Andrews dropping a ball in the end zone, followed by Sammy Watkins not hauling in a last-second attempt.
- Jackson was generally accurate, but was kicking himself after missing a touchdown pass to J.K. Dobbins and spiked the ball into the turf after another play when he didn't find an open receiver and was "sacked." Jackson juggled a couple snaps, but still picked them up to make completions to Andrews down the seam and Patrick Ricard.
- Asked how he's catching up, Jackson said, "I'm working with the doctors and stuff like that, trying to ramp up my speed to get back to where I was. I'm trying to catch up with my guys, because they're on the train – like Coach [Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman] said – I'm trying to catch the train. I'm in the car right now. I'm trying to catch up to those guys. But yes, I'm just taking it a day at a time."
- Jackson drew oohs and aaahs from fans when he dropped low and side-armed a throw to Justice Hill underneath. Hill juggled the pass but wrestled it away from linebacker L.J. Fort.
- The defense was flagged multiple times, including Marlon Humphrey twice for pass interference. After the second one, Humphrey went to watch the play on a tablet.
- Rookie fourth-round wide receiver Tylan Wallace had a busy day, showing how versatile he can be underneath and making a particularly toe-dragging catch on the sideline.
- Tyus Bowser showed off his pass rush, bursting around the left side of the offensive line for what would have been a sack on Jackson. Bowser went from five sacks in 2019 to two last season. He'll be looking to get that number back up.
- Although Oliver caught the touchdown over him, Averett rebounded with a nice pass breakup in the back of the end zone later in 7-on-7s.
- Trace McSorley isn't getting as many reps now, but he continues to impress. He faded away from blitz pressure to his right on one play to find running back Justice Hill for what would have been a big gain.