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News & Notes: Ravens Giving Elite Sprinter a Tryout at Wide Receiver 

HC John Harbaugh gathers team in huddle.
HC John Harbaugh gathers team in huddle.

Mustaqeem Williams has something to prove to reach the NFL, but no one questions his speed.

The 26-year-old former track star at Tennessee is trying out for the Ravens at wide receiver, hoping his journey to a professional football career has begun. He was invited to tryout after catching the eye of Wide Receivers Coach Tee Martin, a former star quarterback at Tennessee, heard about Williams through his connections.

Williams hasn't played organized football since high school, but he had a standout track career as an SEC champion in the 60 meters with a personal best time of 6.61 seconds.

"Willie Gault, Anthony Miller - guys like that were track stars who translated their speed to the receiver position in the NFL and had some success," Martin said. "Got some film on the internet from him running routes - I thought it was enough to look at. We brought him in for workout and he was very surprisingly a lot better than what we thought. We thought it was enough for him to keep him around during minicamp. We'll see where it goes from here."

The experience of participating in minicamp and working with Martin and Pass Game Specialist Keith Williams should be beneficial to Williams' pursuit of an NFL career.

Improving Deep Passing Attack Is a Focal Point

Trading top deep threat Marquise "Hollywood" Brown to the Cardinals doesn't mean the Ravens expect their deep passing game to fall off. In fact, they want to produce more big plays through the air than last season, with Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay getting more opportunities to challenge cornerbacks with deep routes.

"Me and 'Bate' for sure (can) stretch the field – make plays down the field," Duvernay said. "Whenever 'G-Ro' (Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman) calls it, we're ready."

The Ravens have spent more time during OTAs and minicamp working on deep routes, and Lamar Jackson had a nice connection with Bateman on a 65-yard completion during Wednesday's practice.

"We've been pushing the ball downfield more in individual drills, before we even get to 7-on-7 and just seeing where we are," Martin said. "It's hard to correct something if you don't know what the issues are. We've been getting more reps at that and we've been seeing improvement."

Tony Jefferson Is Making His Presence Felt

Veteran safety Tony Jefferson keeps stacking strong practices. He had two interceptions on Tuesday and he was around the football a lot on Wednesday. 

The Ravens are extremely deep at safety with the additions of first-round pick Kyle Hamilton and free agent Marcus Williams joining Chuck Clark, Geno Stone, Jefferson and others. However, Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt said the 30-year-old Jefferson looks fully recovered from the 2019 torn ACL that effectively ended his first stint with the Ravens. Jefferson was released in 2019 before being re-signed last December.

"Tony hasn't missed a step," Hewitt said. "Coming off the ACL, he has no lingering effects from it. He looks like the Tony Jefferson that we signed, whatever amount of years ago it was – 2017 or whatever it was. He's still young and spry.

"Tony brings a lot of energy, a lot of experience. He's a leader, he brings all the guys together, talks to anybody on the team including the kicker. I'm really happy with Tony being here. We'll see what happens going forward, but I love having Tony around."

Kyle Hamilton Is Learning Quickly

Hamilton was regarded as the most athletic safety in the draft, and that's been on display since he started practicing with the Ravens. However, the 14th overall pick is also picking up the defense quickly, which will enhance his ability to make an immediate impact on the defense.

"He's extremely instinctive," Hewitt said. "Go-go gadget arms, 6-foot-4, agile. He's the total package. We're very happy with him.

"The kid's still a rookie, learning a new system. He's going to make mistakes. When the first game comes, he'll basically know what he's doing and he won't be making the mistakes that he made today. He's not going to be a guy who's going to be an error repeater. He works at his craft. He asks a lot of questions. He rarely ever makes the same mistake twice. But when you're a great athlete, and a great player, it's not really that hard to figure out what we're doing."

Hewitt did add that it would be unlikely that Hamilton would wear the green dot communication helmet during his rookie year, but also didn't rule it out.

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