Rookie Minicamp News & Notes 5/4: John Harbaugh Likes Focus of This Year’s Rookies

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The Ravens’ rookie class has made a good first impression on Head Coach John Harbaugh.

Rookie minicamp concluded Saturday with a practice session open to the media at the Under Armour Performance Center. It’s very early in the process of deciding which rookies the Ravens will count on most. However, Harbaugh thinks he has another strong rookie class, like he did in 2018 when a host of first-year players helped the Ravens win the AFC North.

“It’s been really good,” Harbaugh said. “Guys have been on it. It’s a very smart group, very football oriented. We’ve thrown a lot at them, they’ve picked it up really quickly. Very few mistakes. Guys are catching the ball, throwing the ball well, good fundamentals, a bunch of well-schooled football players. There’s going to be some real competition to make this team. A lot of these guys are going to be in the hunt to do that.”

Here are some observations from Saturday’s practice, with players not in pads wearing shorts:

  • Third-round draft pick Miles Boykin showed excellent hands, and he looked at least as big as his measurements – 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. Having a receiver that size, with the body to take punishment and make contested catches, could be an important asset for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
  • Wide receiver Joe Horn Jr., son of long-time New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, was one of the rookies participating on a tryout basis who looked good. Harbaugh recognized the family DNA after Horn made several nice catches. “Joe Horn (Jr.) looked like Joe Horn,” Harbaugh said. “His son looks like him; quick, fast, real good hands, in-and-out of breaks. You can tell he’s worked with his Dad a lot on technique. I thought he just looked excellent.”
  • Another tryout player who stood out was former Baylor quarterback Jalan McClendon. He threw some excellent passes, and at 6-foot-5, 219 pounds, he has the classic dropback quarterback size. If the Ravens want to add a fourth quarterback to the training camp roster, McClendon could be the guy.
  • Sixth-round draft choice, quarterback Trace McSorley, also had a solid day throwing the football after agreeing to contract terms earlier in the day. “He gets the ball out for the most part on time,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not like a live practice at all, so you don’t get to see a lot of the other skills, scrambling and stuff, but he operated. How many mistakes did we have, guys jumping offsides or formations not right, or cadence issues? Really, I don’t know if we had one this afternoon. We had a couple yesterday. So, the quarterbacks are doing a good job of handling that, and Trace is obviously doing a good job of that.”
  • Undrafted rookie defensive tackle Gerald Willis limped off the field midway through practice and didn’t return, but he tweeted later that he was fine
  • First-round draft choice wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was forced to watch practice from the sideline, still recovering from Lisfranc foot surgery in January. However, Brown observed intently and has plunged headfirst into learning the offense. “Studying the playbook and getting those mental reps is key,” Brown said. “It’s tough (not practicing), but at the same time I have fun taking those mental reps, because I kind of have an advantage getting back and being able to watch.”

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