With 13 wide receivers on the Ravens’ 90-man roster, Antoine Wesley and Sean Modster know nothing is guaranteed for them.
The wide receiver position battle will be intense and crowded once training camp begins, but Wesley and Modster have already shown they don’t back down from competition. Both displayed reliable hands and the ability to get open during OTA’s and mandatory minicamp.
Ravens cornerback Tavon Young said it was hard to single out any wide receiver, because all have been making plays. But Young has been impressed by Modster’s moves as a slot receiver.
“No. 14 (Modster], he came alive the past couple practices,” Young said.
Here’s a capsule look at two undrafted wide receivers who are determined to make the most of their opportunities.
Sean Modster, Boise State, 5-foot-11, 183 pounds
After catching just 43 passes during his first three college seasons, Modster had a breakout senior year with 68 catches for 978 yards and eight touchdowns. That still wasn’t enough to get Modster invited to the NFL combine, but he had a strong pro day that put him on the radar of several teams.
At Boise State, Modster ran a wide variety of routes and was a favorite target in clutch situations. He said the New England Patriots were the team that expressed the most interest in him prior to the draft, but he was thrilled when the Ravens called.
“If I had been drafted, I would’ve been more than grateful,” Modster said. “But going undrafted then choosing the Ravens was the right decision for me. I love it here, learn so much every day. There’s a lot of wisdom here.
“The Patriots came to my school, took me into one of the meeting rooms. We got up on the board and watched a little film. But that didn’t work out, so I’m here now. This reminds me of Boise State. It starts with the head coach (John Harbaugh). He wants us to grow as individuals.”
Football runs in the Modster family. His brother, Devon, is a quarterback at Cal. However, Modster gets his work ethic from his father, Rudy, a Los Angeles firefighter.
Modster made decisive cuts during practice routes during minicamp that allowed him to get open. He has also displayed nifty footwork along the sidelines.
“I think my strength as a receiver is sharp route running,” Modster said. “That’s something I took seriously at a young age. I can always get better, but I go into every route looking to win it. That’s my mindset. I can’t get complacent. I’ve got to do more. The next challenge is training camp.”
Antoine Wesley, 6-foot-4, 206 pounds, Texas Tech
Wesley’s height gives him an advantage in jump ball situations, and he got a taste of playing in a pro-style offense at Texas Tech under Kliff Kingsbury, who is now the Arizona Cardinals head coach. Kingsbury said Wesley’s preparation for games was second to none while at Texas Tech.
Since joining the Ravens, Wesley has not been shy about asking more experienced wide receivers for advice.
“I’m just learning from the older guys, doing what I was brought here to do. All the vets have been helpful – Chris (Moore), Jordan Lasley, (Jaleel) Scott. I’m just picking their brain and see what I can add onto my game, be a little bit different
“My whole life I’ve been competitive. I love being on the field, working for a spot. Now I have to get better at extending plays after I make the catch.”
Wesley has displayed a wide catch radius during practices, snagging several passes that were not particularly well thrown. Like Modster, Wesley was a late bloomer in college, jumping from 10 catches for 137 yards as a junior to 88 catches for 1410 yards as a senior.
Now Wesley is looking to make another leap as he tries to find a place on the Ravens’ roster.
“I had to be patient in college, wait for my turn because I had a lot of older guys in front of me,” Wesley said. “Once I got my chance I took off. Now at this level, it’s up to me to take advantage.”