With the draft over, the Ravens 2019 rookie class is eager to hit the field.
Rookie minicamp will be held Friday and Saturday at the Under Armour Performance Center, the first chance for the newcomers to make an on-field impression. Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is still recovering from Lisfranc foot surgery that will sideline the Ravens’ first-round pick, but other draft picks and undrafted rookies will begin to compete for roster spots and playing time.
Here are some top questions for rookie minicamp:
Can Trace McSorley begin to show he can play a meaningful role?
The Ravens drafted McSorley in the sixth-round primarily as a quarterback prospect, but they were also intrigued by his athleticism and versatility. With Lamar Jackson entrenched as the starting quarterback, backed up by veteran Robert Griffin III, perhaps McSorley’s best path to making the 53-man roster is to prove he can contribute as a hybrid offensive weapon, and on special teams.
Is Justice Hill going to be part of the running back rotation?
It’s much too early to determine what Hill’s exact role will be. However, it’s not too early to get a read on Hill’s pass-catching ability, and to see how much his 4.4 speed stands out on the field.
Where does Miles Boykin fit among the wide receivers?
Drafting Brown got more attention, but how Boykin develops as a wide receiver will be important for this season and beyond. Boykin can do at least two things to improve his chances to be an impact rookie – avoid drops, and learn the offense quickly.
Will Ben Powers be a plug-and-play rookie at left guard?
Drafting Powers in the fourth round puts him in the mix to earn a starting role as a rookie, like Orlando Brown Jr. did last season at right tackle. More will be learned about Powers during training camp, when the pads come on and the hitting gets ferocious. James Hurst and Alex Lewis will also compete for the starting left guard job this summer, but Powers wants to be another draft pick from Oklahoma who helps the Ravens immediately.
Can Jaylon Ferguson learn the subtleties it takes to become an elite NFL pass rusher?
The Ravens needed pass-rushing help after losing Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency, and drafting Ferguson in the third round was their response. Ferguson led college football with 17 ½ sacks last season, and he’s a superb athlete at 6-foot-5, 271 pounds, with the size and strength to be a solid run defender as well as a pass rusher. However, Ferguson will compete against top offensive linemen in the NFL who are better than the competition he saw at Louisiana Tech. It will be harder for Ferguson to live up to the “Sack Daddy” nickname he earned in college, and he will need more tricks in his tool box. This camp will begin that process.
Which undrafted rookies will make the roster?
Finding talented undrafted rookies is what the Ravens do. They have kept at least one undrafted rookie on their 53-man roster for 15 straight years, including key current players like kicker Justin Tucker, long snapper Morgan Cox, inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, defensive tackle Michael Pierce, center Matt Skura and fullback Patrick Ricard.
It’s likely the Ravens will keep at least one undrafted free agent again, and this camp is a golden opportunity for players snubbed in the draft to make a positive first impression.