Top Storylines to Watch at Minicamp

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Left: WR Sammy Watkins; Right: WR Rashod Bateman

Mandatory minicamp is always interesting, with veterans and rookies practicing together for the final time before training camp in July.

Here are some minicamp storylines to watch:

More Veterans in the House

Veterans who were not required to be at voluntary minicamp are expected at attend mandatory minicamp. For players like defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, this camp will be a chance to interact with new teammates and to gain on-the-field familiarity with any schematic changes the Ravens are planning. The Ravens had strong attendance at voluntary minicamp, so they enter mandatory minicamp with a positive vibe. They'll hope to continue their offseason momentum at this minicamp, before coaches and players recharge and prepare for the start of training camp in July.

Which Wide Receivers Will Stand Out?

This is an opportunity for new additions like Sammy Watkins and draft picks Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace to shine, while Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Miles Boykin can make a case for more targets and playing time. Baltimore's quest to improve its passing game has been among the team's biggest offseason storylines. Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is a given to be an important piece in the Ravens' aerial attack. But which other receivers will emerge as Lamar Jackson's top targets? Will the passing game overall look more efficient? This minicamp will help provide clearer answers to those questions.

The Ever-Present Focus on Lamar Jackson

Players as good as Jackson compete against themselves daily to get better. He's already one of the NFL's most dynamic players, but Jackson is still only 24 years old and the ceiling for him is as high as he can push it. Quarterbacks Coach James Urban has talked about wanting to see growth everywhere from Jackson – footwork, throwing mechanics, line of scrimmage adjustments. A sharp minicamp from Jackson would help accelerate the process of him building unspoken chemistry with more targets, the kind of bond he already shares with Brown and tight end Mark Andrews.

The Offensive Line

This unit is undergoing major change after the trade of Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and the additions of right guard Kevin Zeitler and tackle Alejandro Villanueva. There's also the transition of Bradley Bozeman from left guard to center. Minicamp will continue the open left guard competition, where rookie Ben Cleveland will be challenged by several players, including Ben Powers and Ben Bredeson.

Offensive line depth and versatility are premiums for the Ravens, who have led the NFL in rushing the past two seasons. Tyre Phillips, Patrick Mekari, Trystan Colon, Michael Schofield and other offensive linemen are trying to show where they fit into the mix. Between now and Week 1, the offensive line wants to establish the collective chemistry it had in 2019, when Baltimore set the all-time team record for most rushing yards in a season. We'll learn more about the line in training camp once players put on the pads, but minicamp is part of the process.

Pass Rusher Development

Whether the Ravens add another veteran pass rusher or not, this is a key year for third-year outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson. First-round pick Odafe Oweh and fifth-rounder Daelin Hayes are looking to make an instant impact as rookies, and Hayes wants to build on his solid showing at OTAs. Oweh doesn't look overwhelmed by how much he's learning and Ferguson reported to OTAs in excellent shape. The coaches know what Pernell McPhee and Tyus Bowser bring to the table as established veterans, but they would love to see a young pass rusher emerge this season after the departures of Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue.

The Backup Quarterbacks

The battle between Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley to be the No. 2 quarterback is close, and perhaps nothing will happen at mandatory minicamp to change that. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced mandatory minicamps to be cancelled last season, which robbed Huntley and McSorley of valuable reps. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has made some tweaks to the offense, so in addition to how well they throw, McSorley and Huntley want to show command of the playbook and confidence making checks at the line of scrimmage. There's no guarantee the Ravens will carry three quarterbacks, so McSorley and Huntley have a lot at stake.

Emerging Unsung Players

The Ravens are known for finding undrafted rookies and players under the radar who become key contributors. Among those who could fit into that category this year include undrafted safety Ar'Darius Washington and young tight ends Josh Oliver and Eli Wolf. It all depends on how they perform, but the Ravens are looking for a third tight end behind Andrews and Nick Boyle, and with Boyle recovering from a knee injury, there will be plenty of reps for a No. 3 tight end looking to make his mark. Meanwhile, the Ravens didn't draft a true safety, although rookie corner Brandon Stephens can swing to that position. There may be a backup safety spot available on the 53-man roster for Washington, Geno Stone or Nigel Warrior.

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