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50 Words or Less: Trenton Simpson Could Be Next Young Defender to Emerge

ILB Trenton Simpson
ILB Trenton Simpson

Mandatory minicamp ended Thursday, which means the Ravens won't reconvene as a team until training camp starts in late July.

While minicamp didn't answer every question, like who will start on the offensive line, there were things to be learned watching the full team on the field together for three straight days. Here are my 10 thoughts, all in 50 words or less:

Trenton Simpson celebrated his 23rd birthday Friday and looks very ready to become the starting inside linebacker next to Roquan Smith. Nate Wiggins is 20, Simpson and Kyle Hamilton are 23, Odafe Oweh is 25, and Justin Madubuike is 26. The Ravens are loaded with young defensive talent.

Everyone talks about Derrick Henry's power, but his athleticism shouldn't be overlooked. Running Backs Coach Willie Taggert isn't worried about Henry adjusting to running more out of the shotgun formation. "(I saw) the big man move his feet," Taggart said. "I don't think we'll have any problem."

Even with Marlon Humphrey missing minicamp with "nagging things," according to Head Coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have few health concerns. Keaton Mitchell (knee) won't be ready to start the season, but Humphrey is expected back for camp, and David Ojabo (knee) was already back this week doing individual work.

The news that Hamilton had an elbow procedure that kept him out of mandatory OTAs is not alarming. Harbaugh says Hamilton will be back for training camp. Missing time in June is way better than September.

Hamilton's partner at safety, Marcus Williams, has 20 career interceptions. I believe he'll have at least 25 if he stays healthy in 2024. Williams is due to have an injury free season, and he's a proven playmaker.

Charlie Kolar is the No. 3 tight end, but he would be higher on the depth chart with most teams. He's having a strong offseason, and Harbaugh said Kolar has improved his blocking. Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely and Kolar give the Ravens an elite tight end group.

Nickel corner Arthur Maulet was a playmaker during mandatory OTAs with an interception and forced fumble. Maulet is a tenacious player who looks poised for another solid season. His decision to re-sign with Baltimore was a plus for a very deep secondary.

Brian Baldinger of NFL Network came away from mandatory minicamp impressed with Zay Flowers. I agree. Is it possible that Flowers has gotten even quicker? A 1,000-yard season from Flowers in Year 2 would not surprise me.

It's hard to handicap the offensive line competition. But I keep thinking back to Andrew Vorhees at the Combine last year. He did 38 bench press reps the day after he tore his ACL. That's a determined guy vying for a starting job at left guard.

Undrafted rookie wide receiver Qadir Ismail made some nice catches at mandatory OTAs while being watched his father, former Ravens Qadry Ismail. It seems very apropos as we approach Father's Day on Sunday.

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