Washington Pushing D-Will for 3rd Spot


The general thought among Baltimore fans is that the Ravens third receiver position automatically belongs to Demetrius Williams, but recent free-agent signee Kelley Washington has been making an impact in his first full minicamp wearing purple and black.

Considering that Washington took most of his reps with quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Troy Smith shows that Washington is already in the Ravens' top tier of wideouts.

Head coach John Harbaugh did not want to put a ceiling on the veteran's potential in Baltimore.

"I think an opportunity for Kelley to be here working with our coaches and with Joe, you never know what kind of receiver he's going to blossom into," Harbaugh said. "One good thing about him, he doesn't have a lot of wear and tear on his body, so that's a good thing. He is a young 29 [years old]. You'd hope he could be a third receiver, and be a core special teams guy, one of the core special teams guys."

Washington, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, has mainly played special teams during the past two years with the New England Patriots. Still, he has shown flashes of how he can contribute to the passing game.

The former third-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals earned cheers from Harbaugh and his teammates when he hauled in a diving first-down dart from Flacco. He slapped hands with Smith when he caught a touchdown pass during a red zone drill.

All week, Washington has lined up in different positions, whether that is on the right or left side, or in the slot. It is evident that the Ravens are challenging Washington's mental acuity after only owning the playbook for 13 days, and it seems that he is answering the call.

"[That is the] only way that he's going to make [it], whatever that role is - if he's the first receiver, if he's the fifth receiver, if he's playing teams and he's playing well," Harbaugh added. "We have high hopes for Kelley."

Williams has also performed well, looking fast and shifty despite putting 15 pounds on his wiry frame in the offseason.

But Williams has also been rehabilitating an ankle injury that required surgery on his Achilles' tendon. That has only been visible through a slight hitch in his step when he walks after running a route, although that has become less and less noticeable as the passing camp has worn on.

"He's been so concentrating on getting the Achilles thing worked out, he hasn't been able to do the kind of running that that kind of an athlete needs to do to have everything else in shape," Harbaugh said. "We're going to have to work through that. There are going to be groins, hip flexors, hamstring and calves that are going to come up, and you're going to have to push through it, but not overdo it.

"Probably him more than anybody else is going to have to have a great four weeks between when we finish up with these passing camps and when we come back for training camp. That's going to be really important for him. If not, he's going to come back, and he's going to have a lot of pulls."

Also in the mix for the third receiver job is second-year prospect Marcus Smith, who turned heads in the Ravens' mandatory minicamp and this week.

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