With the Ravens holding their first organized team activity open to media this week, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Marlon Humphrey is fully recovered from the pectoral injury that cost him the final five games of 2021 and took extensive reps during Wednesday’s voluntary workout. Acknowledging his play “got a little sloppy last year” after back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, Humphrey getting back to an elite level is a must.
2. Asked why it’s important for him to be at OTAs, Humphrey offered a sound off-field rationale for participating in at least parts of the program while also noting the Ravens “pay me a decent amount of money.” Credit him and Mark Andrews for attending despite having little to prove.
3. With Lamar Jackson absent, Wednesday was a forgettable practice for a wide receiver group that dropped multiple passes. Even the normally sure-handed Rashod Bateman had a couple drops and was visibly frustrated at one point. The pressure is on, but I remain high on Bateman taking a big step.
4. Kyle Hamilton standing out at rookie camp is fine — a first-round pick better shine in that environment — but seeing him fare well in one-on-one coverage drills and look fast in full-team practice is encouraging. Much goes into being a successful NFL safety, but speed doesn’t appear to be an issue.
5. Despite plenty of speculation about his future, Chuck Clark was present and taking part this week. I’ll continue to maintain the veteran safety sticking around for 2022 is likely more valuable to the Ravens than what I’d anticipate Eric DeCosta fetching for him in a trade. Clark remains underappreciated.
6. Speaking of safeties, Brandon Stephens practiced almost exclusively as an outside cornerback and drew praise from John Harbaugh, who called him “a corner/safety instead of a safety/corner at this point in time.” If Stephens can play outside corner in addition to the slot and safety, his value increases tremendously.
7. In his on-field return from a torn Achilles tendon suffered at the end of last preseason, Justice Hill appeared to be moving well. Unlike J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, Hill is entering a contract year and has little time to ease back into action as a roster bubble player.
8. Kevon Seymour receives little attention at cornerback, but he has some inside-outside versatility and plays special teams, reasons why the Ravens wasted little time re-signing him in January. He had a strong showing on Wednesday with a couple pass breakups and an interception of an errant Tyler Huntley pass.
9. Though seeing Sam Koch as a coach is strange, it was funny hearing some veteran players razz Jordan Stout while he held for Justin Tucker field goals. The rookie punter appeared to do fine, but he’ll definitely be under the microscope not to have any hiccups in that role.
10. Speaking of weird sights, Damarion Williams wearing Jimmy Smith’s No. 22 and Travis Jones donning Brandon Williams’ No. 98 will take some getting used to. Unlike Smith, Williams gave no indication that he was contemplating retirement at the end of last year, making the radio silence on him somewhat surprising.
11. Morgan Moses, Nick Boyle, Ja’Wuan James, and Jaylon Ferguson weren’t taking part on Wednesday after being photographed as participants the previous day. Moses is an established veteran and the Ravens could be slow-playing Boyle and James, but Ferguson needs all the reps he can get to maintain his roster spot.
12. With Humphrey among the first players who finished 2021 on injured reserve to return to practice, Harbaugh said, “It’s a big deal. I sit up here and try to play it cool on that, but it wouldn’t be real.” He added that Marcus Peters is also “coming along really well.”