It’s hard to read too much into OTA’s and mandatory minicamp. Until the pads go on during
training camp, any buzz that’s created is simply that…buzz. But based on what we’ve seen so far, here are five Ravens who look like they may be primed to break out in 2017:
With Dennis Pitta’s unfortunate and likely career ending injury, Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams inability to stay healthy, and Ben Watson being brought back slowly, Nick Boyle has been running with the first team offense. Boyle is a hard-nosed, physical player who is a proven blocker which will help the Ravens get back to an effective running game.
So far, though, through OTA’s and minicamp, he’s shown improvement as a pass catcher. He’s the only current tight end on the roster who has consistently been on the field. If he can take advantage and build some chemistry with Joe Flacco, the Delaware Blue Hen connection could become am impactful one.
Another player who could be thrust into a starting role because of a career ending injury is Correa. After the sudden announcement that Zachary Orr would be forced to retire, Correa will get every opportunity to earn that spot. The Ravens coaching staff did him a disservice last year by shifting him around to multiple linebacker spots. No easy task for any rookie. Now with his focus solely on the inside, the hope is that he can emerge and fulfill the expectations of his second-round draft status.
This might be an obvious one. The question isn’t if Stanley will be good, the question is how good? During the tail end of last year, he graded out not as one of the top rookie tackles, but as one of the best tackles period. He has a growing relationship with Jonathan Ogden and his ceiling seems limitless. Some people, including myself, weren’t thrilled with the pick in last year’s draft. In hindsight, it could end up being one of Ozzie Newsome’s best in quite some time.
Speaking of rookie offensive linemen, Lewis was getting better each game last year before his season was cut short by an ankle injury. It raised some eyebrows when Lewis and Stanley started side by side as rookies and it was a major risk with Flacco coming off of major knee surgery, but it proved to be a wise one. The only question now is whether the Ravens will keep him at left guard, which they’d prefer to do, or be forced to shift him to right tackle. Early indications through OTA’s and minicamp is they will keep him on the left side. Together Lewis and Stanley have the potential to evolve into one of the best left sides in the league.
Perriman has been the most talked about player so far in early offseason activities. He’s playing with confidence, he finally has an opportunity to build a rapport with Flacco, and most importantly he’s healthy for the entire offseason. (Someone knock on wood)
Now the only question is whether or not that will translate into production when the pads come on during the regular season. Perriman may be the biggest beneficiary of the addition of Jeremy Maclin. Assuming Maclin and Mike Wallace stay healthy, teams will be forced to guard Perriman as if he’s the third best receiver on the field giving him a lot of single coverage. That could translate to a big year for Perriman if he’s able to live up to the hype.