The lull between the last mandatory minicamp and training camp is crucial for a pair of young receivers for the Ravens.
Both Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin will need that time to overcome some injuries because both are expected to be critical part to the offense this season.
Brown is the more concerning of the two because he has yet to fully practice after undergoing surgery on a Lisfranc (foot) injury. This is the same long-term setback that shut down defensive end Brent Urban in 2017.
The Ravens have given Brown plenty of time to heal but the missed practice time has put him behind the other receivers as far as the learning curve with the new offense and developing chemistry with quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Brown, who had 75 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns for Oklahoma last season, is also expected to play a key role in the “speed-offense” but the injury has also hampered that process. He has the burst to catch screens and crossing routes and accelerate for big gains downfield.
General manager Eric DeCosta was not overly concerned about the injury when the Ravens drafted Brown in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.
“First of all, we’ve had players that have had this injury, the Lisfranc injury, and it’s a predictable injury. We feel really good about his prognosis long term,” DeCosta said. “We brought him in, he had another physical. He’s had a couple different medical re-checks. We’ve had a chance to look at different films, and his agent did a great job of sending me videos of Marquise rehabbing and running and doing different things.
“So, I think conservatively, I think training camp we’ll have him back. But I think he’s at the point now where his rehab is going to be ramped up quite a bit, and he’ll be here with some of the best trainers and strength coaches around. I think it’s going to be great.”
The Ravens have since backed off that timeline for Brown to be able to fully participate in practice. Coach John Harbaugh said at the end of mandatory minicamp that he was cautiously optimistic that Brown might be ready for training camp.
“I don’t think you can say that for certain because we just don’t know how things are going to progress and where he’s going to be,” he said. “From what I’m told, there’s been no setbacks. He hasn’t been cleared to practice yet. But we’re hopeful for training camp.”
Boykin is dealing with a hamstring issue, which is much less serious than Brown’s foot surgery. Boykin was able to fully participate in several practices this offseason and has already caught the attention of his coaches.
“Boykin had a good rookie minicamp,” Harbaugh said. “He had the hamstring, but we’re anxious to get him back out there, too.”
Boykin has good hands and could play a key role in the offense this season.
The additions of Brown and Boykin put some pressure on another pair of second-year receivers — Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott. Neither player made any impact during their rookie season.
Scott injured his hamstring during training camp last year and missed the entire regular season. He has shown significant improvement in his second year, Scott was one of the standouts in the mandatory minicamp and made several nice receptions down the sideline and in the middle of the field.
“Jaleel has had a really good offseason,” Harbaugh said. “He’s made plays like that pretty much the whole camp. He snatched two touchdowns, right – the red zone grab where he was contested and the deep ball? He’s playing really fast and really well, and I think all those receivers are setting themselves up for a competition in training camp. It’s going to a lot of fun to watch.”
Lasley had an uneven offseason and will be battling for one of the final spots on the roster.
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