Preseason Game 2 is upon us, Flockers!
I know we’ll be glued to the TV because, while it’s just preseason, any football is good football. While there’s plenty of stock reports to take on players moving up and down depth charts, we’ll surely have a close eye on General Manager Eric DeCosta’s first crop of rookies.
While we’d love every draft pick and undrafted free agent to become an insta-stud, progress is truly the name of the game, and what we’re looking for when comparing last week’s preseason tangle with the Jags, versus tonight versus the Pack.
Patrick Mekari & Ben Powers
Ben Powers in Week 1 of Preseason (PS1): 30 snaps (41%)
Patrick Mekari PS1: 53 snaps (72%)
Much has been made about the rise of former Cal-Berkeley tackle and undrafted rookie, Patrick Mekari. A relatively unknown name at Ravens camp just three weeks ago has worked his way to right guard and center snaps last week versus the Jags, and now first-team left guard reps, only relinquishing his stronghold on the position to Jermaine Eluemunor roughly one of every three series.
That’s flat out impressive.
I’ll be looking for Mekari tonight to see if he’s earned the right to start at Left Guard versus the Packers, or if Eluemunor will get the start for a second consecutive preseason game. Given his 72% of offensive snaps, I don’t expect much of an uptick here, but perhaps earlier snaps are the better indicator of how Harbs and Roman feel about the dark horse.
Fourth-round Rookie Ben Powers started camp as the first-team left guard, while Eluemunor was sitting on the sideline after failing the conditioning test, then trying to break out of the dog house. Unfortunately for Powers, he’s slowly worked his way down the chart, having seen mostly third-team snaps last week versus Jacksonville.
Clearly, the talent is there with Powers, but he’s going to need a valiant effort to push himself back into the starter conversation.
Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown PS1: DNP
Miles Boykin PS1: 34 snaps (46%)
Sean Modster PS1: 22 snaps (30%)
Antoine Wesley PS1: 18 snaps (24%)
We’ll start off easy here: Hollywood Brown sat last week, and after missing practice Monday before returning Tuesday for a day of shells and no contact, I expect he’ll be out again tonight.
Miles Boykin continues to be the talk of the rookie class, and his four receptions for 39 yards last week (along with a beautiful called back 30+ yard touchdown reception) helped fuel the fire for a potential larger role for the Notre Dame product out of the gates. While the production shows, last week also featured a pair of drops that Boykin will need to tighten up tonight. I’m not sure he’ll see much more than 46% of offensive snaps, but staying in the first unit putting him up against the Green Bay starters will be a great test.
The undrafted rookie crop all had different levels of success last week, but the one I’m watching for the most will be Antoine Wesley. He had a single target last week and came up empty, but I believe he’s still fighting for that final wide receiver spot on the Ravens roster. If he wants to stay afloat though, he’ll need to give his quarterback reason to throw his way, and make the best of the targets.
Modster is the other UDFA that surprised me with his snap count last week. While I don’t see Modster sneaking onto the 53-man roster, his progress would be a great development for a kid I believe ends up on the practice squad.
Justice Hill PS1: 26 snaps (35%)
Another offensive rookie looking to improve his game will be Justice Hill, who ran for 33 yards on 10 carries, adding two receptions for 16 yards versus the Jags last week.
Hill looked solid, but what I’m looking for tonight will be earlier looks on offense, and improving his 3.3 ypc. I’m also keying in on Hill’s ability in pass protection, on which admittedly, I’ve noticed an improvement over the weeks in camp.
Sack Daddy & Mack
Jaylon Ferguson PS1: 24 snaps (41%)
Daylon Mack PS1: 20 snaps (34%)
Jaylon Ferguson snuck into some first-team reps Tuesday in camp, and made the most of his efforts. I noted a swim move I saw him working on against Orlando Brown Jr. that day, and I’d love to see him try to incorporate that move as well tonight. If he can replicate his effort from last Thursday in the first preseason game (1 sack & 1 QB pressure, while showing solid contain on the edge) and hopefully get some more snaps early on, it would be a great sign of progress for a position that’s still open across from Matt Judon.
Daylon Mack is a curious case. I don’t expect much from him, as he’ll spend the season buried in a deep D-Line group, but noted progress is always appreciated from all rookies! Last week, Mack had a tackle… and that’s it. I’m sure he did well stuffing the run and I just didn’t notice him buried in there.
Keep on stuffing that run, Pierce Jr.
Trace McSorley PS1: 43 snaps (58%)
While Trace McSorley’s progress isn’t vital to the Ravens success in the near future, a better showing than his 9/22, 85yds, 0 TD, 1 INT from last Thursday would be ideal.
Field vision and decision making will be the key to his progress from last week to tonight’s game. Notably, McSorley’s pick in which he locked on Miles Boykin and led the defender was cringeworthy and can’t happen again. Trace needs to make the best of the situation as QB2 with Bobby G3 on the sidelines if he wants to give the Ravens reason to keep 3 QB’s.
— Iman “Biggie” Marshall may be out tonight after missing practice on Monday and Tuesday.
— Jaylen Smith (8 snaps, 11%) & Joe Horn Jr (6 snaps, 8%) saw late love last week. It’s likely they stay with the 3rd unit again this week but could use a big play to boost their stock.
— CB Terrell Bonds could be getting earlier (and more) snaps at sCB with Tavon Young out and (potentially) Cyrus Young sliding up with the first team
— LB Otaro Alaka will look to build on a strong showing last week (I continue to hear he’s a dark horse UDFA to make the team).
— DL Gerald Willis (15 snaps, 26%) has faded from a player fans once believed to be a slam dunk UDFA player to make the roster come Week 1. He needs a strong showing on the stat sheet to up his stock this week.