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’22 Draft Picks Shine in First Preseason Action

Daniel Faalele OTL
original photo: Joey Pulone/Baltimore Ravens
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Look, I know everyone wants to get into the Ravens’ preseason win last night – their 21st in a row! – but we have not spent enough time talking about Tony Jefferson playing football practically BLIND for the last few years.

 

If he’s a decent NFL safety without use of his vision, he might actually be a stud this year now that he can see.

As for the game last night, I was cautiously impressed with the team’s performance. Tackling was the main issue, which is hardly surprising considering the team hasn’t gone full pads or full contact in training camp. It was a nice night for several of the Ravens’ rookie pass-catchers, particularly Isaiah Likely and Shemar Bridges.

Bridges showed off his massive frame with a few nice contested catches, while Likely continued to build on one of the stronger Ravens rookie summers in recent memory.

It’s worth noting, though, that Likely was a lot better as a receiver than a blocker.

The offensive line, however, was sharp for most of the game. Ja’Wuan James looked solid in his first in-game action in three years, and Ben Cleveland answered his rough start to training camp with a strong performance as well.

It is painfully clear at this point that a) Tyre Phillips is a starting-caliber guard and b) Tyre Phillips is just not an offensive tackle in the NFL. And as much as I want to believe in Patrick Mekari at center, the snapping consistency just has to be there.

 

Big Dan Faalele was another standout. His physical gifts are obvious, but he’s clearly taken to NFL coaching quite well. Of all of the Ravens’ steals in the 2022 draft, I think getting Faalele in the fourth round might be the greatest heist of all.

Travis Jones is definitely contending for that title, too. That’s Malik Willis he tracked down for that sack! Jones has received a lot of hype for his power at the point of attack, but his lateral agility is the reason he’ll be an impact player on the interior of the Ravens defensive line.

As long as we’re talking about 2022 draft picks, let’s not leave out first-rounder Kyle Hamilton, who recovered a fumble leading to the Ravens’ first touchdown.

Way to get in there, rook!

The next preseason game isn’t until Sunday the 21st, at 8 PM in Arizona, so we’ll have over a week to digest the highlights and film from this one.

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