For the Ravens’ seven draft picks as well as the undrafted free agents, the first mini-camp is a chance to show the coaches why you were picked, or whether or not you can contribute to this year’s team. Apparently, Coach John Harbaugh wanted the first practices the new guys would have with the team to be very intense and uptempo, or at least as intense and uptempo as you can get without contact. The coaches also spent time with the draft picks prior to camp to get them prepared for what faces them.
So, how did they do? By most accounts, the draft picks did well. Special mention for the player making the biggest impression was Terrence Cody. Cody impressed the coaches and veterans with his ability to do what was expected of him, even getting a “sack” on Joe Flacco during Sunday’s practice. Coach Greg Mattison was impressed with his quick feet, and Matt Birk was impressed with his ability and strength. Cody played on the first team defense while Haloti Ngata missed camp recovering from surgery. With reports like these, fans can hardly be blamed for getting excited to see what Cody can do paired with Ngata on the defensive line.
Sergio Kindle drew praise for his speed and explosiveness, while getting tutored by Jarret Johnson. Kindle has been projected to be behind Johnson on the depth chart, but the possibility remains that he and Johnson will be on the field together for some plays this season. David Reed the wide receiver taken in the fifth round, showed an ability to get open once he was able to get up to speed with the plays that were called. The two tight ends the Ravens drafted, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, both showed the ability to get downfield and make plays. The only negative on the draft class was that Ramon Harewood, the team’s sixth-round draft choice, was injured, but not severely. He will miss up to a month with tissue damange in his knee.
The rookies have now gotten their feet wet and have a bit of an idea what to expect going forward. It will be up to them to build upon the foundation that has been laid at their first Ravens practices.