You’d be hard-pressed to find a better preseason game than the one the Ravens and Redskins played last Thursday night. The game featured a great mix of veterans and rookies showing off their potential, with a few very notable performances on the Ravens’ side of the ball.
In this week’s rookie watch, we’ll take closer looks at Tyrod Taylor, Tandon Doss, and Jah Reid. After that, we’ll reveal the much-anticipated updated rookie rankings based on player performance up to this point in the preseason.
Tyrod Taylor: You can’t say enough about the way Tyrod controlled the game Thursday night. This comes a week after I said he was quickly improving, but still did not show the talent and know-how to be a solid backup to Joe Flacco. While I still haven’t fully changed my mind on that latter point, the Virginia Tech product is really starting to grow on me. His athleticism is on full display each and every snap, as Taylor shows he can move around in the pocket, scramble for yardage, and make solid throws on the run.
Each week we’ve seen marked improvement out of Tyrod, and I expect it to be that way throughout the season. While he probably won’t see the field in many throwing situations (I feel he’ll be utilized in the Suggs Package), Taylor will undoubtedly grow every day in practice, and start to deliver on his great potential. He had a great career in college, and Ravens fans are starting to realize that was no fluke. While he’s no Michael Vick, Tyrod Taylor is much better than any old 6th-round quarterback, and looks to be a great pickup by the Ravens. I know I might be tooting his horn a little too loudly after one brilliant performance, but I have faith in the team’s coaching staff, and they have faith in Tyrod.
Tandon Doss: Doss is really starting to grow on me. He’s a big target with strong hands, and has a great mix of speed and strength. Basically, he’s an all-around solid wide receiver. He’s in a fairly crowded group of wide receivers, and may not even get playing time on offense during the season, depending on how the depth chart works out. Regardless, the talent is there, and Doss will have a similar role to Taylor’s this season; get better every day in practice, and make the most of his physical gifts. It may not be this year, it may not even be next year, but I think Tandon Doss can make a name for himself as a wide receiver in Baltimore.
And there’s also the fact that he’s pretty much already Baltimore’s version of Batman.
Jah Reid: Now that Bryant McKinnie will be wearing the black and purple in 2011, any chances that Jah Reid had of starting at right tackle are now gone. Michael Oher is slated to move to the right, so Reid will be spending time in practice trying to improve his game. This is a much better scenario than Jah “No Badass Nickname Yet” having to protect Joe Flacco when it really counts. He showed a lack of where with all on the line, and looked out of place at times against quicker, craftier pass rushers. The front office and coaching staff had high expectations of Reid coming into the season, so hopefully the UCF product can turn it around and show that his efforts in the preseason were just NFL growing pains.
Now, here’s how I see the Ravens’ rookies at this point in time. These rankings are based on the players’ probabilities to make the team and make an impact. Some of this is based on draft status, but most is based on preseason and training camp performance. Without further ado…
- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech
- Jah Reid, OT, UCF
- Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
- Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech
- LaQuan Williams, WR, Maryland
- Pernell McPhee, DE, Mississippi State
- Chykie Brown, CB, Texas
- Justin Boren, OL, Ohio State
- Patrick Scales, LS, Utah State
- Talmadge Jackson, CB, Oregon
- Josh Victorian, CB, Louisiana Tech
- Michael McAdoo, DE, North Carolina
- Chavis Williams, LB, Alabama