Ravens rookies ‘drink from the fire hose,’ plus other minicamp sightings – Baltimore Sun


Kyle Hamilton called it a “dream come true,” but the Ravens’ rookie minicamp wasn’t all the first-round pick thought it could be. Certainly not what he thought it might look like, anyway.

Hamilton arrived at the team’s indoor training facility late Saturday morning with a helmet in his helmet. He joked that no one bothered to tell him. During the first period of the Ravens’ second practice minicamp with draft picks, undrafted rookies and free agents still vying for a spot on the 90-man roster, security heard a loud bang. It was the disembodied voice of defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald in his ear.

“I was jump scared because I didn’t know he was going to talk to me just yet,” Hamilton said. It was a new experience; in college football, one-way communication with a helmet is not permitted. “But I got used to it. The first time I heard it I had no idea what it was saying. But now I can sort of identify it pretty quickly. So it’s a pretty cool little nuance of NFL football that I appreciate, for sure.

When the minicamp opened Friday at Owings Mills, a flurry of instructions and information poured in. Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens rookies were “drinking a little from the fire hose,” then added, “But we want them to drink from the fire hose. ”

In some ways, as he told the dozens of young players in attendance, the NFL game is not entirely different from the college level: same dimensions on the field, same size of team, same goals. The goal of the minicamp is not just to coach them on the differences, Harbaugh said, but also to teach them how to train, learn the fundamentals of the Ravens.

“It’s a pretty steep learning curve in terms of volume,” he said. “There are very few teams in college football, offense or defense or special teams – they all do everything you see in professional football, but very few do everything a team will do in professional football.”

For Hamilton, one of the best safety prospects of recent years, that means trial and error. At minicamp, he said he had “the opportunity to come here, improve, make mistakes and learn from them.” He was asked to learn the two points of safety in the Ravens’ system (“Certainly difficult”) and execute more cover shots with three deep defensive backs than he did in college (“Quite different from Notre Dame, I would say”).

“It’s the NFL, and that’s what guys get paid for,” Hamilton said. “So I’m ready for the task, but I’m just going to rely on the trainers, the vets to help me, whether it’s playbook stuff or just mentally how to navigate the game.”

On offense, Tyler Linderbaum has “a lot to learn,” Harbaugh said, as does every first-round pick ever brought to Baltimore. The former Iowa center learns verbiage from the Ravens. He’s increasing his volume of shotgun snaps, which weren’t as present in the Hawkeyes’ offense. He looks to make the right instant calls and tune the team’s protections.

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Offensive tackle Daniel Faalele, a fourth-round pick, said learning the playbook would be his biggest challenge; Linderbaum estimated Saturday that the offense is only making 10 percent of the plays it should be making this season. But it’s offseason time for growth, Harbaugh said.

“Everyone is in development,” he said. “I’m in development. We are all developing. We do our best to become better at what we do.

>> The 6-foot-2 Linderbaum is undersized for an NFL center, but during offensive line drills on Saturday he showed the burst from the line of scrimmage that has made him such an effective blocker in space in Iowa. Faalele, meanwhile, showed impressive flexibility in drills and moved well for a 375-pound tackle.

>> Hamilton was active and often found himself around the ball. He didn’t hesitate to break on deep passes before the ball was in the air.

>> Tight ends Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar were popular targets throughout the day, but downturns were a problem — a surprise given the safe production of the fourth-round picks in college. Kolar, who was riding up the seam in an 11-on-11 game, bounced a pass off his hands and into the grip of undrafted rookie cornerback David Vereen.

>> Defensive tackle Travis Jones had a dominant streak in 11-on-11 action, knocking down the opposing lineman on one play and easily winning on a repeat pass-rush on the next. The third-round pick is skinny for a 325-pound interior presence.

>> Cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis missed at least the last half hour of practice and did not return for a team photo with his teammates. It’s unclear what happened to the fourth-round pick, who had an injury history at Alabama.


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