Ravens Stock Monitor: Rookie Pass Catchers Shine Bright vs. Titans

Ravens WR Shemar Bridges goes up to make a contested catch

Getty Undrafted rookie wide receiver Shemar Bridges goes up to make a contested catch.

The Baltimore Ravens officially kicked off their 2022 campaign August 11 with a commanding 23-10 win over the Tennessee Titans to extend their impressive exhibition game winning streak to 21 in a row. Plenty of players entered the night with a lot to prove, and many of them didn’t disappoint and some even far exceeded expectations.

Far more players improved their stock than hurt their chances of final roster consideration, and some just were outshone by others at their respective positions.

Stock Is Up

Isaiah Likely

The fourth-round rookie translated the flashes he’s been displaying in practice into several impressive plays in the first half. He made a pair of contested catches, including one on an over route toward the left side of the field that resembled a patented Mark Andrews play. And he corralled another before the ball could hit the turf. The pass was initially ruled incomplete before getting overturned on a successful challenge by head coach John Harbaugh.

Likely also showed the ability to make defenders miss in space and pick up additional yards after the catch, catching four passes for 44 receiving yards. Though he still has a way to go as a blocker in terms of technique more than strength, he’ll be a valuable asset in the regular season and probably won’t play as much in the team’s next two preseason games.

Shemar Bridges

While Likely was the star of the first half, the undrafted rookie wide receiver out of Fort Valley State College was arguably the star of the night with his standout performance. He led the team in receiving yards with 62 and tied Likely for the second most receptions with four, including a long of 38. At 6-foot-4, Bridges showed that he could be that big-bodied perimeter pass catcher on the outside that the Ravens have been searching for and thought they had in Miles Boykin once upon a time.

Bridges showed that he could track the ball well, climb the ladder and come down with contested catches and use his size to his advantage. He also showed some nuanced route running for a wideout of his size by helping the offense convert a key first down just before halftime and followed that up by channeling his inner Randy Moss to haul in the only touchdown reception for the Ravens on the night.

Mike Davis

The eight-year veteran is one of many depth players at running back that the team was excited to see in a game, and he looked every bit the seasoned pro. After an opening drive where he couldn’t find traction in the ground game, Davis and the rest of the offense bounced back on their second possession of the game and ended it with him scoring the first points on the night in a four-yard touchdown run. He showed good vision, and power, and was quick enough to bounce to the outside on his scoring play.

Ja’Wuan James

The former first-round pick already had the inside track on being the team’s top swing tackle option because he has been running with the first-team offense while Ronnie Stanley finishes his rehab. For someone who has been a career right tackle, James looked good on the blind side, coming up with a few key blocks both as a puller and to seal the edge.

Steven Means

The 10-year veteran journeyman played like his hair was on fire, relentlessly generating pressure on Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis in the first half. His motor never stopped, and though he finished with just one sack, he would have had a hat trick if Willis hadn’t twice slipped out of his grasp. He recorded three tackles, including one for a loss as he stakes an early claim for final roster consideration.

Kyle Hamilton

The first-round rookie had a pretty solid NFL debut, flashing his dynamic skillset and nose for the ball while also showing some areas where he needs to improve. Hamilton displayed incredible range and the ability to close quickly to prevent Willis from picking up a first down. However, he also whiffed on a couple of open-field tackles that resulted in big plays, including Tennessee’s first and only touchdown of the game.

Geno Stone

The third-year pro had arguably the most impressive and active game of any Ravens or Titans defender. He made plays all over the field and finished with two solo tackles, including one for a loss, two pass breakups, an interception of a deflection and the quarterback hit that helped complete the defensive stand that closed out the game.

Stone is a testament to the incredible safety depth the Ravens possess and is likely a lock to make the team because he is very active on special teams as well. He appears to be the new personal protector on the punt team, a role that was previously held by Anthony Levine, who retired and joined the coaching staff this offseason.

Travis Jones

The rookie third-rounder was a force in the middle for the Ravens’ defense every time he was on the field. He showed impressive power and agility, both of which can be seen on his first NFL sack. He refused to let Willis wiggle his way out of his grasp once he got a hold of the scrambling quarterback in the open field.

Backup quarterbacks

With Lamar Jackson watching from the sidelines, all three of his backups got to see the field with Tyler Huntley playing the entire first half, Anthony Brown starting the third quarter and Brett Hundley closing it out. They combined to throw for 30-of-35 for 268 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Each of them made at least one impressive throw downfield but Huntley looked the best and most closely resembled Jackson with the way he stepped up in the pocket to elude pressure and ran in the open field.

Ben Cleveland

The second-year pro proved that he will be a strong contender in the battle to win the starting left job spot until the bitter end with the way he played against the Titans. He made several impressive blocks on pulls, kick-outs, and climbing to the second level. Cleveland recorded enough pancake blocks to make a tall stack and the success of the Ravens’ rushing attack as the game went on was the sweet syrup.

Pepe Williams

The fourth-round rookie had a solid night overall both on defense at corner playing inside and out as well on special teams as a returner. However, he could’ve had a spectacular night if he would’ve just capitalized on the big plays that came right to him. He could’ve scored the first points of the game on its opening drive when he made a great break on and out route but could reel in the pass for what would’ve certainly been a walk-in touchdown going back the other way. Williams only returned one punt for an impressive long of 27 yards but he fair-caught one in the fourth quarter where he had plenty of open space and time to get upfield but opted to fair catch it instead.

Malik Harrison

The third-year pro was flying around in the first half and was the one that came downhill to force the fumble that Hamilton recovered by bunching the ball out of the hands of a Titans’ running back that was fighting for extra yards. Harbaugh commended him on having a “really good game.”

Stock Is Down

Kevon Seymour

The seven-year veteran got lost a couple of times in coverage, allowed a handful of completions for conversions, and got outplayed by Daryl Worley who was just signed to the team on August 8, 2022. He recorded three total tackles to the four of Worleys who also recorded one of the defense’s three turnovers of the night with an interception on an underthrown pass to the end zone.

Jeremiah Moon

The undrafted rookie edge defender got outshined by the likes of Means and second-year pro Daeline Hayes and the fact that he got called for a drive extending roughing the passer penalty that was well deserved doesn’t help his case either. He began applying more pressure later in the game but by then the offensive tackles he was going up against were barely replacement level.

Tyre Phillips at OT

While the third-year pro had a nice outing on the interior at guard he did not fare nearly as well at left tackle in the second half where he gave up consistent pressure to second, third, and fourth-string edge rushers. He is clearly better suited between the tackle and center and not on an island where his lack of foot speed can lead to turnovers like the controversial strip sack of Hundley in the fourth quarter.

Undrafted Rookie ILBs Not Named Josh Ross

Harrison’s strong night and Josh Ross’ solid outing coupled with the lack of flashes or splash plays from Diego Fagot and ZaKoby McClain doesn’t bode well for their chances of making the team in a year where the team could go light at linebacker and heavy at safety.

Slade Bolden

The undrafted rookie’s stock wasn’t hurt by anything he did on the field because he didn’t dress for the game due to a minor injury. However, in his absence, Bridges and some of the other unheralded wide receivers had strong performances with everyone that did appear in the game catching at least one pass.

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