Tommy Streeter took off on a fly pattern this spring, accelerating past the secondary to catch a touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
It was a display of potential for the Ravens wide receiver who spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve because of sprained ligaments in his left foot and ankle.
Big and fast at 6-feet-5, 220-pounds, Streeter is still working to refine his pass patterns and become a more complete receiver. There were definite signs of progress this spring, but Streeter still has more work ahead of him.
As the Ravens start training camp this week, few players are as eager as Streeter to prove themselves.
The 2012 sixth-round draft pick from Miami is healthy now after diligently rehabilitating his lower body in the training room and weight room for an injury that didn't require surgery.
"Being out a year, it's like I missed everything," Streeter said. "To have the opportunity to come back and take advantage of each day, it's like a new-found love to be back out there. I feel like every day is important to continue to develop and get better."
The primary challenge for Streeter to climb the depth chart is to continue to work on lowering his pad level after struggling with his route running and hands during his first NFL training camp a year ago.
Streeter tended to make it too obvious what he was doing on the field as a rookie, which tipped off defensive backs.
"One thing I work on continuously is my pad level," Streeter said. "Being tall, it's hard. It's something that will never go away, but it's something I have to focus on is keeping my pads down and bursting off the line of scrimmage. At this level, any indication you give and these guys are breaking on routes. You need to make all of your routes look the same coming off the line."
During the preseason last year, Streeter caught four passes for 52 yards and one touchdown.
The jump ball was a particular highlight for Streeter with his height and leaping ability.
"There's always things you can perfect to make it that much easier," Streeter said. "I want to be an all-around receiver. I need to get off the line, get into that quick separation. I need to maximize my potential."
Streeter used his rookie season to concentrate on improving his weaknesses, observing veterans like Anquan Boldin before he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
"I learned a lot, taking mental notes and about how the guys carry themselves as professionals and as men in general," Streeter said. "It was a starting point for me. I'm working on the basics and trying to establish myself and get better and have fun out there."
Streeter caught 46 passes for 811 yards and eight touchdowns at Miami as a junior before declaring early for the NFL draft.
The Ravens have seen improvement from Streeter as he strives to contribute in his second NFL season.
“He’s grown," wide receivers coach Jim Hostler said last month. "He’s grown both on and off the field. Maturity-wise, he’s getting a little a bit more mature and he understands what a pro is.
"On the field, he’s getting better fundamentally and technique-wise. Young players, they’ve got to grow. They’ve got to develop. It just doesn’t happen, and he’s no different than that.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun