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Jim Caldwell upbeat about Deonte Thompson, a 4.23 speedster

FootballDeonte ThompsonNFL Pro BowlSuper Bowl XLVIIDavid ReedTandon Doss

Ravens wide receiver Deonte Thompson is obviously a gifted athlete, a true speedster who's arguably the fastest player on the Super Bowl champions' roster.

Although he went undrafted out of the University of Florida, Thompson ran the 40-yard dash between 4.23 seconds and 4.33 seconds at his campus Pro Day workout for a composite time of 4.31 seconds.

The 6-foot, 203-pounder also bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times and registered a 36 1/2 inch vertical leap and a 10-5 broad jump.

Along with kicker Justin Tucker, he was one of two undrafted rookies to make the 53-man opening game roster. In limited action, Thompson caught five passes for 51 yards.

With his athleticism and developing routes and hands, Thompson is an interesting prospect that the Ravens' coaching staff is giving a long look this spring.

Thompson, who caught 101 passes for 1,446 yards and nine touchdowns for the Gators, figures into the mix of the Ravens' competition for the second and third receiver spots, which includes Pro Bowl kick returner Jacoby Jones, former fourth-round draft pick Tandon Doss, David Reed, LaQuan Williams and Aaron Mellette.

"He’s a gifted route-runner, and he is getting better," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "He’s young, and he’s developing. [Wide receivers] coach Jim Hostler is working with him, and certainly, getting him refined in all aspects of the game. He understands how to sink his hips. He can do a great job of changing direction.He has speed, can catch the ball, and he’s tough. I think that’s a pretty good
blend. He’s a young guy, so we will see. If he keeps improving the way he’s going, I think he will be a fine player.”

With the Ravens trading former Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers following a contract dispute this offseason, they have a void of experience outside.

Caldwell expressed confidence in the talent at the receiver position, especially the speed.

“I’m not real sure how defenses will look at us," Caldwell said. "I know one thing: They will look at us and see that we have some guys that can still get down the field and go. That can certainly give you some problems in a number of different ways. I think they look at every guy according to his strengths. Our guys with their strengths, they do have speed.

"They can get across the field. They can get down the field. They can catch and run. They are also very, very good blockers on the perimeter. I’m not quite certain how they will look at us. But, what I do know is the fact that we do have quite a few threats and quite a few people that they will probably be concerned with.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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FootballDeonte ThompsonNFL Pro BowlSuper Bowl XLVIIDavid ReedTandon Doss
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