By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
7:02 PM EDT, August 17, 2013
Ravens rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette can't be accused of failing to capitalize on his limited opportunities.
Targeted only twice through two preseason games, the seventh-round draft pick from Elon has scored a touchdown each time.
That includes a 40-yard touchdown catch during a 27-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night and a 21-yard score against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to launch the preseason.
As Mellette makes his bid for one of the final roster spots or the practice squad, he has boosted his prospects.
"I think it's helping out a lot, going out there and performing well in the game, letting the coaches see what I can do," said Mellette, who has two catches for 61 yards for a 30.5 average per reception. "When it gets into game situation, I'm able to perform. I'm a big-time gamer. I love to practice, but I love to play the game as well. It's less thinking to me in a game. I'm just out there reacting."
Mellette was banished to the sideline at practice last week by coach John Harbaugh, who criticized him for being lazy and lackadaisical. The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder shrugged it off and has performed adeptly in practices and games.
"That's how you make it, that's how you earn your stripes: you make plays," Harbaugh said. "You got to do it within the context of knowing what you're doing and you got to stack days.
"It's not just two catches. It's all the other things that go with it. You can have two great catches and everything else could not be there and you're not doing what you need to do. He's doing all those things and doing a good job."
Mellette dominated the Southern Conference, catching 304 career passes for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns. Now, Mellette is finding out that his game is translating at the NFL level.
"Every single day, I'm gaining confidence," Mellette said. "You don't want to be second-guessing yourself. Ever since we first reported, my confidence has been shooting up. Every game, I'm going in looking to score. Every touch, I'm looking to raise the bar for myself."
As Mellette was talking to several reporters, Harbaugh smiled and said one word while walking up the steps to his office: "Humility," as a joking reminder to the rookie to not get a swelled head.
It remains unclear if the Ravens will increase his playing time during the final two preseason games.
"I hope so, but that's really not my decision," Mellette said. "I think the competition has been pretty good. It's pretty fun. Every day, you got to compete and give your all. The one day you might take off, another guy might just jump ahead of you because he's having a great day. So, it makes you want to be consistent each day."