OWINGS MILLS - The wide receiver position is arguably the Baltimore Ravens' top remaining question mark, but, for what it's worth, coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco both voiced confidence Wednesday in the group Baltimore has in place.
Torrey Smith is firmly entrenched as a starter on one side, but it's still unclear who will step into the starting role opposite him, the one formerly occupied by Anquan Boldin.
Jacoby Jones may wind up filling that role, but Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson and David Reed are among the other early favorites.
And even if none of them ends up starting, Doss, Thompson and Reed are all part of a young group of receivers that, barring a veteran being signed, will battle for an expanded role in the Ravens' passing game during the months leading up to the regular season.
"They are handling it well," Harbaugh said of the young receivers following Baltimore's organized team activity (OTA) practice Wednesday. "They have always gotten reps in the sense of practice reps, [but] they look stronger than ever. They are all in the best shape of their lives, so they are ready to handle the workload in terms of practice reps. They have all reacted very well to the first two days of practice, so they are playing like veterans out there right now. [They] just have to keep improving every day, [then we'll] take them into the preseason and see how they do."
With Jones absent from Wednesday's practice, Doss and Thompson saw the most time opposite Smith with the first-team offense. Doss, in particular, made several nice grabs throughout the course of the practice, including a touchdown catch during the team portion of practice.
Doss has just seven catches in two NFL seasons - and he did drop some passes in limited action last season - but he's a former fourth-round pick with good size (6-foot-2, 207 pounds) who is regarded as a polished route-runner with arguably the best hands among the Ravens' receivers.
Reed also saw time with the first-team offense Wednesday.
"They're doing well," Flacco said of the young receivers. "I think we hit the ground running pretty good yesterday. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but our pace is good [and] everybody is lining up doing all the right things. ...
"Those guys are doing a great job right now catching the football and being in the right spots."
It's still possible the Ravens could sign a receiver during the next few months, but, at least Wednesday, Flacco said he's "excited about who we have."
"I like the idea of having guys that we've had, we've drafted here or we've picked up here and grooming them and getting those guys to become great wide receivers," Flacco said. "They definitely have the talent to do it. I think we just need to get them some reps. And when I say reps, I mean game time reps so their confidence can take off.
"One of the biggest things about Anquan [Boldin] is that he knew he was the man. So when he went out there, he didn't care what happened. He was the man. You don't realize how much that helps out your play and your team's play. And when these young guys can get to the point where they're out there and their attitude is that, they have all the ability in the world and I feel very confident with those guys."