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Ravens: Uphill battle for Streeter

OWINGS MILLS - Almost immediately after taking the snap the football was already out of quarterback Curtis Painter's hand, lofted toward the corner of the end zone intended for rookie wide receiver Tommy Streeter.

Cornerback Chykie Brown actually had decent position to defend Streeter's fade pattern, but it didn't matter.

Once the ball arrived, the athletic 6-foot-5 Streeter easily out-jumped the 5-foot-11 Brown, reaching over him to make a graceful, almost effortless looking grab for a touchdown.

Albeit in a training camp setting, it was exactly the type of play the Baltimore Ravens envisioned Streeter making when they selected him in the sixth round of April's NFL draft.

The problem for Streeter is that for every one of those acrobatic grabs, he's also had a head-scratching drop on a relatively routine play for most NFL receivers.

He's also still very raw after running an extremely limited route tree during his college career at the University of Miami.

"These past few days have been a learning process," Streeter said. "I've made mistakes, but also made plays. I'm just trying to not make the same mistake twice, just try to come out here and compete at a high level, have fun and just continue to get better each day."

There's no denying Streeter's ability as both a deep threat and a weapon in the red-zone.

At 6-5, 219 pounds, he blazed a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine in February for one of the fastest times among all skill position players.

During his lone season as a starter at Miami, he recorded 46 catches for 811 yards and eight touchdowns.

He averaged nearly 18 yards per catch.

"Tommy is a developmental guy," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's got all the tools in the world. He's got a good vision for what he wants to become as a player. It's going to take some time. It's a matter of time, but I don't think it's going to be as long as some people think."

Yet, while the Ravens would love to utilize his rare combination of size and athleticism - especially in the red-zone - Streeter may have a difficult time cementing a roster spot.

Frankly, it comes down to numbers.

Baltimore usually keeps five receivers on its regular season roster.

Three spots are already locked up - Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones - and Tandon Doss, who has impressed through the early part of camp, appears to have a job solidified as well.

This potentially leaves Streeter competing with returning contributor Laquan Williams and undrafted rookie speedster Deonte Thompson for the final roster spot among receivers.

David Reed could also factor into the mix depending on his recovery from a torn ACL suffered towards the end of last season.

Even if Baltimore decides to keep six receivers, which it did last year and could very well do again, it would most likely expect to have that player contribute on special teams, something which Streeter doesn't look very capable of doing.

For now, Streeter said he's just staying patient and focused on improving.

"Every day's not going to be a good day," Streeter said. "But as long as you can stack good days on top of each other where you've learned something and gotten better in some way, then in the long run everything will come together and you'll be in a good position."

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