Ravens training camp: Looking at some potential breakout players

Every year, training camp provides a means, among other things, for players to make their case either for a starting job or simply for an expanded role.
Here are some of the prime candidates to emerge during this year's camp (listed alphabetically):

ILB Josh Bynes
Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown enter camp as the two favorites to start at inside linebacker with Jameel McClain yet to be cleared to return from the spinal cord injury he suffered in December, but Bynes will factor into the competition for playing time as well, especially should McClain not be able to play.
Bynes, who signed with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent in 2011, started three games at inside linebacker late last season. He had 13 tackles in his first start against the Denver Broncos and nine in the Ravens' regular season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. He worked primarily with the first-team defense during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp and was commended by coaches and teammates for his play.


CB Chykie Brown
Cornerback is considered one of the deepest position groups on the Ravens' roster, and Brown appears likely to end up as just the No. 4 corner. But he's a player who teammates and coaches say has greatly improved during the last few years and will at the very least push for playing time in Baltimore's sub-packages during the next several weeks.
Brown, a fifth-round pick of the Ravens in 2011, saw extensive playing time in the Ravens' sub-packages last season and drew high praise for his play from coach John Harbaugh and safety Ed Reed among others.

TE Ed Dickson
Dickson's role diminished last season as Dennis Pitta emerged as a bigger piece of the offense.
But Dickson is just two years removed from catching 54 passes and five touchdowns, was one of the standouts of the OTAs and minicamp and looks in line to once again be a primary piece of the Ravens' passing game.

WR Tandon Doss
Doss, a fourth-round pick in 2011, is one of several players competing for playing time at wide receiver. Doss has just seven catches through his first two NFL seasons, but he has good size (6-foot-2, 207 pounds), is arguably the best route runner on the Ravens' roster, has arguably the best hands on the roster and impressed during OTAs and minicamp while working a good amount with the first-team offense.

Safety Matt Elam
Elam, Baltimore's top pick in this year's draft, enters camp as the favorite to land the starting safety job next to Michael Huff. Elam was a first-team All-American at the University of Florida last season and earned positive reviews from Ravens coaches and teammates through the early part of the offseason.
But for a player like Elam, whose game is built around physicality and aggressiveness, training camp should provide an even better opportunity for him to shine.

CB Jimmy Smith
Smith, the Ravens' top pick in 2011, has yet to live up to expectations, but he did come up big late in Baltimore's Super Bowl run and was consistently praised by coaches during the early part of the offseason for an apparently improved work ethic and for the shape he showed up in.
Baltimore secondary coach Teryl Austin in particular said last month that Smith "has really stepped up, and it's really showed in how he's played and how he's progressed this offseason." Smith is in competition with Corey Graham for Baltimore's starting cornerback job opposite Lardarius Webb.

WR Deonte Thompson
Thompson has yet to catch a meaningful pass in the NFL, but he's maybe the fastest player on the Ravens' roster, and several high-ranking members of Baltimore's organization have raved this offseason about Thompson's potential.
Thompson signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent last year and was one of the standouts of last year's training camp and preseason. He has also showed some potential as a kick returner. He was Baltimore's kick returner the first five games of last season and averaged 25.9 yards per return.
NOTE: The first full-team practice of training camp is Thursday afternoon