"I understand that I have to get better each and every day," said WR Miles Boykin. "Drops happen, I understand that. But for me, that’s unacceptable."
Ravens rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin might not face a tougher secondary this season than the one he shares a locker room with.
Which has its advantages. The third-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, who’s second on the team this preseason with five catches and 83 yards, said veteran cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith have pulled him aside after some plays this summer to offer praise and constructive criticism.
" 'Listen, you should do this,’ or, ‘That was a good move. I thought you were going to do this and you did something else,’ " he said Monday. “That’s been cool to see with the vets, obviously, and that’s something that you don’t see a lot. I’m playing with people who have been in the league for a long time, and they tell me what’s working for what they’ve seen. So from that standpoint, I try to take knowledge from everybody that’s out on that field.”
The Ravens haven’t been shy about testing their young guns. In Thursday’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ravens started five rookies on offense — quarterback Trace McSorley, wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Boykin, running back Justice Hill and guard Ben Powers — while veterans rested. Boykin said that at one point, a few of them looked at each other in the huddle and someone said, “Shoot, hopefully, five, six years from now, we’re going to say this is our first game where we all played together.”
But only Boykin seems like a sure-thing starter in the Ravens’ season opener against the Miami Dolphins, meaning he’s likely to sit Thursday’s preseason finale against the Washington Redskins. It’s unclear whether Brown, the first-round pick who made his preseason debut Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles, will play.
Boykin said he’s not worried about the size of his role, only his execution.
“Obviously, I want to go in there and do great things for the team, but no matter what role, I’m going to help the team win,” he said. “My aim is to help the team any way I can. If it’s a starter, then that’s great. If it’s a backup, that’s great, too. So whatever role I’m put in, I’m going to be successful.”
‘On the chopping block’
Ravens center-guard Bradley Bozeman didn’t have to worry much about whether he’d make the team’s 53-man roster last season. The team is typically keen on making space for draft picks.
But with the Ravens’ uncertainty at left guard, his fate is a little less certain. With Jermaine Eluemunor sidelined for Thursday’s game in Philadelphia, Bozeman started at left guard and played there for nearly three quarters. Though he started as a junior and senior at center for Alabama, the 2018 sixth-round pick also saw time at guard last year.
“I’ve always been an interior guy,” he said. “I played a little bit of tackle at college. But it’s been kind of a round robin for me, just bouncing [around] and being available to showcase what I can do and to be in that role if I’m called upon.”
The competition is stiff. James Hurst ended last season as the team’s starting left guard and has experience along the line. Eluemunor has since returned to practice. Undrafted free agent Patrick Mekari impressed near the end of training camp with his play at center and guard.