Baltimore Ravens

Seven Ravens generating buzz through first two OTAs

The Baltimore Ravens just wrapped up their second organized team activity (OTA).

Here are seven players generating some buzz through those first two OTAs (listed alphabetically):

Jeremy Butler, wide receiver

Butler has a tough road ahead to make Baltimore's roster. The Ravens already have four wide receivers that are essentially locks to make the team — Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown. They also have third-year player Deonte Thompson, who caught 10 passes in seven games last season and is arguably the fastest player on the team, as well as receivers they have drafted each of the last two years — Michael Campanaro and Aaron Mellette. They also recently brought back LaQuan Williams, a good special teams player who played in 23 games for Baltimore from 2011-12.

But Butler is making an impression through the early part of the offseason.

He will likely have to show he can contribute on special teams during the summer to make the team, but he has stood out at times with his play at receiver during rookie minicamp and during the two OTAs.

He has good size at 6-foot-2, 224 pounds, had a 36-inch vertical jump at his Pro Day and had 90 catches for 1,203 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at Tennesee-Martin last year.


Matt Elam, safety

Elam, the Ravens' top pick last year, had an underwhelming rookie season, but he continues to get singled out and praised for his work during OTAs the last two weeks.

As a rookie, Elam was tentative and afraid to make mistakes. It took him time to get comfortable, and he finished last year without a forced fumble and with just one interception. But teammates and coaches say Elam is noticeably more confident and vocal than he was a year ago.

Elam also dropped about 10 pounds after playing around 210 last season and said he feels "very good" at the lighter weight.

Justin Forsett, running back

The Ravens signed Forsett earlier this offseason to add depth at running back, especially with starting running back Ray Rice facing a possible multi-game suspension from the NFL. And while Forsett hasn't rushed for more than 374 yards since 2010, he has impressed Baltimore's coaches with how he looks running within new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme.

Forsett is fast. He has looked elusive. He has also looked good catching the ball out of the backfield.

He may not have much of a role once Rice returns from his suspension (if he does end up getting suspended). He may not even be a part of the team at that point. But he brings a different skill set to the table than backup Bernard Pierce and fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro, and he could play a role for Baltimore early in the season if Rice is suspended.


Ryan Jensen, right tackle

Jensen is competing with fellow second-year player Rick Wagner for the Ravens' starting right tackle job.

He didn't play as a rookie last year. He didn't even practice for around half the season after breaking his foot early in training camp. But he is big (around 315 pounds). He is physical. The Ravens describe him as a good athlete. And he will push Wagner for that job at right tackle.

"He looks good," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said of Jensen after an OTA practice Wednesday. "He was out there in a few scuffles out there today. He's got good feet. He's tough. He plays a little bigger than 6'3 ½ or whatever it is. You've seen guys that size play in this offense plenty of times before, so I think it's going to be a heck of a battle."

C.J. Mosley, inside linebacker

To the Ravens, Mosley, their top pick in this year's draft, has been as advertised thus far.

It's early in the offseason and the pads won't come on until late July, but Mosley has looked like the player Baltimore saw on his Alabama game film.

He moves well. He is instinctive. He has looked good in coverage. And he has done a good job picking up the Ravens' defense by all accounts.

Baltimore expects Mosley to be a Day One starter at weak-side linebacker.

Kelechi Osemele, left guard

Osemele is back after undergoing season-ending back surgery in November, and he said Wednesday that he feels as good physically as he has since he was about 19.

He has apparently looked good, too.

Harbaugh singled Osemele out during last week's OTA, and both Harbaugh and left tackle Eugene Monroe talked about how good Osemele looks after practice Wednesday.

"As far as explosiveness, it's hard to gauge that for any player because we're not hitting out here," Harbaugh said. "I don't think you can really evaluate the power that a guy has, but I don't doubt that it's in there with him if you just watch the way he moves. He looks good. He's going to be a lot better than he was last year. He's healthy, so it makes a big difference. I'm looking forward to seeing him once we put the pads on."

The Ravens' hope is that Osemele — now healthy — can be the Pro Bowl-caliber player at left guard they expected him to be going into last year, and they have had nothing but positive things to say about him to this point of the offseason.

Steve Smith, wide receiver

Smith may be 35, but he has looked good during the OTAs.

He has looked fast. During practice Wednesday, he caught a short pass over the middle and split the defense while running another 50 yards or so to the end zone.

He has also made some difficult, contested and acrobatic catches like he made so often during his time with the Carolina Panthers.

It's still early, but this is what the Ravens hoped Smith would look like when they signed him in March.