With week 1 of training camp in the books, here’s a look at players who have impressed as well as players who need to improve before the start of the regular season.
WR Michael Campanaro (Wake Forest)
It’s hard to imagine that this kid wasn’t drafted until the final round of the 2014 draft, but that’s a story for another day. The fact is that right now there isn’t another rookie making a bigger impact in camp than Michael Campanaro. He’s a bit small at 185 pounds, but his route running and elusiveness makes him extremely dangerous in the open field. That skillset makes him a strong candidate to see some time at the slot position. Guys like Wes Welker and Danny Amendola come to mind when you think of what kind of contribution he can make for the offense.
RB Bernard Pierce (Temple)
He didn’t have quite the year he would’ve liked to have last season, but all signs point to a bounce back year for the former Eagle. With Ray Rice’s suspension drawing closer, the Ravens need Pierce to be dependable out of the backfield. He’s giving them no reason to suspect otherwise so far in camp. He’s had a strong week.
RT Rick Wagner (Wisconsin)
With the departure of Michael Oher, Wagner has been given a great opportunity to win the starting right tackle job for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s been in competition with Jah Reid since the start of camp. Wagner has so far done everything right to ensure he’s starting on Sundays while his teammate has struggled a tad bit against edge rushers during practice.
QB Keith Wenning (Ball State)
It’s still early, but the 6th round draft pick hasn’t done much to push Tyrod Taylor for that backup spot behind Joe Flacco. Gary Kubiak alluded to the fact that Wenning is still trying to learn the offense so it may be a bit unfair to criticize him too much. But he’ll have to do a much better job to convince coaches to let 3 QB’s on this team, let alone push for the 2nd signal caller position.
CB Chykie Brown (Texas)
When Corey Graham signed with the Buffalo Bills, he left a huge hole at the 3rd corner spot. The Ravens have been hoping that it would be Chykie Brown to fill that position. But if the first week of camp has been any indication, Baltimore will need to look elsewhere. Brown has struggled to make any kind of statement so far, getting beat repeatedly on deep patterns. Dean Pees told reporters that one of the main focuses this offseason was to work on preventing the big play from opposing offenses. Chykie has time to make amends, but this week was rough for the small corner.
FS Terrence Brooks (Florida State)
Calling him a dud may be a bit unfair given that he is a rookie. But there was maybe an unwarranted amount of hype placed on the young man when he was drafted that he so far has been unable to live up to. Brooks hasn’t made any type of big splash to have anyone believe he will win the free safety position in time for the week 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The more experienced Darian Stewart may be the odds on favorite to start. It should be pointed out that Brooks may grasp the offense well enough to eventually start opposite Matt Elam, but he still has a ways to go.
Other players to keep an eye on:
CB Deji Olataye – big, physical corner
WR Kamar Aiken – current dark horse in receiving corps. Fast and smart receiver. Currently running some plays with 1st team.
P Richie Leone – has quietly had a very good camp so far.