The Baltimore Ravens, having lost their top two wide receivers in the offseason, allowing John Brown to walk and releasing Michael Crabtree, decided to use the 2019 NFL Draft to invest heavily in the position. They took the first wide receiver of the entire draft off the board in the late stages of the first round, selecting Marquise Brown, certainly one of the fastest players in the draft—though it would be a while before they could see it.
Brown spent the offseason recovering from a foot injury that prevented him from working out at the Combine or in the offseason. The first-round pick started training camp on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List, but was cleared somewhat recently.
He practiced for the first time on Saturday, working only in individual drills, doing the same thing the following day before getting Monday off. When he returned to practice yesterday, he was a near-full participant for the first time all season as he continues to get back to 100 percent from a Lisfranc injury.
The Ravens play their second preseason game tomorrow, hosting the Green Bay Packers. I would not expect to see him out on the field so soon. “Whatever they tell me, I’ll just stick to the timeline”, the rookie told the team’s website about when he might play in a game.
While the Ravens held out hope following rookie minicamp that he might be able to be full-go for the start of training camp, the long-term goal was always simply for him to be ready for the start of the regular season, where he would feature as a key piece of a new-look offense that utilize his great speed to stretch the field and open up the box for a three-headed rushing attack between backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards and quarterback Lamar Jackson, who set a single-season record for rushing attempts by a quarterback as a rookie—despite starting only seven games.
Said Head Coach John Harbaugh of Brown’s performance in his first work in team drills, “he looked great today. It’s going to be a process with Marquise. We’ll see how he feels from one day to the next. It’s healing. Part of it is just getting stronger from the reps. He’s been healing, so he hasn’t been running. There are muscles in there that need to be trained, but he looked great today. He looked really good”.
I’m sure the team would like to be able to get him some reps in the third preseason game, but they won’t risk it if there is a legitimate concern when the time comes to decide whether or not he should play that it might result in a setback.
Without Brown on the field, the Ravens’ other top wide receivers have been Willie Snead, Chris Moore, and third-round rookie Miles Boykin, who has been making plays for the offense since rookie minicamp.