Yesterday, since they decided to make him their first-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens finally got to see wide receiver Marquise Brown take the field. Having suffered a Lisfranc injury from which he was still recovering at draft time, the team knew that it might take this long to get back to practice, or even bleed into the regular season.
But just a handful of days after passing the Ravens’ conditioning test, Brown also received his clearance to return to football activities, and he did so on Wednesday. Granted, the team is not throwing him full-bore into the fire. They limited him to working only on individual drills for now, though team drills will come in the future.
Getting him back on the field at the start of August, however, makes it realistic that they might have his services available to them when the Ravens begin their regular-season schedule. They expect him to add a critical vertical element to their offense, an essential counter to their planned run-heavy approach behind Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards.
Said Head Coach John Harbaugh about getting his latest first-round pick back on the field, “hopefully his progression to practice will be pretty fast. We’ll see”. He added, “we don’t want any setbacks. We don’t have to over-rush him now. But I am looking forward to seeing him out there with other guys in real situations and see how he does”.
The first step in the process is evaluating how he feels this morning, given that this is the first, most extensive pressure that he should have put on his recovering foot since his injury. If he is able to wake up while feeling only a minimal amount of pain, then it would indicate that he is well on the road to a full recovery.
Brown, who is believed to be one of the fastest players to enter the draft in years despite the fact that he was unable to test at the Combine due to his injury, admitted that he hasn’t “gotten to flat-out run yet, but as far as moving around, I feel like I’m moving pretty good”.
He is part of what is a nearly entirely renovated wide receiver corps whose only meaningful carryovers from last season are slot receiver Willie Snead and depth option Chris Moore. They signed Seth Roberts and Michael Floyd in free agency, and in addition to Brown, also used a third-round draft choice on Miles Boykin.
It will be imperative that the team’s young quarterback, second-year Lamar Jackson, is actually capable of delivering them the football. That would especially be the case for Brown, who figures to have the longest depth of target of the group.