COMMENTARY | Heading into training camp, expectations were for the Baltimore Ravens to solve their less than desirable wide receiver situation by the end of the preseason.
So far, it doesn't appear as if that is the case, as the Ravens have dealt with an injury to Deonte Thompson, trading David Reed, and underwhelming performances by the likes of Tandon Doss and Tommy Streeter.
The Ravens still haven't had a receiver emerge to take the second starting job from Jacoby Jones, and all signs point to Jones winning the job by default. They may have solved the third receiver job as well, as newly signed Brandon Stokley already looks like quarterback Joe Flacco's go-to guy.
While Stokley's arrival was a welcomed addition to the team, a player who was already on the roster before training camp started may have a chance to make an impact this season.
After starting training camp at the bottom of the depth chart, undrafted rookie Marlon Brown -- from the University of Georgia -- has quickly emerged as a legitimate contender for a roster spot.
He had a bit of a coming-out party Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Brown played primarily with Flacco, and the two had a noticeable rhythm.
Is that performance enough to solidify a spot on the roster? Probably not. But as long as the other receivers on the roster continue to underwhelm, Brown's upside and consistency will earn him a roster spot.
Brown's emergence during training camp is a surprise, as the 6-foot-5-inch receiver suffered a torn ACL last November while playing at Georgia. The injury took away any chance Brown had of being selected in the 2013 draft, however, the Ravens jumped on the opportunity to sign the player with immense upside.
The speed at which he recovered from the injury was surprising, and the fact that he didn't miss any training-camp time gave him the opportunity that he has now -- go from undrafted rookie to a member of the active roster of the defending Super Bowl champions.
Right now, Brown is battling with Doss, LaQuan Williams and fellow rookie Aaron Mellette for one of the two assumed open wide receiver spots on the roster. Depending on how serious Thompson's injury is, he could be placed on injured reserve, opening another spot for a receiver, although that doesn't seem likely at this point.
Doss' inconsistencies have made him a legitimate cut candidate, and Williams' nonexistence on offense could hurt him when it comes to final cuts. Brown and Mellette may not be prime special-teams players, but they both provide the upside on offense that the Ravens need.
Brown still has one more game to prove himself, but with the way the coaching staff has valued him so far this season, it seems as though he has an inside track to a spot on the final roster.
Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He contributes to various football sites and is the editor of Cat Crave.
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- Tandon Doss
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