The Ravens brought some clarity to their young wide receiver competition by placing 2018 fourth-round pick Jaleel Scott on injured reserve on Monday morning.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound product from New Mexico State had hoped to at least contribute as a red-zone threat in his rookie season, but he hadn’t stood out during training camp and failed to make a positive impression in the first three preseason games as he caught only one pass for nine yards. Scott’s chances to make the 53-man roster appeared to plummet last Monday when he played only three offensive snaps and dropped a pass late in the fourth quarter in Indianapolis. The 23-year-old did not play in Saturday’s win at Miami, which only increased doubts regarding his future.
Head coach John Harbaugh said Scott had sustained a “really serious” hamstring injury. The rookie had participated in practices last Wednesday and Thursday before sitting out Saturday’s game, which prompted scrutiny from outsiders that the organization was stashing him. The Ravens have never cut a fourth-round draft pick in their rookie season, a streak that will continue with Scott moving to IR and not counting against the 53-man roster while remaining with the organization.
What the rest of the receiver group will look like behind roster locks Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead, and Chris Moore is yet to be determined. Fifth-round rookie Jordan Lasley has flashed potential in the spring and summer, but he was having a disappointing preseason before rebounding to catch three passes for 30 yards against Miami. As advertised coming out of UCLA, Lasley has shown big-play capabilities in practice, but his hands have been maddeningly inconsistent.
There’s also the question of who will return kickoffs and punts for Baltimore. Tim White and Janarion Grant are competing for the job and have experienced struggles with both losing a fumble against the Colts. Grant received the bulk of the return opportunities against Miami, but White stood out as a receiver by catching three passes for a game-high 70 receiving yards in the 27-10 victory. Of course, there’s no guarantee either one will make the roster as the Ravens could seek outside return help or simply allow established veterans such as Chris Moore and Willie Snead to handle those responsibilities, saving a roster spot in the process.
Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman is also trying to make the team, but his fall down the depth chart and lack of special-teams contributions would appear to make his chances tenuous at best.
To take Scott’s place on the 53-man roster, the Ravens re-signed cornerback Robertson Daniel, who spent parts of the the last two seasons with the organization and was waived in early May. He appeared in one game for Baltimore in 2016 and adds another option to the mix with top cornerback Jimmy Smith suspended for the first four games of the regular season and the versatile Maurice Canady recently dealing with nagging injuries.