Rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown wasn’t quite ready for the start of training camp, but the Ravens didn’t have to wait too much longer for their first-round pick to finally hit the field.
The first-round pick passed his physical and was removed from the non-football injury list Tuesday, paving the way for his practice debut when the Ravens return to work Wednesday morning. Less than seven months after undergoing Lisfranc surgery on his left foot, Brown is finally ready to show Baltimore the explosive play-making ability that led to over 2,400 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns over two seasons at the University of Oklahoma.
“He was exciting to watch in college, and he’s going to be exciting on the field,” wide receiver Chris Moore said Monday. “With somebody like that on the field, it helps everybody else. It spreads out the field; it makes everybody else get open. It’s going to be exciting to have him out there.”
Brown is expected to be brought along slowly in practices as he sees his first football action since the College Football Playoff semifinal last Dec. 29. The 26th overall pick in April’s draft injured his foot in the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 1 and underwent surgery in January, sidelining him for the entire pre-draft process and spring workouts.
Despite Brown’s injury and a slight 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame, the Ravens were intrigued enough by his speed and athleticism to make him just the fourth wide receiver selected in the first round in team history. On the night Brown was drafted, general manager Eric DeCosta said he would “conservatively” be back for training camp, but a major key in his return will be how much soreness he feels while changing directions, which was considered the last hurdle for him to begin practicing.
Over the first five full-squad practices of training camp, Brown worked out on his own on a side field and observed from the sideline while waiting for final clearance from team doctors.
“They want to make sure that ‘this cut’ and ‘that cut’ don’t make him feel pain,” head coach John Harbaugh said last Thursday. “They’re probably erring on the side of caution to some degree.”
In Brown’s absence, third-round rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin has turned heads early in camp, making a number of plays against the first-team defense and looking like Baltimore’s best wide receiver. The Ravens envision the two adding considerable upside to a run-first offense led by second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson.