Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown recently underwent surgery to remove a screw from his foot, according to NFL Network, but he is expected to be fully healthy for training camp.
Earlier this week, general manager Eric DeCosta said he expects Brown to make a big jump in his second NFL season, and being healthy in Week 1 would be a good start. Last year, Brown missed OTAs and was eased into action in training camp as he recovered from a Lisfranc foot injury.
The Ravens’ first-round draft pick last year, who goes by the nickname “Hollywood,” finished the season with 46 catches for 584 yards — tops among Ravens wide receivers — and seven touchdown catches, which tied a Ravens rookie record held by Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown.
“Receivers typically make a big jump from their first to second season,” DeCosta said at his NFL Scouting Combine news conference in Indianapolis. “We think that’s going to happen with Hollywood.”
Brown missed two midseason games after suffering an ankle injury in Week 5 at Pittsburgh, and he acknowledged that he was never 100 percent last season. The recent procedure
Still, his straight-line speed and highlight-reel ability were hard to miss. His first two career receptions were touchdown catches of 47 and 83 yards in Week 1 at Miami, as he became the first player in NFL history with two touchdown catches of 40-plus yards in his career debut.
The Ravens’ struggles with finding impact receivers via the draft is well documented. Only one of the 29 wide receivers drafted by the Ravens has ever compiled a 1,000-yard season for the team, and that was Smith in his third year.
Smith finished with 50 catches for 841 yards as a rookie and compiled virtually identical numbers (49-855) his second season. In his third season, in 2013, Smith established career highs with 65 catches for 1,128 yards.
But DeCosta is correct that many receivers make a notable jump in production in their second season. Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster finished his rookie season with 58 catches for 917 yards and made major jumps in both categories his second year (111-1,426).
Denver’s Courtland Sutton, a second-round pick in 2018, had 42 catches for 704 yards as a rookie, then finished this past season with 72 catches for 1,112 yards. Former Maryland receiver DJ Moore, drafted at No. 24 overall by Carolina in 2018 (Brown was the No. 25 overall pick) had 55 catches for 788 yards as a rookie, then this past year caught 87 passes for 1,175 yards.
|Receiver||First Year||Second Year|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster||58 catches, 917 yards||111 catches, 1,426 yards|
|Courtland Sutton||42 catches, 704 yards||72 catches, 1,112 yards|
|DJ Moore||55 catches, 788 yards||87 catches, 1,175 yards|
|Marquise Brown||46 catches,584 yards||???|
Granted, none of those receivers play in a run-first, ball-control system led by reigning Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson, so Brown might never see the 130-plus targets that Moore or Smith-Schuster had in their breakout seasons. (Brown was targeted 71 times this past year.) But DeCosta made clear that he expects Brown to be a major factor in the Ravens’ offense moving forward.
“We’re really excited about him,” DeCosta said “Number one, he’s got great work ethic. He’s explosive. I think you all saw his hands, his ability to catch the ball in traffic, and make contested catches for a little guy. He’s got a great attitude.
“I think coming off the injury that he had, which was a significant injury,” DeCosta added, “to see how he rebounded week to week and … and made big plays all throughout the year, that was exciting. We’re excited about that.”
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