The Ravens have a long history of finding undrafted rookie gems -- Priest Holmes, Bart Scott and Jameel McClain among others. Two more of them running back Bobby Rainey and wide receiver Deonte Thompson -- were keys to the Ravens 31-17 win over Atlanta in the preseason opener.
Rainey, a 5-foot-8, 212-pound running back from Western Kentucky, continues to make himself impossible to ignore.
Rainey finished the game with a team-high 12 carries for 36 yards and also had three receptions for 28 yards, including a nifty 18-yard, catch-and-run touchdown.
Rainey, a Georgia native playing in front of family and friends at the Georgia Dome, also served as the primary punt returner. Jacoby Jones is expected to be the No. 1 returner, but Rainey had six returns last night for an 8.3-yard average in his first extended audition for that job.
Rainey is in the fight for the job to back up Ray Rice, and he looked stronger last night than second-year back Anthony Allen. Allen, who was also enjoying a homecoming of sorts after playing at Georgia Tech, carried five times for 9 yards, and also dropped a pass and missed a key block on a blitz.
Thompson, meanwhile, proved that his speed can be a dangerous weapon. The 6-foot, 203-pound speedster from Florida, had three receptions for 53 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown.
On that same scoring drive, Thompson twice got behind the Falcons defense, with one play leading to a 48-yard pass interference penalty on Falcons defensive back Robert McClain.
Thompson still needs polish, but his speed can make things happen.
There are still three preseason games left, and jobs still need to be won. But Rainey and Thompson, two guys who never heard their names called in the NFL Draft, certainly helped their cause last night.