Giving some young players a closer look should be part of the Ravens’ strategy moving forward. At 2-7, the Ravens are going home after Week 17, not to the playoffs. For them to become a Super Bowl contender again in 2016, they need to find out which young players they can count on.
That list includes running back Buck Allen, safety Terrence Brooks, inside linebackers Arthur Brown and Zach Orr, wide receiver Jeremy Butler, defensive tackle Carl Davis, outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, and defensive ends Kapron Lewis-Moore and Brent Urban.
Giving young players an opportunity does not mean the Ravens should forget about trying to win. Losing more games and getting a higher draft position would not guarantee the Ravens a terrific draft.
However, the Ravens need to make accurate evaluations on young players who are healthy. What better way than to give them regular-season action against the opposing team’s starters?
The process of working more young players into the lineup began somewhat Sunday against the Jaguars. Butler played a season-high 19 snaps and caught his first pass in the NFL. Orr played seven snaps, and Brown played eight snaps, the first non-special teams action Brown had seen since 2013.
A second-round draft pick in 2013, Brown has been stuck on the depth chart behind Daryl Smith and C. J. Mosley. It’s time to find out if Brown can help the Ravens next year, or if he’s a draft bust who needs to move on.
Asked how he thought Brown played Sunday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, “Arthur did a good- played fast and was excited to be out there. (He) ran to the ball, made a couple of plays – nothing spectacular, but nothing that made you concerned, either. He has done a real good job in practice, and Arthur deserved a little more playing time, and he did well with it.”
Other young players should take heed. An opportunity for more playing time is there.
MORE RAVENS: Perriman tweets thoughts about season-ending injury