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Three Ravens who could break out in 2015

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Three Ravens who could break out in 2015

Ravens rookies have already reported, and training camp starts next week. Here are three players that didn’t start last year who I think could have breakout seasons:

Jeremy Butler, WR

Butler was probably the team’s best player during offseason workouts. Joe Flacco said Butler, “Might have had 1,500 yards in a three-day minicamp.” The competition at wide receiver is very crowded, so Butler must continue to impress the coaching staff during training camp to earn playing time. But Butler showed promise last year as an undrafted rookie, catching six passes for 50 yards during the preseason. A shoulder injury sent Butler to the injured list last year. If he stays healthy, Butler could force his way into the wide receiver rotation.

Timmy Jernigan, DT

The reasons for Jernigan’s potential breakout are obvious. Haloti Ngata has departed to the Lions, and Jernigan is a playmaker with enormous talent. Jernigan’s quickness gives him the ability to make plays in the opponent’s backfield, pressuring quarterbacks and dropping running backs for losses. But can Jernigan be just as effective getting more reps, or will his stamina and body wear down as he is asked to do more? We’re about to find out.

Brent Urban, DE

Urban is huge (6-foot-7, 295 pounds), and he’s hungry after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Urban’s size and athleticism will push veteran Chris Canty for a starting role. During minicamp, coach John Harbaugh had to scold Urban for getting too close to Flacco a few times. But once the season starts, if Urban gets close to Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, Harbaugh won’t mind.

MORE RAVENS: Ravens place rookie on PUP list to start 2015 season

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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