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.
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