This week, fans will get to see their represented NFL team for the first time before rosters get finalized in just a few weeks. This is also an opportunity for all of the incoming the rookies to get their first real taste of NFL action within a pro stadium. For the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, this is an opportunity to see if the off-season moves have helped or hurt each franchise. Both teams have had their share of injuries and off-season news, but now it will be about how well equipped they will be going into the regular season.
Who To Look For- Redskins:
WR, Terrelle Pryor Sr.
Losing two 1,000-yard receivers in the off-season is tough, but the Redskins may be getting a dark horse in wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. In Cleveland, Pryor managed 1,007 yards and 4 touchdowns, as the team cycled through five different quarterbacks. The Redskins believe that with a signal caller like Kirk Cousins, Pryor could be the next elite receiver. Pryor caught 55% of the passes thrown his way in 2016, and even averaged 13.1 yards per reception. With his 4.3 forty-yard dash speed, and his previous quarterback knowledge of the game, Pryor can prove to be a solid addition.
DE, Jonathan Allen
The Redskins needed to bolster their defensive line, and they solved it by drafting defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. In his Junior and Senior seasons, Allen recorded over 10 sacks at Alabama, and even won the 2016 Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Award as the nations top defender. The greatest attribute of Allen is his versatility; Allen is able to line up on the outside or inside of the tackle, and has proven to be great against the run game. Allen was essentially drafted to stop Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, and if he is as good as he is scouted to be, it could give the Redskins an edge they so desperately need.
SS, Su’a Cravens
Su’a Cravens is a hybrid player that can either play inside the box, or can provide help over the top for cornerbacks. Cravens played in eleven games last season, but wasn’t the playmaker they were hoping for, but that could be because the Redskins didn’t know where to put him. This season, Cravens has made a full commitment to playing safety, alongside D.J. Swearinger. Cravens has a nose for the ball, and contains physical attributes to make the big plays that the Redskins defense desires.
Who to look for – Ravens:
Ravens running game
The glaring downside from last season for the Ravens was their lack of a run game. The franchise finished 28th in the league in rushing attempts and yards, leaving Flacco to carry the offense on his shoulders. The fact is that a balanced attack is always the best way to give any team the best chance to win. Marty Mornhinweg has said that he was going to revamp the rushing attack for this season, and with the status of Flacco up in the air, they are going to need to rely on run game more than ever.
MLB, Kamalei Correa
The Ravens losing Zach Orr was very unfortunate, seeing as how he led the team in tackles (89), and was second in interceptions (3). One thing the Ravens do well is draft depth when it comes to the defense. Kamalei Correa was expected to see significant time last season, but was sidelined after only playing nine games. Correa is now expected to snag the other inside linebacker spot next to C.J. Mosley, and fans will finally get to see if he has the coverage skills to cover tight ends over the middle and stop the run game.
WR, Quincy Adeboyejo
It is pretty well known that Maclin, Wallace and Perriman are going to be the three main starters for the Ravens offense in 2017, but undrafted rookie receiver Quincy Adeboyejo has been making some noise. Abeboyejo has, apparently, been a big play receiver over this past week of camp, and has impressed multiple coaches and players. Standing at 6’3″, and running a 4.42 forty-time, Adeboyejo is a prospect worth watching in the first preseason game. The Ravens have never been known to find wide receiver talent on their own, but Harbaugh will be sure to make sure he has plenty of targets thrown his way, based on what he has shown so far.