Ravens: 3 pleasant surprises from training camp so far

Ravens. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ravens. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Ar'Darius Washington
Ar’Darius Washington (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

2. Ar’Darius Washington

Making the roster as an undrafted free agent is one of the steepest uphill battles at any training camp, but Ar’Darius Washington just might have a shot.

Last season, Baltimore didn’t keep any undrafted rookies on their 53-man roster for the first time in 17 years. That doesn’t bode well for Washington, but then again, he’s used to adversity – at his height and size (he’s only 5-foot-8!), he has no business playing this game.

Yet the diminutive safety has seriously impressed all over the field from making plays in coverage to creating backfield pressures. What Washington lacks in size, he makes up for with instincts and ball skills. What can we say? The guy has a nose for the football.

Washington finished his collegiate career with five interceptions and 85 total tackles, and in 2019, he was ranked by PFF as the nation’s second-highest graded safety. Since the Ravens didn’t draft a safety this year, he could find his way onto the roster as a backup secondary piece.

Washington shares many similarities with Tyrann Mathieu, and we could see him force more turnovers the more reps he gets in with the Ravens’ defense.

As mentioned before, size is a concern, but there’s a host of reasons the Ravens should give the little guy a chance. Washington’s performed extremely well as a blitzer in Martindale’s defensive scheme when he’s closing in on short routes. In the backfield, he might run into more trouble trying to keep up with speedy receivers, but for what he’s shown in camp these past weeks, he’s been a surprising standout whose stock continues to rise.

The Ravens may throw Washington in their first preseason game to see if he sinks or swims. Our money is on swim.