Shemar Bridges has the opportunity of a lifetime to break into the Baltimore Ravens’ final 53-man roster in 2022, and Thursday’s preseason game put him on the right track.
The undrafted rookie wideout was easily the standout of Baltimore’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans as Bridges recorded four catches for 62 yards and touchdown. Heading into the regular season, the battle for the final roster spots will be a wide-open competition in the wide receiver room.
Only a few Ravens players have guaranteed spots: Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche. The rest of the depth chart remains up in the air and could get seriously shaken up between now and Week 1.
Assuming the team rosters five or six wide receivers, there are as many as three spots up for grabs, and Bridges has a good shot at winning one of them.
At 6-foot-4 and weighing 207 pounds, Shemar Bridges poses as a bigger-bodied, physical wide receiver that the Ravens could use on the field (Rashod Bateman is 6-foot-1, and Devin Duvernay and James Proche II are both 5-11).
Ravens’ Shemar Bridges is making a strong case for himself to win a final roster spot
In the Ravens’ 23-10 win on Thursday, fans got their first glimpse of Bridges’ unique talent when Bridges jumped up for two acrobatic grabs: one was a 38-yard catch in the second quarter and the other was a 14-yard touchdown catch.
In both, Bridges showcased his wide wingspan and leaping ability to make contested catches. After the game, Bridges told reporters:
"“I wanted to just come in this game and just show that I can play big and do it on a consistent level. I feel like I did alright with that. I got a lot more work to put in. Just got to stay humble and keep going.”"
Does Bridges have the consistency and talent to make a big enough impact in the passing offense?
He has the right underdog mentality, at the very least. A self-described “late bloomer,” Bridges was a zero-star recruit and an undrafted prospect from Fort Valley State who wasn’t even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Whereas other rookies like Slade Bolden got plenty of exposure from scouts, Bridges entered Baltimore as a backend developmental project who posed a low risk and low reward.
Bridges comes from humble beginnings and has beaten the odds to make it this far in his career; after his stunning performance against the Titans, though, Bridges could prove to be an especially dynamic big-play weapon given his skillset.
If Shemar Bridges can put together a few more dominant preseason performances, that final roster spot will be calling his name.