Rookie Camp Notebook: Kapron Lewis-Moore, Jerry Rice Adapt In Own Way

Posted on May 17, 2014 by Joe Platania

OWINGS MILLS -- When a bunch of rookies are getting their NFL indoctrination from a work-oriented coach such as the Ravens' John Harbaugh, they shouldn't expect to hit the ground with a parachute.

Like the ill-fated Wile E. Coyote, they usually are saddled with an anvil.

"[Fourth-round pick] Lorenzo Taliaferro told me that he had never been so sore in his life without hitting," Harbaugh said after the Ravens' two-day rookie minicamp concluded. "We push [the rookies]. We don't [ease] them in like other teams do. We do as much as we can without tackling or hitting."

Numerous tryout bodies -- unsigned players who are not listed on the roster -- joined 27 rookies and undrafted free agents, and many stood out during their first stints on an NFL practice field.

Even though 2013 sixth-round pick Kapron Lewis-Moore entered the league last year, it was essentially a redshirt season for him as he rehabilitated a torn knee ligament suffered during the 2012 Bowl Championship Series national championship game.

Kapron Lewis-Moore

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox

Lewis-Moore, who went to Notre Dame, is in the defensive line mix, and he is taking advantage of his eligibility to be practicing with the rookies. He wore a brace on his right knee as a precautionary measure.

"I haven't been on a football field for a year and a half," Lewis-Moore said with a smile. "So, it feels good to be out there. … My technique is a little rusty. I just want to take it one day at a time."

Harbaugh agreed.

"He looked good," he said of Lewis-Moore. "There are no [residual] effects from the knee, as far as I could tell. We loaded him up with double-teams and  … he had pain in the hips and the lower back, as you might expect."

Lewis-Moore currently is carrying 310 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame, which is what he weighed when he was drafted.

But he said he intended to lose a little weight before his role within the line -- whether as a defensive tackle or end -- is determined.

"I have no idea [about my role]," Lewis-Moore said. "I'm just going to go out there and do what they tell me to do."

Wide receiver Jerry Rice Jr. has probably been told plenty about playing that position from his Hall of Fame father, including how to maximize each practice repetition.

During the shorts-and-shells workout, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Rice -- who played collegiately at Nevada-Las Vegas -- caught a short slant pass and ran at full speed toward the end zone long after the whistle had blown, something his father certainly would have done.

"He's probably had the [West Coast offense] playbook since he was in the cradle," Harbaugh said of Rice. "He doesn't have his father's size, but he's got good hands and is smooth -- a great athlete."

Speaking of smooth, third-round pick Crockett Gillmore looked rather effortless in his pass routes and blocking assignments, while wideout Gerrard Sheppard -- who attended Towson University and was a practice squad member last year -- dominated the last session with several fine catches.

Another target wasn't available: seventh-round pick Michael Campanaro tweaked a hamstring earlier during camp.

On the defensive side of the ball, third-round pick and safety Terrence Brooks missed the camp because of his fiancée giving birth, and fourth-round defensive end Brent Urban was still recovering from ankle surgery.

Veteran running back Bernard Pierce is on the comeback trail from a shoulder procedure, and training camp is the likely timeline for him as well.

Joe Platania is in his 21st season covering professional football.

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