OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- On one of the first plays of 11-on-11 drills during Ravens minicamp June 13, wide receiver Chris Moore made a leaping grab along the right sideline and came down with the catch as he tapped his toes inbounds before falling to the ground. In a later drill, Moore caught what would have been about a 35-yard touchdown grab with a nice move down the middle of the field.
It was another strong performance for Moore, who has been one of the standouts this spring during the practices that have been open to the media. In an OTA workout in May, Moore came down with a gorgeous one-handed catch against Brandon Carr and made an acrobatic catch in the end zone during a red-zone drill.
Moore, a fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati in 2016, is trying to carve out his spot in the Ravens' revamped receiving corps. And while newcomers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead have captured a lot of the headlines this offseason for the way they are expected to inject energy and playmaking into the Ravens' offense, Moore is playing with confidence and has quietly impressed.
"The No. 1 thing is consistency," receivers coach Bobby Engram said after the June 13 workout. "Chris has always been talented, but I think the thing you see now is him consistently getting open and making the plays."
Moore played in just two of the first five games last season, but his role expanded as the season wore on. He finished the year with 18 catches for 248 yards and three touchdowns, most among returning receivers.
The Ravens made overhauling the wide receiver group a priority this offseason after finishing 29th in the league in passing and last in passing yards per play. The trio of new receivers were signed, while Jeremy Maclin was cut and Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro became free agents and were not re-signed.
That leaves Moore, who turns 25 this month, as the most accomplished of the returning receivers, even more so than former first-round pick Breshad Perriman, who totaled just 10 catches for 77 yards last year. And unlike Perriman, Moore also is a factor on special teams; he averaged 26.6 yards on 13 kickoff returns last year, including an 87-yarder in the season finale, and was one of the punt team gunners; two of his receptions came on fake punts.
Moore might have been as upset as anyone that last season ended as abruptly as it did with a last-minute loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, given the momentum he had generated during the previous month. But all indications are that he carried that momentum over to the offseason.
"I feel like I was getting in my groove, and I felt like I was getting very comfortable and just getting a feel for it [as last season ended]," Moore said after the June 12 workout. "So I feel like bigger things will come next year."
JIMMY SMITH RETURNS: Cornerback Jimmy Smith returned to the Ravens' practice field June 13 for the first time since suffering a torn Achilles tendon Dec. 3. Smith took part in some light individual drills. "He's right on schedule, from what I understand," defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale said. Linebacker Albert McClellan, coming off a torn ACL, also returned to the field for the first time since his training camp injury last year.
ANOTHER INTERCEPTION FOR BOWSER: Linebacker Tyus Bowser came down with his second interception in as many days -- a diving grab of a pass that bounced off the hands of rookie receiver Jordan Lasley. The day before, Bowser had what would have been about a 95-yard interception return touchdown during a red-zone drill. "He's been probably our most productive backer in terms of the sacks and interceptions and that sort of thing this spring, so I'm really happy with how he's coming along," new linebackers coach Mike Macdonald said.
GOOD HANDS FOR HURST: Rookie tight end Hayden Hurst has a reputation for outstanding hands, and that has been on display this spring. The first-round draft pick made a nice one-handed grab June 13 and catches just about everything thrown his way. He also gets turned upfield in a hurry, giving the Ravens a dimension they didn't have at tight end last season.
LEWIS SITS OUT AGAIN WITH BACK INJURY: Offensive lineman Alex Lewis missed his second straight practice with back spasms. With Marshal Yanda (ankle) still recuperating, the Ravens again had a starting offensive line featuring tackles Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr., guards James Hurst and Jermaine Eluemunor and center Matt Skura.
Wide receiver John Brown didn't practice; he appeared to tweak his knee when he slipped in practice the day before. Others who missed the workout were receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (knee), defensive back Maurice Canady (knee), safety Anthony Levine (foot), cornerback Jaylen Hill (knee), linebacker Bam Bradley (knee) and tight end Vince Mayle (undisclosed).