Ravens coach John Harbaugh has often spoken of the jump that many players make from Year One to Year Two. No longer rookies overwhelmed by the grind of the professional schedule, second-year players are more well-versed with the playbook and the routine, better adjusted to the speed of the game and more confident. In short, they are ready to make a larger impact.
Here are three Ravens second-year players who could be heard from more often this year:
1. OLB Tyus Bowser
The second-round draft pick out of Houston had a limited situational role last year, averaging about 10 defensive snaps a game, and he finished with nine tackles and three sacks. This spring, Bowser had several highlight-reel plays in practices open to the media, including what would have been about a 95-yard pick-six interception.
"His confidence is just … skyrocketing," linebackers coach Mike Macdonald said, noting that through OTAs and minicamp this spring, Bowser was "probably been our most productive 'backer in terms of just sacks and interceptions and that sort of thing. I'm really happy in how he's coming along."
The Ravens drafted Bowser and Tim Williams last year with the idea of getting faster and younger on the edge, and their emergence could help prevent 35-year-old Terrell Suggs from wearing down over the grind of a 16-game season.
2. DB Chuck Clark
If spring workouts are any indication, Clark, a sixth-round pick in 2017, could figure significantly on defense this year, particularly in the dime package. With Anthony Levine out with a foot injury, Clark was frequently inserted into the starting unit, with he and veteran safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson showing a lot of different looks.
Clark's playing time increased late last season, with a season-high 26 snaps in the season finale. He finished the year with five tackles on defense and also had eight on special teams, one shy of the team lead. He could take on a hybrid defensive back/special teams role that Levine has held the past several years.
"Chuck has been one of the standouts of the spring," defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale said. "It's his second year in the package, he's rolling with it. … The game slows down for him that second year especially. We can play Chuck anywhere. So you're just going to continue to see his role expand."
3. WR-RS Tim White
White did not play a snap last year, but the undrafted receiver from Arizona State had opened eyes before suffering a thumb injury in preseason that required surgery and sent him to injured reserve. In spring workouts, he was getting a lot of reps with the second group of receivers and also is viewed as one of the top return candidates.
Granted, White hasn't even made the team yet, and the battle for the final roster spot or two at receiver figures to be ferocious. But White has looked good again this spring, and his ability as a return man helps his stock. Plus, he is a personal favorite of special teams coach Jerry Rosburg, who had worked him out in Arizona before the draft.