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Ravens Minicamp Notebook: DeShon Elliott Continues Standout Spring

June 12, 2019
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Ravens' secondary is among the deepest in the league, loaded with veteran talent including Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey at cornerback and Tony Jefferson and Earl Thomas at safety.

But it was the depth of that secondary that was on display at Ravens minicamp June 12, as reserve defensive backs came up with several interceptions on a day when the offense took a step back after a strong workout the day before.

During a red-zone drill, rookie cornerback Terrell Bonds twice picked off quarterback Lamar Jackson at the goal line, and during an earlier 7-on-7 drill, safety DeShon Elliott showed impressive range as he drifted across the field to pick off a pass from Robert Griffin III intended for rookie receiver Sean Modster. 

Safety Bennett Jackson also intercepted a pass from Jackson that floated too high for receiver Willie Snead. 

Overall, it was a rough day for the Ravens' offense, with Griffin also intercepted by linebacker Otaro Alaka. After two interceptions in quick succession, a frustrated Griffin walked behind the line of offensive players, took off his helmet and looked the other way. 

Bonds (5-foot-8, 182 pounds) brings an intriguing story line to Ravens training camp. He went undrafted out of Tennessee State in 2018 and then played for the Memphis Express in the short-lived Alliance of American Football this spring. He was signed by the Ravens after a tryout at their rookie minicamp in May.

Clearly he still faces long odds to make the 53-man roster, especially given the secondary depth, but he's taking advantage of his opportunities. 

Among the few offensive highlights, Jackson converted three times in his first four attempts during a third-down drill, with completions to Mark Ingram, Hayden Hurst and Jordan Lasley, and Trace McSorley connected with Antoine Wesley on a well-thrown deep ball. 

The Ravens conclude minicamp June 13 and then take a five-week hiatus until training camp. 

Here are other observations from the June 12 workout: 

ELLIOTT SHINES AGAIN: Elliott, the second-year safety who missed all of last season with a broken arm suffered in a preseason game, has been one of the bright spots this spring. He played physically and with athleticism during the preseason last year, but his nose for the ball and impressive range have stood out this spring, and he is playing with confidence. 

Last week, Elliott had a diving interception that might have been the highlight of the spring on the Ravens practice field. 

"He's just picked up right where he left off right before he got hurt," defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale said. "I know we got two really good safeties right now, but we'll find spots for the good football players."

JUDON QUICK OFF THE EDGE: The linebackers don't really rush the quarterbacks during the noncontact workouts, so it's not easy to gauge their progress in minicamp, but during one 11-on-11 session, Matthew Judon roared past tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and would have had a sack. 

Judon, like defensive tackle Michael Pierce, skipped the voluntary OTA workouts as he enters a contract year. But unlike Pierce, Judon reported to mandatory minicamp in terrific shape and looks quick and sharp.

MARTINDALE SAYS PIERCE "WILL GET BACK THERE": Martindale said he was "disappointed" that Pierce reported to mandatory minicamp overweight and out of shape, leading to his dismissal from practice June 11, which head coach John Harbaugh said was out of concern for his safety. Pierce did not take part in the June 12 workout, either.  

Pierce, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next spring, is expected to be an anchor of the Ravens' defensive line. 

"What I said to him, and I said it front of the whole defense, is life's about choices," Martindale said. "Just don't make that choice make your life."

"He's got a challenge to get from here until training camp," he added. "... Let's don't forget what a great football player he is. And he'll get back there. I can't tell you when, but he'll get back there."

FIVE PLAYERS SIDELINED: In addition to Pierce, four players who missed the June 11 workout remained sidelined again for the second day of minicamp: wide receiver Marquise Brown (foot), offensive lineman Alex Lewis (shoulder), offensive lineman Patrick Mekari (undisclosed) and cornerback-punt returner Cyrus Jones (undisclosed). 

Brown, the Ravens' top draft pick this past spring, again watched part of practice from the sideline and took part in a few individual catching drills that did not involve running. He is recovering from surgery this past winter on a Lisfranc foot injury and is expected to be ready for training camp.

Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox