The early loss of No. 2 wide receiver Jacoby Jones forced the Baltimore Ravens to look elsewhere in their season opener against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. They turned their sights to undrafted rookie Marlon Brown, who didn’t disappoint in his NFL debut.
Stepping in across from Torrey Smith, Brown first hit the field big-eyed and a bit intimidated by the bright lights of the Thursday night stage. It didn’t take long for him to become one of the lone bright spots on the Ravens’ offense, though.
The rookie finished the game with four receptions for 65 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown snag that momentarily gave the Ravens hope in the fourth quarter. He did drop one pass and struggled to gain separation in coverage, but caught four of the six balls thrown his way and picked up 30 yards after the catch.
Overall, it was a strong debut for Brown, a promising, potential-laden Georgia product who went undrafted in April largely due to an ACL injury that ended his collegiate career. If he can continue to make plays for the Ravens as the 2013 season progresses, Brown could prove to be a valuable weapon in Joe Flacco’s arsenal.
Depending on Jones’ status moving forward – which doesn’t look promising – Brown could be the starter opposite Smith for the foreseeable future. The Ravens could look to add more wide receiver depth to the roster, but Brown’s first outing strengthens his chances of staying atop the depth chart.
For an undrafted rookie, Brown got off to a hot start in Baltimore. There was definitely some room for improvement, but the upside is apparent.
Final Week 1 Grade: B