In his first year in the NFL, wideout Marlon Brown has gone from an undrafted rookie fighting for a job to a critical member of the Ravens offense.
Brown has put together a terrific first season with 36 receptions (third on the team) for 412 yards (second on the squad). He ranks ninth among all NFL rookies in both.
He stands out much more in another category, however. Brown leads the Ravens, and NFL rookies, with six touchdown catches this season.
Brown is one away from tying Torrey Smith’s Ravens rookie record for touchdowns - seven in 2011. The 22-year-old Brown also currently has the third-most points by a Ravens rookie with 38.
He’s not likely to catch kicker Justin Tucker, who set the mark with 132 points last season. But one more touchdown will pass Smith’s 42 in 2011 for second on the list.
Even though this post is focused on rookie records, Brown said Sunday that he no longer feels like it’s his first year in the league.
“Not really,” he said. “When I’m on the field on Sundays, I’m not a rookie to the other team. I’m just a guy they have to guard this week.”
Brown’s quarterback and coach sent some praise his way over the last few days. Joe Flacco told reporters he’s looking for Brown in crucial situations now, just 13 weeks into the receiver’s career.
“It’s just what you have to do. Marlon is a great player,” Flacco said. “I’m not thinking back there, ‘Who is in this position? Can I trust this guy?’ If I was thinking that - if that was going through my head - I’d have all the confidence in the world, and he’d be a guy that I’d pick out. He is a great football player. He has got a lot of things going for him, and he’s getting better and better each week.”
It doesn’t hurt that Brown is 6-foot-5.
“It always helps when you get a good guy who can run and catch. It’s just a little bit extra that he’s big,” Flacco told reporters. “It’s funny about him that I didn’t realize how tall he is. It wasn’t until the first couple of weeks of the season when I was standing next to him that I realized how big he is. Torrey is shorter than Jacoby (Jones) and shorter than Marlon, and for some reason, I view him as being taller. I don’t know why that is.
“Maybe he gives that appearance of being a little bit longer. Marlon is a big person, and I sometimes even take it for granted. I think that’s just an added bonus when you get a good receiver. It’s an added bonus that he is as big as he is.”
Coach John Harbaugh is excited about what the Ravens have found in Brown.
“He’s a big, strong guy with body control and catch radius,” Harbaugh told the media. “Joe can put the ball around him, and he can make an adjustment and go make the catch, and that’s really valuable in the red zone. So,that’s probably where it shows up the most, but he’s done it on some inside-type routes in the slot really well, and I also think he can be a pretty good route-runner outside. That’s a little tougher, that’s something that takes a little more time to develop. But he’s working hard on that stuff also.”