Yesterday, I shared the thoughts of Marcus Smith as the four-year veteran tries to secure what will likely be the final wide receiver spot on the Ravens' 53-man roster.
Today, I'll share the thoughts of his primary competition, undrafted rookie wide receiver LaQuan Williams.
While Smith is hoping his experience will be a deciding factor in his favor as the coaches trim the roster from 80 to 53 in the next couple days, Williams brings the complete opposite to the table: youth and raw potential.
Williams has impressed this camp, but as an undrafted free agent, the former Maryland Terp needs to make the most of every opportunity he gets. That obviously includes tonight's preseason finale against the Falcons, which Williams admits will play a huge part of whether he sticks around in Baltimore.
"This is going to decide whether I make the team or not," Williams said. "Just got to come out and do the best that I can.
"(There's) not really much pressure, just going out as I would in any other game. Just trying to make a play when I get the opportunity."
So far this preseason, Williams has made his fair share of plays, recording four catches for 84 yards (21 yards per catch), averaging 30.5 yards on two kickoff returns, and posting a 38-yard punt return. Those numbers, as well as Williams' effort in practices, have gotten the attention of the Ravens' coaches, who slowly bumped the rookie up the depth chart as camp progressed.
"There's always more to do, but I feel like I put myself in a good opportunity to succeed," Williams said. "I feel like I stood out a little bit. I feel like I definitely made enough plays to stand out, not enough to secure a spot on the team, but enough to stand out. So, I've got to the best I can do Thursday, and take advantage of the opportunity and just see how it works out."
Guys like Williams, Smith and a number of others who will take to the field tonight will have one goal in mind: put something positive on tape.
While everyone currently on the Ravens' roster won't be able to crack the final 53 (or even the eight-man practice squad), there are 31 other NFL teams who will be evaluating the film from tonight's game, looking for talent that they can add to their rosters.
That's the exact message that the coaching staff has been preaching to their players for the last few weeks.
"Great opportunity for the young guys, no doubt about it," head coach John Harbaugh said. "They'll be playing, obviously, the majority of the game. This is their chance to get some tape and get some live NFL action to prove to us and the rest of the League what they can do."