Ravens Notebook: Future of Devin Leary at QB; new numbers and hairstyles

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens believe that Devin Leary will be a quarterback in the NFL.

The Ravens selected the quarterback in the sixth round (218th overall) from Kentucky in last week’s NFL draft. While acknowledging that Leary needs more time to develop, general manager Eric DeCosta thinks he can become a backup to Lamar Jackson, maybe as early as this season.

The team is assessing Leary and the rest of the 2o24 draft class at the rookie minicamp this weekend. In addition, the Ravens invited 22 undrafted rookies to the camp.

“Devin is a quarterback that we see as a viable backup over time,” Harbaugh said. “[Quarterbacks coach] Tee Martin – we gave him a project to basically come back to us and tell us who he thought his favorite backup-type of quarterbacks in this year’s draft class – and he came back with Devin as one of his very top guys, so that was exciting for us to take a quarterback; it’s been a few years since we’ve done that.”

For now, Josh Johnson, 38, is the No. 2 quarterback behind Jackson.

Leary has shown resilience over his career and could earn a spot on the Ravens’ roster this season. Last season, he was a semifinalist for the Comeback Player of the Year Watch List after suffering a tear in his right pectoralis major just six games into the 2022 season.

Leary, 6 feet 1, 217 pounds, finished the year completing 209 of 371 passes for 2,746 yards and 25 touchdowns, which was one short of the top five in program history and the most for a Kentucky quarterback since Andre Woodson in 2007. He also threw 28 interceptions in 43 games.

“I think Devin will develop,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll probably be the third quarterback this year in some way or fashion and grow into the job as we go.”

Trenton Simpson changes number, ready for bigger role

Ravens inside linebacker Trenton Simpson is switching his jersey number from No. 30 to No. 23 in honor of his mother who wore that number when she played softball.

That’s not the only change for the second-year player from Clemson.

Simpson will move into the starting role for Patrick Queen, who signed with the Steelers as a free agent. While Simspon had a limited role as a rookie, he showed the potential of his play-making ability.

“Just talking with him this offseason and even last season, I know the type of respect he has for the game and for himself as well,” fellow inside linebacker Roquan Smith said about Simpson. “The way he’s been busting his tail all offseason, talking with [strength and conditioning coordinator] Scott [Elliott] and everyone about [how] the guy is busting his tail, wanting to be the best. I know his mindset, so I’m excited. He has all the potential in the world.

“It’s just going to be about putting that on the field week in and week out and just trusting his ability. If he does that, I think he’ll be the best second-year linebacker in the league, in my opinion.”

Lamar Jackson not impressed with Charlie Kolar’s new look

Ravens tight end Chalie Kolar showed up this week at the Under Armour Performance Center with new braids in his hair.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson was not impressed and laughed at the new style.

“I just wanted to try something new,” Kolar said on Instagram. “I’ve never really seen a white guy with twists or braids before, so I wanted to see how it looked. It came out better than I thought, honestly. I didn’t know how it would look. But I thought it was solid.”

Kolar is developing into a solid tight end and made seven catches for 87 yards and a touchdown on nine targets last season. He could play a bigger role this year behind the starter Mark Andrews.

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