Mellette makes the Ravens

Sep. 01, 2013 @ 10:41 AM
Months of hard work since being drafted by the defending Super Bowl champions and NFL aspirations dating back long before that paid off officially for former Southern Lee star Aaron Mellette as the rookie wide receiver made the Baltimore Raven roster out of preseason as the Ravens made final roster cuts on Saturday, getting down to the league-mandated 53-man roster. 
Baltimore will begin its title defense Thursday night at Denver. The Ravens defeated the Broncos 38-35 in the AFC divisional playoff round in Denver in January. 
Mellette, who was drafted in the seventh-round after a multiple-time All-American career at Elon, is one of seven wide receivers on the Baltimore roster.
To some, at least going back to the start of training camp in July, Mellette and fellow rookie Marlon Brown, an undrafted rookie, were longshots to make the team. The Ravens were looking to replace departed receiver, and postseason star, Anquan Boldin. The position battle was an open one, but the Ravens brought a large number of youngsters and veterans into camp to vie for the jobs. 
The Ravens waived three-year pro Tandon Doss as part of 19 players waived or cut Friday and Saturday.
Mellette, Brown, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley, Deonte Thompson and LaQuan Williams made the 53-man roster. Smith, going into his fourth pro season after playing collegiately at Maryland, had 60 receptions for 1,088 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, and Jones, an eight-year pro who joined the Ravens last season and had 35 receptions for 553 yards and three touchdowns, are the starters on the latest Raven depth chart. 
“They (Mellette and Brown) have played really well, especially as rookies,” said Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh following a practice on Friday. 
“They don’t feel like rookies. Marlon has the advantage of having played in a big program in the SEC, and I think that shows, and Aaron has the advantage of having caught hundreds of balls in his college career. Both of those things are showing up," Harbaugh said.
“I would anticipate that those two guys will be a factor going forward. How much they play early or how much they’re part of game plans and those things, it’s really hard to say. But they put themselves in the mix," he said.
In four preseason games, Mellette caught nine passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. According to Baltimore media reports, he's also been practicing on special teams units during the preseason.

NFL teams have 46 players of their 53-man roster active on game days. Eight players can be kept on a practice squad