Has Deonte Thompson Earned a Roster Spot for the Baltimore Ravens?

Kyle Casey@@kylecasey094Correspondent IIIAugust 19, 2012

When the Baltimore Ravens signed undrafted free-agent wide receiver Deonte Thompson in April, the idea was that he would compete for a roster spot on special teams. 

Little did they know, the rookie out of Florida has much more talent than just another special teams player. Thompson has emerged as a legitimate threat to make the team, not only as a special-teamer, but as a full-time wide receiver.

Thompson, who caught just 21 passes for 264 yards and one touchdown in his senior season at Florida, has shown throughout the preseason that he can play a role in the team's offense as the fifth or sixth receiver. 

While his stats at Florida weren't overly impressive, Thompson can bring a lot to the Ravens offense.

In the first preseason game against Atlanta, Thompson caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. In that game, he showed that he has rare top-end speed which allows him to beat defenders deep on any given play.

However, in Friday's game against Detroit, Thompson wasn't as impressive. He failed to record a catch, even though he did manage to get open on a few plays. The highlight of his night came on a kickoff that he returned all the way for a touchdown. The play was called back and the touchdown was negated after holding was called on Sergio Kindle, though.

In spite of the recalled touchdown, Thompson showed the 4.3 speed he possesses, as he was able to burst to the outside and take the return back for a touchdown. 

Kick returns and punt returns could be where Thompson contributes, if he makes the team. He'd likely be the sixth receiver (possibly fifth), which would only give him a few chances per game to line up on offense. 

But as a returner, Thompson can make an impact. Newly added receiver/return man Jacoby Jones will be the team's No. 3 receiver, which means he won't likely be returning every kick. That would give Thompson an opportunity to make his name known, as his speed should allow him to net a solid return average.

Regardless of how Thompson is utilized or how many times he touches the field per game, he can make an impact for the Ravens. His speed and athleticism make him a dangerous weapon that can be used in several different ways.