Although there is nothing quite as juicy as last year's melodrama between Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Roosevelt Barnes and Brian Billick to pull viewers in, there is intrigue surrounding a number of players in 2003.
Here is a quick run down of five players who should draw some heavy scrutiny from the coaches, trainers, players and media this weekend:
1. Chris Redman: You can have either Lewis or Redman pegged as the No.1 player to watch closely at minicamp, but quarterbacks always hold the spotlight. In Redman's case, he will need to hold off rookie QB Kyle Boller from taking his starting job away. There have been reports from the trainers and coaches, particularly David Shaw and Matt Cavanaugh that Redman's back surgery helped to improve his flexibility, mobility and arm strength. Redman played with a herniated disc last year and has dealt with back problems throughout his collegiate and pro career. If the incumbent starter is indeed physically reinvigorated, he should gain better depth on his deep passes and throw with much more zip on the out patterns.
2. Ray Lewis: The star inside linebacker is ready to get onto the field for the first time since playing against the Dolphins last season. Lewis had surgery in the winter to repair a separated shoulder. According to reports, Lewis is a full month ahead of his scheduled recovery time and will be ready to fully participate in this weekend's camp.
3. Marcus Robinson: Robinson is easily the most intriguing free-agent acquisition that the Ravens' front office made in the off-season. The 28-year old wideout has a superior blend of speed, size and leaping ability, which makes him one of the top tier deep threats in the NFL. However, Robinson is also coming off of a season where he netted less than 30 receptions as the Bears' fourth wideout, due in large part to not fully recovering from reconstructive knee surgery he had a year ago to repair a torn ACL and MCL. Robinson claims he is finally 100% healthy. The truth will come out when Robinson is able to prove that he can separate down the field against faster cornerbacks, and if he can run his routes sharply and cleanly.
5. Corey Fuller: Fuller is another free-agent addition for the Ravens. The veteran cornerback is switching to the safety position for the first time in his pro career. While it was clear that Fuller's speed was slipping at the corner position, he should have better than average speed to cover the field sideline to sideline as a safety. Also, Fuller is a willing tackler who doesn't shy away from playing close to the line of scrimmage. With his savvy, leadership qualities and pass/run recognition, Fuller may end up playing well opposite of Ed Reed.