Ravens inside linebacker Trenton Simpson played significant defensive snaps in just one game as a rookie last season. Tight end Isaiah Likely has seen enough to know that it was the start of something real.

In just 26 defensive snaps of the team’s Week 18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Simpson had seven tackles (two for loss), a sack and a quarterback hit. With Pro Bowl picks Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen rarely leaving the field last season, Simpson had entered the Ravens’ regular-season finale with just 20 defensive snaps. He would go on to play only three more in the playoffs. But Simpson’s performance offered a preview of life after Queen, who this offseason signed a three-year, $41 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“He’s definitely showing that he’s ready for the opportunity,” Likely said after Tuesday’s practice, which kicked off the second week of the Ravens’ voluntary organized team activities. “He’s showing that he’s taking this offseason well, like a pro. He’s definitely showing that what you guys saw on tape against Pittsburgh wasn’t a fluke. He’s fast, he’s physical, he’s listening, and he’s really just soaking everything up like a sponge. I mean, whatever Roquan tells him to do during a play … he’s taking that and running with it, and he’s not scared to do anything in the defense.”

Simpson stood out Tuesday, and not just because of the No. 23 jersey he wore next to Smith’s No. 0. He returned for his second year in Baltimore with more muscle mass, yet hasn’t lost much, if any, of the burst that made him such an intriguing prospect. A third-round pick in 2023, Simpson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at 6 feet, 2 inches, and 235 pounds.

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On Tuesday, he broke up a pass over the middle to Likely, who was running a crossing pattern. (“He definitely beat me on a rep today,” Likely said with a grin. “I know you all saw it.”) Later, he closed fast and aggressively on a short pass over the middle to wide receiver Zay Flowers, jarring the ball loose as Flowers turned upfield while trying to secure the catch.

Likely said Simpson, who played primarily on special teams last season, is “not really being as patient as he was last year. He’s playing with his athleticism and his intuition.” And with Smith, one of the NFL’s best linebackers, playing next to him, the Ravens have an on-field coach who can help prepare Simpson for his first starting role.

“The things I loved about Trenton when he first got here — and we kind of knew talking to the people at Clemson and people close to him through the draft process — is that this dude is a hard worker,” defensive coordinator Zach Orr, who served as the team’s inside linebackers coach last year, said last week.

“He’s competitive, and he’s going to do whatever he needs to do to continue to get better every single day. He did that. Even last year, when he knew the situation he was in — probably wasn’t going to play a lot, which he didn’t — he came in every day and prepared like a starter. So when you look at the situation where he’s in a role now where he has a chance to compete for the starting job, he’s working even harder, which is crazy because he was already going 100%. So, I’ve been really impressed with him.”

Attendance report

Quarterback Lamar Jackson, who attended Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at North Carolina’s Charlotte Motor Speedway, missed his second straight open practice. Also missing on offense were running back Keaton Mitchell (knee), wide receiver-returner Deonte Harty and wide receiver Nelson Agholor.

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On defense, the Ravens practiced without defensive linemen Michael Pierce and Rayshad Nichols; linebackers Malik Harrison, Kyle Van Noy, Adisa Isaac (hamstring) and Yvandy Rigby, an undrafted rookie; cornerbacks Arthur Maulet and Trayvon Mullen; and safeties Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton and Beau Brade, the undrafted rookie from Maryland.

Outside linebacker David Ojabo, who’s coming back from a torn ACL, had limited participation. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey worked with an athletic trainer after participating in positional drills.

Stock report

  • Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh’s athleticism always stands out in OTAs, but his developing skill set is making him harder to miss. He beat left tackle Ronnie Stanley for a pressure in 11-on-11 action with a spin-move counter after threatening him with an inside move. Oweh was disruptive throughout the practice, and outside linebacker Tavius Robinson fared well, too. He beat right tackle Daniel Faalele handily on one drop-back and bottled up Flowers in the backfield on another play.
  • Defensive lineman Broderick Washington played with impressive power. Washington, who had a career-high two sacks last season despite inconsistent playing time, tossed aside left guard Andrew Vorhees on one quick-strike passing play and got his hands on another pass at the line of scrimmage to force an incompletion.
  • Rookie quarterback Devin Leary’s development will require some patience. The sixth-round pick missed a pair of open receivers near the corner of the end zone early in 11-on-11 work and had another pass picked off by undrafted rookie safety Jordan Toles later in the day. It was the second interception in as many practices for Toles, a Baltimore native and Morgan State product.
  • Wide receiver Tylan Wallace had a handful of receptions, showing strong hands on a day when some teammates struggled to finish catches. Flowers had the drop against Simpson, and fourth-round pick Devontez Walker dropped a pass from Leary not long thereafter. Flowers’ punishment for a dropped pass was a set of pushups. “I know they don’t want to drop the ball,” wide receivers coach Greg Lewis said. “Nobody does. They don’t want to do the wrong thing, and [they’re] just holding each other accountable.”
  • Lewis said Malik Cunningham, whom the Ravens acquired last offseason as a potential backup quarterback but who has worked exclusively at wide receiver this offseason, is still learning the “nuances of playing receiver.” Cunningham, a star quarterback at Louisville, “is a football player, and he loves the game,” Lewis said. “He wants to find any way he can to get out on the field, and if it’s at receiver, it’s at quarterback, it’s at running back, D-Line, he’s out there trying to get it done. He’s done a great job of transitioning from the quarterback position to the receiver position.”
  • With the Ravens releasing defensive lineman Bravvion Roy last week, the team signed defensive tackle Deadrin Senat and nose tackle Josh Tupou to its 90-man roster Tuesday. Senat, 29, a third-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2018, played just three games last season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tupou, 30, spent the first six years of his NFL career with the Bengals, appearing in 65 games and starting 23. He played 14 games last season for Cincinnati, recording 19 tackles (one for loss) and a quarterback hit.