The Baltimore Ravens have officially converted backup quarterback Malik Cunningham to wide receiver, a strategic move that shows Lamar Jackson’s status as the team’s leading mobile quarterback. This decision, reported by Ravens editorial director Ryan Mink, shows a shift for Cunningham, who originally joined the Ravens from the New England Patriots’ practice squad last December.

Cunningham, 25, had showcased his versatility during his time with the Patriots, taking practice reps at receiver after a series of moves on and off the scout team. His preseason performance, which included 39 rushing yards and a touchdown, highlighted his athletic prowess and potential adaptability. With Jackson entrenched as the Ravens’ starting quarterback and 38-year-old veteran Josh Johnson solidifying the backup role, the Ravens have opted to leverage Cunningham’s athletic skills at the wide receiver position.

Cunningham’s transition began with his first official reps as a receiver during Thursday’s organized team activities (OTAs). He now faces the challenge of competing for a reserve spot behind established receivers Zay FlowersRashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor. This position change reflects a strategic move by the Ravens to enhance their offensive options while fully utilizing Cunningham’s athletic abilities.

This decision comes years after Jackson resisted suggestions to switch from quarterback to wide receiver. Jackson’s commitment to his position paid off, as he earned two NFL MVP awards and became a cornerstone of the Ravens’ offense.

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Cunningham’s college career at Louisville mirrors Jackson’s rushing prowess. Over five seasons, he consistently surpassed 450 rushing yards, culminating in a career-high 1,034 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns in 2021.

As Cunningham begins this new chapter, his versatility and athleticism will be crucial in securing a place among the Ravens’ receivers. His transition not only shows his adaptability but also highlights the evolving strategies in NFL team compositions.

The Ravens’ decision to shift Cunningham to wide receiver reinforces Jackson’s position as Baltimore’s mobile quarterback. It also allows Cunningham to carve out a role in the team’s offense. As OTAs progress, all eyes will be on Cunningham to see how he adapts and integrates into his new position, potentially adding another dimension to the Ravens’ offensive playbook.

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