The Baltimore Ravens used a first round pick on wide receiver Breshad Perriman in the 2015 NFL Draft. Perriman saw a lot of time with the first team offense initially but former journeyman Kamar Aiken has worked his way to becoming a starter in the season opener against the Denver Broncos. There have been plenty of questions about the “unproven” receiver but the Ravens are ready to go forward with Aiken starting alongside of veteran Steve Smith Sr.
It is safe to say that Smith feels that Aiken is ready to assume a starting spot. He bristled at a reporter when it was suggested that Aiken is unproven. “He’s unproven to you. That’s why you’re not out there.” Smith said. “You take your shirt off and your tie, and you come out there and be in press coverage against Kamar [Aiken] and see how that works out for you.”
Smith pointed out how Aiken is a guy that was undrafted and supposedly not good enough to be anywhere, but showed up on the Ravens. “He worked his way [up], and in the end, he’s on this team. He was on this team last year. He made plays in Miami.” Smith said. “So, I see a guy who’s very capable of making plays and will do that on Sunday and other games to come.”
John Harbaugh was also asked about Aiken. Harbaugh feels that Aiken is growing as a player and gained valuable experience last season. He acknowledged that from the outside looking in, it may look like the receiver group is in a bit of trouble. The idea of a player having potential to break out is something that Harbaugh likes.
“That’s just what it’s all about. It’s not about going out there and having a bunch of proven guys on your team that are all 38 years old.” Harbaugh said. “It’s about getting guys that are young, explosive and you believe can play and going and proving it to everybody.”
Aiken only posted 24 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns last season but he still earned the trust of his quarterback. At 6-2 215 pounds, Aiken has excellent size and has very quick feet that allow him to get off the ball against press coverage. Flacco has taken plenty of deep shots to Aiken during training camp. He is confident in Aiken’s ability to make plays on back shoulder throws down the field.
Aiken has come a long way since spending time on the practice squad with the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. All three teams gave up on him. Aiken was able to get revenge against the Patriots in the divisional playoff game last year. He scored a 19 yard touchdown early in the game.
The Ravens saw enough in Aiken to bring him back this season on a one year deal. He has earned the confidence of his teammates and has parlayed that into a starting position.