The Baltimore Ravens have an unproven group of wide receivers after releasing veteran Michael Crabtree and losing John Brown to the Buffalo Bills via free agency. The current group of wideouts Jordan Lasley, Jaleel Scott, Chris Moore, Quincy Adeboyejo, and Willie Snead IV is not the most intimidating group.
Baltimore was not active on the free agent market. In the past, the Ravens found success by bringing in veterans such as Derek Mason, Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith Sr. However the same plan didn’t work for Crabtree.
Now the attention turns to the draft. Baltimore has historically struggled when it comes to selecting wide receivers in the NFL Draft. First-round picks on players such as Breshard Perriman, Travis Taylor and Michael Clayton never materialized. New GM Eric DeCosta needs to hit on the wide receiver position in this year’s draft.
Ole Miss receivers A. J. Brown and DK Metcalf present solid options. Brown is a player who can be a reliable slot receiver and used as an ‘X.’ He caught 85 passes for 1,320 yards and six touchdowns. He specializes in gaining yards after the catch.
Metcalf is a dangerous deep threat that reminds some people of former Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots receiver Josh Gordon. At 6’ 5” and 237 pounds, Metcalf ran a blazing 4.33 second time in the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. Putting that size and speed on the outside will be very attractive for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Then there is Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler who grew up in the Greenmount neighborhood in East Baltimore before moving to Texas. Butler is a big (6-foot-6), fast receiver that would be a huge target for Jackson. His ability to make contested catches with ease is a weapon in the res zone.
Other first-round options include Arizona State’ N’Keal Harry and Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown. If the Ravens opt to select a wideout later, Ohio State’s Parris Campbell and South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel are options.
With the reconstruction of the Ravens offense underway with new coordinator Greg Roman, new weapons need to be imported to get it going. Long-term receiver coach David Culley joined the coaching staff and will also play an integral role in building the new offense.
Which ever new wideouts are added this year will have to buck the trend of unsuccessful picks in the past.