John Harbaugh: Baltimore Ravens Don’t Necessarily Have to Draft Wide Receiver in First Round


Oct 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh reacts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Baltimore Ravens defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lots, and I mean lots, of Baltimore Ravens fans feel passionately about the team’s need to draft a top wide receiver.  Especially after the team has completely ignored the position in free agency (at least for now).  It’s part of the reason why many mock drafts have the Ravens taking a wide receiver in the first round, with some even questioning if the team should trade up to get an elite prospect.

Regardless of this logic, John Harbaugh has made it quite evident that the team doesn’t feel an urgent need to grab a guy with the Ravens’ first pick.  Or maybe not even with the second.  Harbaugh recognizes that this is a deep draft at the wide receiver position, almost as deep as last year’s excellent class.  It was a class that the Ravens ignored, save for spending a seventh rounder on Michael Campanaro.

“Receiver is a little bit of a crapshoot in the first round,” Harbaugh said.  “There have been seventh-round picks, fifth-round picks, third-round picks that have turned out to be Hall of Fame-type players. Then you have first-round picks that have never really done anything. Obviously the chances are higher the higher you pick a guy, but it’s hard to predict.”

John is right, of course, and the Ravens have only taken a wide receiver in the first round twice in team history (Travis Taylor in 2000 and Mark Clayton in 2005).  Both turned into reasonably good starters, but never posted elite numbers or topped 1,000 yards in a season.  Since then, the only early round wide receiver pick was Torrey Smith, a second rounder in 2011.

But how much longer can the team simply ignore the position?  After coming oh-so-close to another Super Bowl berth last year, wouldn’t adding a big, talented pass catcher help put them over the top?  Sure, this is a team that generally wins on the strength of defense, but last year’s performance provided concrete proof that having a potent offense can help when injuries strike on defense.

The Ravens will undoubtedly draft at least one wide receiver in April, most likely a speedy guy to complement Joe Flacco’s arm strength and deep ball accuracy.  They have enough possession type guys on the roster already.  The real question is, what round will they take one?  While Harbaugh’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt (this is lying season, of course), only time will tell.

Next: Ravens Free Agency Losses and Possible Replacements

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