The Baltimore Ravens Could Finally Have A Top Tier WR Group
The Baltimore Ravens Have What Could Be Their Most Impressive Group Of Receivers Ever:
Can you guess the number of Raven’s wide receivers ever elected to the Pro Bowl? Here’s a hint, we are not counting players elected as returner. Give up… Zero. Goose egg. As in never in the 20 years of Ravens’ football.
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While we shouldn’t expect voters to pick a Raven this year, the historic inadequacies at the position might be coming to an end. Veteran Steve Smith Sr., leads a wide receiver group that features developing young stars.
Smith Sr., who failed to play in any preseason games, looks to come back and make an impact after suffering a torn Achilles tendon last year. The injury almost marked the end of his career since he announced he would retire at the end of the season; however, his fierce competitive nature forced his return for another season.
During Smith’s absence last year, Kamar Aiken elevated his play as the new number one receiver. Aiken caught 50 of his 75 receptions in the last eight games of the season while Smith was injured. The coming out party for the 27-year-old receiver looks to continue in a big way. Opposing defenses now have to look at each of the outside receivers instead of focusing on the only known commodity.
Mike Wallace, the only other over 30 receiver on the roster along with Steve Smith, hopes to occupy the center of the field and limit how much help the safeties can help cover the outside men. For the first time since leaving Pittsburgh, Wallace is in a position to do what he does best. The Ravens should be able to work him out of the slot to work the center of the field and occasionally taking the top off of the defense down the seam.
Last season’s first round pick, Breshad Perriman was supposed to be the big play threat last year, but injuries sidelined him for the entire season. Perriman finally made his in-game debut during the preseason this year. Between Wallace and Perriman, Joe Flacco’s deep ball just got very interesting.
Three other young receivers could end up making the roster: Jeremy Butler, Chris Moore, and Chris Matthews. Butler led the league in receptions during the preseason. The Ravens promoted Butler from the practice squad after injuries decimated the team and he caught 31 passes. Drafted in the fourth round, the rookie Moore caught six passes in the preseason. Matthews caught five balls for 64 yards in the preseason finally to help his case to make the final roster. Matthews is surely a long shot though.
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This year’s receiving group might not feature a Odell Beckham Jr. or Antonio Brown, but Steve Smith still demands respect. I would feel good petty Smith, Aiken, Wallace, and Perriman against any team’s top four receivers. Depth at any skill position is an incredible asset, and hopefully, this leads to a deep playoff run.