Can the Baltimore Ravens rely on their younger receivers this season?
Although the Baltimore Ravens signed Jeremy Maclin, it does not mean they are completely confident in their receiving corps. Rather, they were just taking advantage of an opportunity to make the best football team possible. Maclin, a pro bowler, is potentially the best receiver Joe Flacco has had in his career.
But, the Ravens cannot trust Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin to carry the receiving corps. They will need to lean on young receivers like Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore, and Michael Campanaro to provide depth and support.
Campanaro, the oldest of these three receivers, has shown potential in the rare moments he has been on the field. In a game against the Steelers in the 2015-2016 season, Campanaro was excellent before injuring his back, which held him out for the rest of the season. His short touchdown run is a microcosm of his potential. However, if he stays healthy, he may finally be able to prove himself on the field. But as of now, Campanaro has already hurt himself during OTAs with a toe sprain.
On the other hand, Perriman showed his great potential in the second half of last season. His electrifying speed was shown when his name was called, but he lacked consistency in doing so. He continued to drop balls, albeit at a lower rate than he did at college, showing improvement. If he can follow how he ended 2016, he can prove to be one of the few gems Ozzie Newsome has found at wide receiver early in the draft. Perriman put up 499 yards in his first healthy season in the NFL, which was neither overwhelming nor disappointing. Now the Ravens are waiting for him to take the next step.
At the same time, coaches have been very impressed with Chris Moore in OTAs. Wide Receiver Coach Bobby Engram insisted many times that he is confident Chris Moore will be active in the offense. But, Moore put up minimal receptions last year, so there is no concrete evidence that Moore can be trusted. Along with Perriman, Moore is known to have outstanding speed, which helps him be a burner on the outside. It is just a matter of time to see if his athletic tools will live up to his potential.
The Bottom Line
Although coaches have expressed confidence in their young receivers, it seems most likely that the Ravens will have to wait another year to see the true potential of their young receiving corps. In the meantime, the surplus of tight ends as well as the duo of Wallace and Maclin will carry the Ravens offense. But, these young receivers will continue to show flashes, especially Perriman, who will be exposed to the most amount of snaps if healthy. If Perriman finds a way to be consistent, he can help accelerate a Ravens offense with many holes.