The Ravens haven’t been shy about looking at wide receivers this offseason, but that shouldn’t stop the team from doing the same in the upcoming draft.
John Brown. Ryan Grant. Michael Crabtree.
These are the names of wide receivers who have floated around Baltimore so far this offseason. Brown has just signed to a one-year prove it contract worth $5 million. Grant was signed to a massive four-year $29 million contract before a failed physical caused the Ravens to back out. Still, bringing Grant back on a lesser contract shouldn’t be out of the picture.
Crabtree, who was cut from the Oakland Raiders following the signing of Jordy Nelson, is now a favorite name associated with Baltimore. Crabtree is visiting the Ravens Friday morning and, as of writing this Thursday night, has not signed with the team yet.
Should he be signed, Crabtree would join Brown on the roster the features Chris Moore, Breshad Perriman, and… not much else. Fans can get excited over guys like Tim White and Quincy Adeboyejo, but they haven’t seen the field whatsoever. Even if Grant were to still find his way onto the roster, it is still a far from impressive group of wide receivers.
Change is still needed:
If the Ravens want to return to the post-season, they can’t afford to continue neglecting the wide receiver position. Joe Flacco is at his best when he had reliable targets like Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Smith Sr. Now, he has a band of misfits who are barely hanging on to their NFL careers.
That’s precisely why the Ravens cannot afford to pass on drafting wide receivers in 2018. And I don’t mean a day three pick; I mean the Ravens need to invest a top 64 pick in at least one wide receiver.
We’ve been clamoring all off-season for guys like Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, and D.J. Moore, and rightfully so. The Ravens brass is not known for hitting on wide receivers through the draft, but that can’t stop them from trying. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and the Ravens will never find a good receiver via the draft if they refuse to try.
The best way to do this is to shoot for proven guys and stop betting on late rounders. The previously mentioned three should be at the top of their boards. I mean, come on! Ozzie Newsome loves his Alabama boys. A marriage between Baltimore and Calvin Ridley makes too much sense!
The Ravens are going to win games with a stout defense and a downhill run game. That will never change. But, if the Ravens find themselves in a shootout with the likes of Pittsburgh or New England in the post-season, they need to have some sort of weapons available to keep up.
Signing Brown and (maybe) Crabtree and Grant is a good start. However, none of those options, especially Crabtree, are long-term solutions. And short of Chris Moore breaking out or Breshad Perriman finding a way to play wide receiver, there isn’t anyone on this roster to write home about.
The best teams are built through the draft. Baltimore has been a prime example of this philosophy. Free agent signings won’t fix what’s been a problem in Baltimore forever. You have to keep trying. Now is as good a year as ever to fix that wide receiver problem.