Baltimore Ravens: How could Willie Snead affect the draft strategy?
By Cory Hughes
Willie Snead will likely be the third wide receiver the Baltimore Ravens have signed this offseason. What does the mean for their possible game plan going into the draft on Thursday?
Willie Snead will likely be the third free agent receiver added to the Baltimore Ravens’ roster along with Michael Crabtree and John Brown. The big question after yesterday’s acquisition is: how does this signing, along with the other two, affect the strategy going into the draft?
Looking at the three signings the organization has made, it would be hard to believe the front office will go wide receiver in the first round. Although, it’s not completely out of the question. Ozzie Newsome‘s love affair with Alabama players means you can’t completely rule out Calvin Ridley at No. 16.
Back in March, Newsome told the media he was looking to change the wide receiver room. A remodel, we’ll call it. Newsome has kept true to that statement he made. The wide receiver room isn’t just going to be a little different going into 2018, it’s going to have a totally new look.
Mike Wallace signed with the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year deal. Mike Campanaro signed with the Tennessee Titans on a one-year deal while Jeremey Maclin remains a free agent after his release. Not to mention, tight end Benjamin Watson signed with the New Orleans Saints. Joe Flacco will have a whole new crew of guys catching his passes going into 2018.
In Ozzie’s final season has head honcho, don’t be totally surprised or taken aback if they go best player available. If pass rushers like Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport happen to be there, both have Ozzie moves written all over it. Even a tight end like Dallas Goedart or Hayden Hurst could be possibilities. Both have made visits with the Ravens this offseason. After Breshad Perriman, we can’t necessarily blame Ozzie for not wanting to reach on a wide receiver.
Forget wide receiver, the Ravens could go in another direction
Back in January, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta claimed that the majority of the talent at wide receiver comes after round one. Now just a week away from the draft, we should remember that quote and take it into account on draft night when the Ravens are on the clock. Maybe, just maybe, that was DeCosta’s way of telling the fanbase the Ravens could avoid a first-round wide receiver.
Looking at the players expected to go on Day two and realizing their potential, it’s something as a fanbase we shouldn’t be bent out of shape over. if the front office does decide to go that way, players like Michael Gallup, James Washington, Marcel Ateman, Simmie Cobbs and Christian Kirk would be nice additions if the Ravens do draft a Derrius Guice or a Dallas Goedert in the first round.
Looking back at the 2017 draft, three wide receivers that were taken before the Ravens even had the chance to shoot their shot. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Corey Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross combined for 45 receptions, 470 yards and 0 touchdowns as rookies. All three still have question marks next to their names and the possible potential they will have in the NFL. Looking at Marlon Humphrey last season, he certainly looks like he could be a starter this season and so forth.
If given the opportunity, going the best player available and addressing the wide receiver position later isn’t the worst idea in the world.
The Bottom Line
The potential signing of Willie Snead may not change the draft strategy of Ozzie and company. Maybe the front office never intended to go wide receiver in round one and don’t think any of the wideouts worth the pick. Or, maybe this was their way of getting out of drafting a receiver and beefing up the depth chart a different way.
Although the front office did go out and sign three wide receivers, it’s still one of the weaker receiving groups in the league. They will certainly have to draft one, possibly two come next week.
Just don’t expect it to come in round one.