Is Willie Snead good enough to thrive as Ravens top-dog?
The Baltimore Ravens are thinner than ever at wide receiver, and Willie Snead is the top-dog position right now. But, is he good enough to back it up?
It wasn’t that long ago that wide receiver Willie Snead was an underrated threat for the New Orleans Saints. Between 2015 and 2016, Snead had nearly 2,000 receiving yards and 13.3 YPR after going undrafted from Ball State. Unfortunately for him, his 2017 season was maligned with injuries and he was held to just eight receptions.
The Saints gave Snead a low-level tender following 2017, as he was a restricted free agent, but declined to match his deal when he signed elsewhere. Of course, we all know that Snead decided to sign with the Baltimore Ravens. In his first season in Baltimore, Snead caught 62 passes for 651 receiving yards. Primarily the third receiver, 2019 will prove to be a challenging one for Snead, as the Ravens have little-to-no depth at the position following the release of Michael Crabtree.
With Crabtree gone and John Brown an unrestricted free agent, Willie Snead is currently listed as the X-receiver. The question is, can he live up to that billing?
The simple answer is no, but I am willing to build a case for him. Snead has a solid build for a possession-style receiver at 5’11” 205-lbs. The possession/slot receiver has always been a spot valued by the Ravens, and Snead could provide the safety blanket that Lamar Jackson will need in his second-year as he grows.
Snead is also a savvy veteran, even at just 26-years old (will turn 27 in October). Snead has been around three different quarterbacks now, and when given the opportunity he has shown some promise as a starting level receiver.
The biggest problem for Baltimore is that Snead isn’t likely in the team’s long-term plans, considering he only signed a deal for two-years. Beyond him, the Ravens have two second-year guys in Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley and fourth-year pro Chris Moore. With an extreme lack of depth, there’s no way the team will pass on adding talent at the position this off-season, which would put Snead’s claim as the no.1 receiver in jeopardy.
Truthfully, that would be a blessing in disguise. However, should the Baltimore Ravens opt against investing heavy capital into the position, I believe that Willie Snead is decent enough to be the team’s top receiver for 2019. Snead has just enough skill that he can give the team a little bit of cushion to wait on other prospects, if they don’t like what’s available.
Truth be told, the Baltimore Ravens absolutely have to invest at wide receiver this off-season, if not because they have literally almost no depth. If the team invests heavy capital to fix the position, great! If not, Willie Snead can suffice as the team’s no.1 receiver for just one season. This isn’t a permanent solution whatsoever, as that’s a plan set up to fail. However, if the Ravens need Willie Snead to step up for just one season, we could be pleasantly surprised with the return investment.