The Baltimore Ravens have a shocking level of youth at wide receiver. That may not be a bad thing but it can’t be ignored:
I’m sorry to burst Lamar Jackson‘s bubble, but the Ravens are not going to sign Antonio Brown. There’s just too many things in the way of that happening. On top of some legal concerns with Brown, there is his troubling record of behavior and a global pandemic. The Ravens have to cut down to an 80 man roster for training camp and signing players is more complicated than it has ever been. There is just too many obstacles for this kind of a signing so the Ravens receiver group is what it is.
Just about every general manager in the NFL would have gone out and got a veteran wide receiver if they were in Eric DeCosta’s shoes. That’s just what you do when you have a group of unproven players who will be expected to handle the football a lot.
There isn’t a lot to go off of when you’re talking Ravens receivers. Willie Snead is who he is. Marquise Brown has shown flashes but you can lump him in with the rest of the receiver group. They’re young, mostly inexperienced and have untapped potential.
The truth is that we don’t know how that potential will unfold. With Brown there seems to be a little bit of ambiguity. How good is he? If he wasn’t fully healthy last year, how much better can he be? The answer could go either way. While we think of Brown as a player about to have his big season, we can’t call him the Ravens’ Tyreek Hill yet.
We don’t know if Miles Boykin can be a true number two receiver. He’s the big bodied target. He’s got speed. He also only has 13 NFL catches on his resume. We don’t know what we’ll see out of Devin Duvernay and James Proche. What we don’t know is more than what we do know.
What we know is pretty much just the traits these players came into the NFL with. The good news for the Ravens is that this group has a lot of speed, quickness and reliable hands.
The good thing is that the Ravens receivers will grow up in the league together. Instead of having the usual dynamic of having an older player show them the ropes, they’ll have each other. They’ll be going through the same things. Brown will be the leader. Whether he becomes an elite receiver or not, Brown has enough talent that he’ll always be able to make some plays. He’s going into his second season and he’s the one who has already etched out a major role in this offense.
This is a situation where they will all feed off each other. Each experience will help the group. This is actually another valid argument for those against signing Antonio Brown. If the Ravens are building these players up together this needs to be a group that gels.
If the Ravens get this right, they can finally stop worrying about the receiver unit. If each player in this group of young talent lives up to their potential, the Ravens are looking at a cheap receiver corps with a lot of star power. If Marquise Brown, Boykin, and Duvernay all pop, that’s three starting receivers right there; James Proche being a hit would just be gravy.
The Bottom Line:
We can make predictions about the Ravens receivers. The players involved are just about set in stone at this point. We still have to wait and see what the Ravens get. The things the receivers have going for them is that Lamar Jackson can make just about any starting lineup work. The Ravens ground game is also going to open up things for the passing attack to further develop.
The one thing we do know is that the Ravens have a group of receivers that has a chance to rise up together. If the Ravens get two long-term starters out of their current receiver corps that will be a win. If three or four of their young pass catchers work out that’s a major victory that will help the Ravens with the salary cap for at least the next few years.