The Baltimore Ravens year in review time. Are you ready for it? Here’s what we learned at wide receiver:
The first thing the Baltimore Ravens have learned at wide receiver is that Marquise Brown has talent but he can’t be the number one receiver next year. At some point, the Ravens are going to have to spoil us at wide receiver. Brown was a decent shot at the position he just didn’t have the breakout year two everyone was waiting for.
Marquise Brown has 49 receptions for 703 yards and five touchdowns. It’s not really a step forward and I don’t want to even look up how many drops he has. Brown doesn’t like to get hit. Going out of bounds and avoiding hits is somewhat reasonable at his size. There’s a but coming here, but it almost seems like the pass has to be just how he likes it for things to work for him.
Brown goes back and forth between being a superstar and a frustrating player. He’s made some of the biggest catches of the year. The fourth-down grab against the Browns saved the season (Thanks go first to Lamar Jackson). Jackson loves to throw the ball to Brown. They have a connection. That’s a positive, though it’s not enough. It’s just not enough.
Miles Boykin is still an unknown commodity. It’s kind of easy to say he didn’t take a step forward based on his numbers. He’s starting to come on strong and he has a few beautiful touchdown grabs to keep some interest alive. Is this offense really suited for Boykin to break out? It’s too convenient to say he can’t win one on one matchups because Boykin doesn’t get many chances to catch passes in these scenarios.
The Ravens wasted a year with Boykin. They didn’t learn anything, because they never addressed the problems he’s had fitting into this offense. Not knowing how to use receivers is a Greg Roman special at this point. Look at Devin Duvernay and James Proche. The Ravens either have no interest in developing these players beyond special teams, or they don’t know how to get them started.
Duvernay has 19 catches on 24 targets. Nothing bad happens when he gets thrown the ball. What does he have to do, put on a flashing neon light around his facemask? That may hurt his concentration and I’m not sure it’s allowed by the NFL.
All jokes aside, get him the ball. He’s fast, has reliable hands, and is dangerous in the open field. This is an honest question because I don’t get it: Is there a reason not to throw him the ball? Who else is taking catches away in this offense? That’s the whole point. Don’t get me started on James Proche, it’s a very similar story and it’s upsetting that he doesn’t get a fair shot.
Dez Bryant has been a bright spot. His return has simply been fun and inspirational. Bryant is easily the hungriest player with the highest motor in the receiver group. Do you know what this means? Bryant has to get back in this offense next season. It’s a must. It must happen.
The Ravens have to either sign a free agent stud at wide receiver or get it right in the draft. If I’m Eric DeCosta I’m making Allen Robinson priority number one. The offensive line and pass rush are both bigger needs and I trust the organization more in the draft to target players there. At this point, the Ravens not getting wide receiver is just a fact.
A legitimate number one receiver would make Brown a number two receiver. That makes him a less problematic receiver and lets Devin Duvernay become a top-tier slot next season (if the Ravens are smart enough).
Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Brown ended up being the third-best receiver in Baltimore next year. They need to get a number one. but Bryant may end up being a key piece of this offense. One way or the other, the Ravens need to stop being clueless with this position. Their lack of getting it has outweighed their need for talent. That’s saying something.