Baltimore Ravens wide receiving room could be very different in 2021
The Baltimore Ravens didn’t have the strongest wide receiving corps in 2020 and as a result we may see a massive makeover of the position for 2021.
Passing the football has never really been the Baltimore Ravens forte. Baltimore has always relied on a dominant run game and suffocating defense to win games throughout its history, but some of that can also be attributed to the team’s failure to give its quarterbacks adequate weapons at wide receiver. The franchise’s best receivers such as Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Smith Sr. were all outsiders brought in via Free Agency and trade. Short of a couple draft picks like Torrey Smith and (Hopefully) Marquise Brown, Baltimore has repeatedly swung and missed on wide receivers.
2020 wasn’t much different than previous years, as the aforementioned “Hollywood” Brown paced the team’s receivers with 769-yards. That’s not a bad number until you realize that Brown did that as the de facto no.1 receiver. That’s a huge red flag for any team, not just the Ravens, and is an area that needs addressing.
We should see the team completely redo the position short of a couple pieces for 2021. Brown is the safest bet to return as well as second-year man Devin Duvernay. After those two, it becomes a bit dicey.
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Miles Boykin is someone who has yet to even come close to his potential and he could be on his last chance in Charm City. The former third-round pick has less than 500 receiving yards in his first two NFL seasons. Boykin is by no means a lock to make this roster with the way he has underachieved.
A popular name among fans was James Proche, who was a sixth-round draft choice in 2020. Proche dominated college ball and had some upside as a return man; something the Ravens have desperately needed in recent years. Because of this, many held out hope that he would take the returner job and run with it. Instead, Proche was almost too safe and wound up being replaced by Duvernay. Proche will need to find a way to stand out this offseason.
Baltimore has two free agents in the forms of Willie Snead and Dez Bryant to think about bringing back for 2021. Snead has been with the Ravens each of the last three seasons, but his play has declined in each of those years. Snead is a valued veteran on the team, but he doesn’t bring enough to the table to warrant a spot on this roster right now. Bryant is a huge name for the team, but he did very little in 2020. Maybe this is because he saw few reps, but even in his time starting he wasn’t the game-changer he once was. Bryant is far from a lock to return for 2021.
The upcoming Free Agency class has tons of great options to sign such as Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin. Either would be massive upgrades for this wide receiving core, but Baltimore could also go bargain bin shopping, something they do quite often, and nab someone cheaper like Corey Davis or Will Fuller V.
The 2021 NFL Draft has a slew of options, as well. Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman is a player often linked to the Ravens late in the first-round. Florida’s Ka’Darius Toney is also a name linked to the team in round-one. We could always see Baltimore go all-in on one of the top receivers like the Alabama duo of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle if the team is truly committed to a culture change. There are always options outside of round-one to consider, such as Auburn’s Seth Williams and Clemson’s Amari Rodgers.
The point here is there are tons of avenues the Baltimore Ravens could cross this offseason to redo its wide receiving room, and we must be prepared for it. There are few options safe in Baltimore currently and we should anticipate a lot of change to a receiving core that is simply lacking. If the Ravens are truly intent on putting a competent receiving core in front of Lamar Jackson, we should see a wide receiving core unlike anything we’ve seen previously.