It’s hard to dispute that T.Y. Hilton is a very good receiver. With 608 career receptions and 50 touchdowns, he has more production than any of the Baltimore Ravens’ receivers (even if they bring back Dez Bryant). Being good and being the right fit are two different things.
The Baltimore offense has too many players like Hilton. Hilton is a fast receiver with a smaller frame. He’s 5-10 and he weighs in at 183 pounds. The Ravens don’t need a more experienced version of Marquise Brown.
In terms of production in 2020, Hilton is about on par with Brown. Brown had 58 receptions for 769 yards and eight touchdowns, while Hilton had 56 receptions for 762 yards and five touchdowns. Brown and Hilton are different players, but they fit into the same archetype.
Devin Duvernay is under six feet tall, so is James Proche. The biggest complaint from Ravens fans is that they need a big target for Lamar Jackson at the wide receiver position. Hilton isn’t that player. He’s a great route runner, and a big play waiting to happen, but he’s not the player that Baltimore needs.
When the Ravens brought in Dez Bryant, they did it because they needed a big and physical receiver. Miles Boykin stepped up a bit in the back-end of the season, but you’re never going to see him fill the Anquan Boldin role.
Too much of a good thing can exist even when you have a low-yielding wide receiver unit. Jackson is surrounded by shifty route runners with speed and Mark Andrews is his one option with a sizeable catch radius.
While Jackson’s inaccuracy is over-analyzed and often judged too harshly, he’s never going to have a Drew Brees level of precision. Jackson needs a receiver that he can chuck it up to, knowing the probabilities favor the offense. That’s not even a knock on Jackson. Most quarterbacks need that, Joe Flacco clearly did.
Could the Ravens make a receiver corps consisting of Brown, Hilton, and Duvernay work? It would take a different approach to the passing game, but yes. However, if this is the Ravens’ path to fixing the wide receiver position, Baltimore is always going to lack the big, physical, tough guy that they desperately need.
It’s not that you can’t make the argument for signing Hilton. He could be the quality receiver that falls into the Baltimore price range. It’s that as long as Greg Roman is calling the shots, and as long as Marquise Brown is in town, Hilton doesn’t fit the job description for the Ravens’ posting.
The Bottom Line:
You can’t say you want one thing then go for the complete opposite. The type of player the Ravens fanbase has been calling for fit into the big target category. We’re talking Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, Corey Davis, Kenny Golladay, and the poor man’s options of those players.
The Ravens have to attack the wide receiver need from the right angle. It’s easy to look at their production at the position group and say that they need a bit of everything. Ignoring what they already have though and then adding more of the same thing is a bad idea. It’s a bad idea, even if it’s an upgrade in terms of talent at wide receiver.