The Baltimore Ravens may or may not get a number one wide receiver in free agency. We’ll see what happens. At the risk of irrationally getting your hopes up, let’s consider what would happen if the Ravens got a truly special receiver in their offense.
If the Ravens got a legitimate number one receiver it what would be the main impact on the offense? There would be three main things that would come of such a move. First, it would allow the Ravens to have a truly balanced passing attack.
Secondly, Jackson could be more aggressive, knowing that Mark Andrews wasn’t the only possible destination for a 50-50 ball. Lastly, it would boost the ground game even more. That may sound counterintuitive so we’ll start with number three and work our way to the first two benefits.
The Ravens’ main mode of operation is the run game. It’s what the whole attack is based on and what butters their bread. Everybody knows this. The defense needs a reason to fear the passing game, a reason to treat the Baltimore offense with full respect.
A number one receiver would give the Ravens at a minimum a trio of playmakers in the passing game. The new addition would join Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews as Jackson’s favorite weapons. All of a sudden the Ravens aren’t a team that a single high safety with a defense selling out to stop the run isn’t a great plan. The run game will eat even more than before.
In this theoretical dream state, Jackson could take some more shots down the field. Just like Joe Flacco did when he had Anquan Boldin, Jackson can make throws trusting that his tough-as-nails target wins the play. Plays, where Jackson would have taken off with his legs, will become completions in tight coverage.
The offense won’t change fundamentally, the passing game will just operate differently. The run game is still going to be the main element of the offense. The passing game will be much more developed.
A number one receiver is one who attracts multiple defenders in coverage. Adding this to the offense would create chances for Brown and Andrews. Should Devin Duvernay become a strong slot receiver, the Ravens would be able to spread the ball around. The number one receiver would be a cheat code because he would almost always give Jackson a favorable matchup.
Brown would become an afterthought almost because defenses would still want to bracket Andrews. Brown may get fewer receptions yet his impact would go up. The passing game would be completely different.
- Jackson’s completion percentage could go from the mid-’60s to the high ’60s.
- Jackson would go from averaging 25 passing attempts per game to closer to 30.
- Duvernay may not be forced into the offense as much, hurting the rate of growth from the young Texas product.
- Being less reliant on young receivers wouldn’t help James Proche find his way in Greg Roman’s offense either.
- Miles Boykin could become practically irrelevant in the offense, making that pick a bust.
- The Ravens could be tempted to pass too much and get away from Ravens-styled football.
- Brown becomes harder to stop.
The Bottom Line:
A number one receiver would be a great investment in Lamar Jackson. It put Marquise Brown in a much more honest position of being the number two target at wide receiver. It sounds like a demotion but it could be the best thing that ever happens for Brown with the Ravens.
It would change the course of the receiver position for the Ravens in a number of ways. If the Ravens had a receiver that struck fear in the minds of defensive coordinators the way Mark Andrews does as a tight end, Baltimore would get a lot out of that.