Why our data on Baltimore Ravens receiver situation is incomplete

Ravens, James Proche Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, James Proche Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens receivers have been a topic of discussion. Multiple analysts have jumped on this from ESPN, including Mina Kimes and Dan Orlovsky. It was also talked about on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. 

Eric DeCosta defended the Ravens receiver situation in his pre-draft press conference. The question has been whether or not the Ravens have respectable talent at the wide receiver position.

Declaring the Ravens’ wide receiver position good enough is hard to do. The Ravens were dead last in passing yards earned in the 2020 season. They threw the ball less than any team in the league and that wasn’t just because they were a run-first offense.

A nice middle ground is that the Ravens have enough talent at the wide receiver position to get by within the offense that they operate. That’s hard to prove because it’s speculation that isn’t based on production. In fact, other than Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins the Ravens have a handful of receivers who have next to no production on their NFL resumes.

Declaring the Ravens don’t have enough talent at wide receiver is the easy answer, and quite frankly the knee-jerk answer. If Marquise Brown doesn’t fit your billing of a number one receiver, the Ravens don’t have a true number one receiver and Brown seems at least one step ahead of all the receivers in Baltimore.

The real answer is that what we know about the wide receiver situation is built on incomplete data. Devin Duvernay was a rookie in the 2020 season who only had 20 receptions. While there is plenty of potential for Duvernay it remains to be seen what kind of player he becomes. He could be a 30 catch player or a 55 catch player in a breakout season.

The Ravens haven’t given many chances to James Proche. While Miles Boykin is looking more and more like a disappointingly known commodity, he’s only entering his third season. A little growing up could change this conversation. That goes for every player in the receiving corps, not names Watkins or Brown.

The Ravens need to give their receivers chances to shine. Based on last year the Ravens receivers didn’t do enough for the offense. It’s not the 2020 season anymore. Willie Snead is gone and Devin Duvernay is in a completely different situation.

Boykin is now the player who has to compete for playing time now that Watkins is on board. Proche will be in the second year of his career. The good thing for Proche is that he didn’t leave much of an impression in his rookie season. A strong training camp could rewrite how the coaching staff sees him as a receiver.

The bottom line:

Should the Ravens keep adding to the receiver position in the 2021 NFL Draft? Of course, they should. You can still make the argument that the Ravens still have a desperate need at wide receiver. Investing in playmakers isn’t a bad idea even if things start to shape up for the Ravens.

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I’m not here to talk up the Ravens receivers or predict a breakout year from anybody. I’m also not going to trash a position group that was almost neglected and is for the most part young and undeveloped. The Ravens may have enough at wide receiver but we could never know before the games start back up again. DeCosta certainly has reason to keep swinging at the position just in case.