Ravens position battles: Devin Duvernay vs. Tylan Wallace

The one thing we know about the 2021 Baltimore Ravens is that the passing game will be much more equipped. The 2021 Ravens now have Rashod Bateman, Tylan Wallace, and Sammy Watkins joining the passing attack.

Devin Duvernay and Tylan Wallace will both be on the team. They’re not on the roster bubble, yet they are in direct competition with one another. Before the 2021 NFL Draft, Duvernay was in one of the best spots as a second-year player.

He was going to be the main weapon in the slot. He was in an offense that needed to expand the passing game but loved to attack the middle of the field already. Before the draft, the Ravens were desperate for help at wide receiver.

Duvernay went from an obvious candidate for a breakout season to a completely new situation. Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, and Rashod Bateman don’t affect Duvernay all that directly. Brown is still the top target in the offense. Watkins and Bateman are the X receiver types the Ravens were missing last season.

When the Ravens run three-wide receiver sets it will be interesting to see who is on the field. Bateman, Watkins and, Brown will see some time on the field together. Still, you have to think Watkins and Bateman will take turns. This will save Watkins from wearing down and will reduce the dependency on the rookie receiver from Minnesota.

The Ravens have three players suited incredibly well for the slot position in Marquise Brown, Duvernay, and Wallace. Brown will play a lot of his snaps on the outside. That means the slot is where the snaps should usually come for either Duvernay or Wallace. This is the roster battle conflict. They’re both making the team, but they may have to compete to see who makes the biggest impact.

It’s easy to see why Duvernay and Wallace were taken by the Ravens in back-to-back years. They’re very similar players.

Duvernay is listed as 5-10 and 200 pounds. Wallace stands at 5-11 and just under 200 pounds. When Duvernay reaches his top speed he’s probably the more explosive player. Wallace is quick, he also brings the ability to go up and get the ball. That’s something Wallace has over Duvernay at the moment.

The big advantage that Duvernay has is that he’s no longer a rookie. With some teams, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a rookie. With John Harbaugh rookies tend to have to do some waiting before they get asked to be one of the main characters on offense or defense. Duvernay walks into the season with the advantage. The question is how does he maintain it.

Wallace had a more consistent and productive college career.  Duvernay had 176 catches for 2,468 yards and 16 touchdowns in four years with the Texas Longhorns. Wallace had 205 receptions for 3,434 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Duvernay came into his own in his third and final season of college football. Wallace may be coming into the NFL a little more refined and ready to produce than Duvernay was last year. In terms of talent and readiness to produce, Duvernay and Wallace are on fairly even footing.

The Bottom Line:

Duvernay had 20 receptions last year. He has a very good chance to be the return specialist for the team. The additions at the wide receiver reduce the risk to the Ravens of having Duvernay take the extra hits on special teams. Duvernay is still in line for a breakout season. The Ravens are going to pass more and he’s the same budding talent he was before Wallace came along.

Situationally, Duvernay is in a worse spot than he was before the draft. He’s going to have to earn every snap. The receiver position went from lacking to being stacked in three days. Look for Duvernay to have more than his 20 receptions from a year ago; the addition of Wallace may prevent Duvernay from being the breakout star of the offense though.