2. The Ravens are still weak at wide receiver
The Ravens haven’t had a solid wide receiver room for a while, and this season might not be an exception. Marquise Brown is still as inconsistent as ever and hasn’t yet earned (and may never earn) Jackson’s trust to be the top target on the outside.
Brown had 769 yards and eight touchdowns last season, but he also endured a five-game drought with just 10 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
The big addition of free agency was Sammy Watkins, whose wealth of playoff experience theoretically boosts the Ravens’ wide receiver grade.
He brings over 4,600 career receiving yards and 33 receiving touchdowns, averages 14.5 yards per catch, and has reached the postseason in each of the last four seasons, including two Super Bowl appearances and one championship with the Chiefs.
Whew, that was a mouthful. The numbers just tell the history, though.
Watkins still remains untested in his pairing with Lamar Jackson, a much different quarterback from Patrick Mahomes, and has drawn concern for his proneness to injury.
He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since he was a rookie in 2014 and has been healthy for an average of 12.3 games each year.
So Watkins may not be the true “No.1 receiver” fans have clamored for (that would be Julio Jones). Who else do the Ravens have at the position?
Without belaboring the obvious, Rashod Bateman.
The Ravens’ first-round pick is arguably the “X factor” of the team because of the enormous role he could play this season. No doubt the rookie to watch, Bateman is one of three wide receivers in the 2021 draft class to average over three yards per route run in both 2019 and 2020.
Bateman’s remarkable ability to run with the football and his sure hands have raised the bar for this young prospect to the heavens, where they will remain until Bateman actually gets a start on the field.
The main components of the Ravens’ receiver class all carry faults: one is inconsistent, one is aging, and one is completely unproven. Baltimore’s wide receiver group remains one of the weaker units on a stacked roster.