The Baltimore Ravens have seemingly spent the entirety of their existence as a franchise searching for a star wide receiver.
Aside from a few standout seasons here and there, the Ravens haven’t been able to find a consistent top-tier contributor at the position.
In fact, the team has had only 12 1,000-yard campaigns over the years with three players topping 1,100 yards. Their most recent 1,000-yard campaign came back in 2016 when the speedy Mike Wallace hauled in 72 catches for 1,017 yards.
The wide receiver position became a focus this offseason with the Ravens adding the likes of Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman, and Tylan Wallace. Could this be the year that Baltimore finally returns to the 1,000-yard club?
Will the Ravens have a 1,000-yard receiver in 2021?
They’ll, of course, have a bit of an advantage this year and every subsequent year moving forward. The NFL’s expansion to a 17-game season means that players will have one extra game to accrue stats.
The Ravens did, however, have the league’s worst passing offense a year ago. And even with a 17-game schedule, no player would have been on track to reach the 1,000-yard mark.
Marquise Brown led all Ravens players in receiving last year finishing with 769 yards on 58 catches. Brown has the big-play potential to rack up serious yards in the air, but inconsistency has held him back to this point.
Nonetheless, he remains a prime candidate to be the Ravens’ next 1,000-yard receiver.
The same could be said for Mark Andrews who holds the honor of boasting the most receiving yards a Ravens player has recorded in a single season since 2016.
That came in 2019 when Andrews broke out hauling in 64 catches for 852 yards en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance.
Could Andrews top that total in 2021? It’s certainly possible.
Few tight ends have the ability to reach the 1,000-yard mark, but Andrews has that potential.
What about rookie Rashod Bateman? Bateman shined at Minnesota topping 1,200 yards in 2019 and setting new school records for receiving yards and touchdowns. However, expecting him to replicate that success as a rookie might be a little too optimistic.
He won’t be short of opportunities, however, with Bateman projected to receiving plenty of looks in the passing game.
The Ravens do actually have a former 1,000-yard receiver on the roster in the aforementioned Sammy Watkins. Although that came way back in 2015 when Watkins was a 22-year-old rising star with the Buffalo Bills.
Now 28 and playing for his fourth NFL franchise, it seems unlikely that Watkins emerges as the top target in Baltimore. But if he can stay healthy, anything is possible.
A renewed focus on the passing game should provide more opportunities for a 1,000-yard receiver to step up. And you also can’t discount the addition of an extra game.
But given the numerous capable options the Ravens have in their receiving corps, the safe bet is to assume that none of them top 1,000 yards in 2021.
It’s certainly very possible though, and if any player is going to do it, your money should be on either Brown or Andrews.
Bateman is the dark horse.