Ravens should go all-in on Deebo Samuel (but they won’t)

Ravens, Deebo Samuel (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Ravens, Deebo Samuel (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens are no longer listed as one of the NFL teams projected to land San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel, but it’s no secret that they badly need a veteran-wideout this year.

Hypothetically, the Ravens should absolutely go all-in on Samuel to give themselves the best shot at winning a Super Bowl in 2022 — but realistically, they won’t.

After trading away Marquise Brown and failing to draft a single wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft, Baltimore’s wide receiver corps looks the ugliest it has in recent years.

WR1: Rashod Bateman. WR2: James Proche or Devin Duvernay. WR3: Tylan Wallace.

Need we go on?

The Ravens jumped the gun on signing a handful of undrafted free agent wide receivers post-draft including Oregon’s Devon Williams, North Carolina State’s Emeka Emezie, Cal’s Trevon Clark, Mississippi State’s Makai Polk, and Alabama’s Slade Bolden.

Given how young the Ravens’ current receiver room is, though, the team still needs a seasoned veteran to take the reins, someone savvy enough to absorb Brown’s target share and dynamic enough to generate explosive chemistry with Lamar Jackson all year round.

In an ideal world, that receiver is Deebo Samuel, and in an ideal situation, Baltimore would happily give up a massive draft picks haul for him.

Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon recently gave his reasons for why the Ravens should go all-in on Samuel in 2022, and we can hardly argue with the sentiment.

"“A team in win-now mode with a quarterback who doesn’t appear to be antsy about extending his expiring contract has to be willing to sacrifice future draft capital in a situation like this for a player like this.It’s the cool thing to do now anyway, a la the Los Angeles Rams. Primo draft picks are nice, but those are rolls of the dice, and Samuel is a proven commodity.”"

Baltimore Ravens value draft picks too highly to go after 49ers’ Deebo Samuel

The obvious counterpoint to the Samuel trade: the Ravens don’t really do the “cool” thing. They do their own thing, which is rebuilding their roster year after year through prudent trades and a proven “best player available” draft strategy.

The Ravens have the full spread of picks in the 2023 and 2024 drafts to offer for a pricey target like Samuel, but the team places a higher premium on draft capital than most NFL teams (aka the Rams), and mortgaging future picks for immediate success just isn’t how Baltimore does business.

A sliver of good news to come out of the draft is that teams listed as favorites to trade for Samuel all hit big on wide receiver prospects this year: the New York Jets selected Garrett Wilson, the Indianapolis Colts selected Alec Pierce, the Green Bay Packers selected Christian Watson, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Skyy Moore, and the Atlanta Falcons selected Drake London.

Baltimore remains one of the only teams yet to invest significant capital in its wide receiver room, so that alone should increase the franchise’s chances to nab Samuel even if such a blockbuster trade goes against the Ravens’ core ethos.

Gagnon suggests that along with future draft picks, Baltimore could sweeten the pot by offering San Francisco a vet like Marcus Peters, which would be a shrewd deal given the fact that the 49ers need secondary help and Peters is entering the end of his deal.

The Ravens have been widely hailed as an undeniable winner in this year’s draft even though they didn’t address the wide receiver position, and if they were to land Samuel, their offseason would be one for the record books.

Next. Ravens’ biggest winners and losers of the 2022 NFL Draft. dark

Will it actually happen? We wouldn’t count on it.