4 wide receivers who can help Ravens’ Lamar Jackson take the next step
By Kristen Wong
If the Baltimore Ravens want quarterback Lamar Jackson to truly flourish in 2023, they’re going to have to meet him halfway.
This is, of course, assuming Jackson stays in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. Contract issues aside, Jackson’s last few years as a Raven have been largely disappointing in part because of Jackson’s injuries.
In 2021, Jackson missed the second half of the Ravens’ season and the team failed to qualify for the playoffs. In 2022, the Ravens earned a spot in the Wild Card round but were quickly eliminated by the Bengals, capping off their offensive backslide in the final stretch of the season in which Baltimore averaged 12.25 points in each of its last four games.
When healthy, Jackson has looked dominant in a handful of games here and there, but nothing compares to his 2019 MVP season. How do the Ravens get him back to top-performing shape?
The answer has been staring Baltimore right in the face.
Josh Allen got Stefon Diggs in Year 3 at Buffalo. Kirk Cousins got Justin Jefferson in his third season in Minnesota. This past offseason, Tua Tagovailoa got Tyreek Hill in Year 3 at Miami.
Jackson is entering his sixth year at Baltimore and, suffice to say, is long overdue for a No. 1 wideout.
(And no, Rashod Bateman does not count right now).
Here are four elite wide receiver options the Ravens should go all-in on in 2023.
4. Brandin Cooks
Okay, so Brandin Cooks isn’t the hottest name on the list. The Houston Texans wideout is 29 years old and his most productive days may admittedly be behind him.
In 2022, Cooks recorded 699 receiving yards and three touchdowns, his lowest totals since he joined the Texans in 2020.
Cooks has in fact spent stints on multiple teams in the league including the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, and Los Angeles Rams, but it’s not hard to see him finishing his career in Baltimore.
Cooks could serve as a mentor to Rashod Bateman as Bateman continues to grow in the position while still allowing the Ravens to roll out an incisive passing attack in 2023. Cooks has put together six 1,000-plus receiving seasons in his career and has proven he’s more than capable of carrying the lion’s share of targets.
He can play with a variety of quarterbacks and has no significant injury history to boot — he and Jackson make an intriguing pairing and the two of them could breathe life into the Ravens’ passing offense.