Young wide receiver labeled "Biggest X-Factor" for Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens
Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens / Will Newton/GettyImages

When it comes to picking your favorite offensive weapons among those involved with the Baltimore Ravens ahead of the 2023 season, you just can't go wrong no matter who you choose.

Do you want a former Super Bowl champion coming off a season-long hiatus and poised to make the ultimate comeback? You have him in Odell Beckham Jr.

Do you want a top-3 tight end in the NFL trying to climb even higher in his positional ladder? You have him in Mark Andrews.

Do you want an elite-level quarterback finally released from a rushing-oriented OC and with the richest contract ever signed just weeks ago? You have him in Lamar Jackson.

Do you want one of the most talented rushers in the NFL entering a contract year in 2023 having already returned to the field last season? You have him in J.K. Dobbins.

That's just to name a few of the members of the 2023 Flock Nation, and I'm not forgetting about Baltimore's WR1 Rashod Bateman, veteran wideout Nelson Agholor, or talented running back Gus Edwards.

In an article written by Gilberto Manzano and Matt Verderame of Sports Illustrated, they went the distance and chose a rookie as the Ravens' "Biggest X-Factor" for the upcoming season.

"WR Zay Flowers: The Ravens took another swing at drafting a wide receiver in this year’s first round. They’re counting on Flowers to end the team’s streak of whiffing on wideouts, hoping he can make an immediate impact under OC Todd Monken, who’s looking to push the ball downfield. At this stage in his career, Odell Beckham Jr. may no longer be a downfield threat, and, while Rashod Bateman has shown flashes of making plays in the vertical game, the 2021 first-round pick has struggled with staying on the field. Flowers has plenty of pressure to help this passing game improve this season."

Gilberto Manzano and Matt Verderame, SI

Flowers is entering his rookie season after getting drafted by the Ravens with a first-round pick out of Boston College. Not a bad selection by the folks over Sports Illustrated is what I'm saying.

While the analysts think that Baltimore "took another swing" by going with a wide receiver in the first round, they acknowledged that Flowers can "end the team's streak of whiffing on wideouts" and "make an immediate impact" under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

As they pointed out in their blurb, Monken is expected to bring a more diverse, pass-heavy offense to Baltimore following Greg Roman's rushing-loaded playbook.

The writers think that the facts that Beckham "may no longer be a downfield threat" and that Bateman "has shown flashes [but] struggled with staying on the field" could open the door for Flowers to blossom.

"Flowers has plenty of pressure to help this passing game improve this season," they wrote, but that means that if the rookie can fulfill the expectations then he could surely turn into the Ravens' deciding "X-Factor" next season on their way to make a Super Bowl in 2023.

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