In order for Joe Flacco to have success, he needs someone at the wide receiver position that he can throw the ball to. Although he is one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league, he still requires some amount of talent in the passing game in order for this offense to succeed. It has worked in the past with the likes of Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Smith, but the last three years have been a struggle for the Baltimore Ravens.
With a full season under the belt of Alex Collins, and Marshal Yanda coming back to the offensive line, the time is right for this offense to take a step forward with Flacco entering the back half of his career. As Ozzie Newsome begins handing the reins over to Eric DeCosta as general manager, a big splash at wide receiver would be a nice going out for Newsome and good entrance to the position for DeCosta.
Baltimore Ravens Wide Receiver Needs: Time for a Solution
Via the NFL Draft
Calvin Ridley, Alabama
With the number of quarterbacks expected to go early in this draft, it is possible that someone with Ridley’s talent falls to the middle of the first round. Although still a long shot, if Ridley falls to 16, the Ravens should jump at the chance to take him, especially with the recent history of taking defensive players early in the draft. There has been noise about Ridley falling into this area after his below average Combine results. The 4.43 40 time was good, but he disappointed with a 31″ vertical jump, a 9’2” broad jump, and tied for the lowest reps by a receiver in the bench press at 15. The tape from college should still be enough to take him if he makes it to the Ravens.
James Washington, Oklahoma State
A classic move by the Ravens would be to trade down into the 21-22 spot, as the Buffalo Bills have back-to-back picks. A move like this wouldn’t surprise me, especially with someone like Washington on the board. Part of the high octane Cowboy offense, Washington was able to consistently beat one-on-ones both in college and at the Senior Bowl and getting a reliable receiver like him on the outside would be a great grab for the Ravens.
Dante Pettis, Washington
In a realistic sense, this is a move the Ravens have been known to make. Pettis is a talented receiver who flew a bit under the radar playing at Washington. While he most likely doesn’t have the ability to become an All-Pro receiver, he does have the talent to make a few Pro Bowls and has the production in college to show it. If he is available for the Ravens with their third round pick, they should take Pettis to get a solid receiver who would help as a dangerous weapon in the return game.
Via Free Agency
This one feels like a bit of cheating to list, as many outlets have reported the Ravens as one of the teams interested in trading for Landry. He has agreed to the non-exclusive franchise tag the Dolphins gave him, allowing him to be traded if the right team is found. Landry would be a good fit for the Ravens as a reliable receiver not only in the short game but as one who might be able to stretch his legs with a quarterback willing to throw deep. In 2016, he showed his ability to be a true number one with over 1,100 yards and over 12 yards a catch.
At only 24, Robinson is coming off a major injury after an ACL tear in September. He should be back to full health by the time the 2018 season starts and would be a major addition. If not tagged by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Robinson would give the Ravens an answer at the receiver position and finally have someone to talk about when the conversation of best receivers in the AFC North starts up.
As one of the most talented receivers in the league, the only question with Watkins is his ability to stay healthy. It would be a risk to sign him, but the potential would be worth it if the Ravens could get an entire season out of him, or at least 80 percent games played during whatever contract he signed. Still only 24 years old, Watkins still has room to grow and hasn’t yet reached his potential.
In today’s game, a team can only get so far with a good running game and a good defense. If this were the early 2000s, the Ravens would be fine sticking with those two facets of their game and forgoing the pass. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case anymore. In order to be successful, the Ravens need to find an answer at receiver. If they can manage to make one of these players a Raven, a division title should be well within reach in 2018.