Every year the Baltimore Ravens seem to have questions at the receiver position. This year remains no different. The last two season solutions were to completely remake the receiving corps through veteran and castoff free agent signings. Now in 2019, new general manager Eric DeCosta has gone a different route: mainly drafting receivers high. This offers more longevity than the recent solutions but comes with more risk. The Ravens currently have six rookie wide receivers on the roster with likely only three (at max) set to make the team.
An early casualty of this philosophy was Ravens 2018 fifth-round pick, Jordan Lasley. After leading the Pac-12 in receiving yards in just nine games in 2017, the former UCLA standout found himself cut by the Ravens the week before Baltimore’s first preseason game. Lasley failed to stand out in training camp despite spending the off-season training with Lamar Jackson. He was even projected to start for the Ravens in Sports Illustrated’s 2019 Fantasy Football preview. The lesson here? No job is safe.
These are the current Ravens receivers with a chance to fill in the final two spots on the 53-man roster.
Baltimore Ravens Last Receiver Spot Options 2019
For this analysis, I’m projecting the Ravens keep six receivers alongside their three tight ends. Willie Snead, Marquise Brown, Chris Moore, and Miles Boykin are all likely locks to make the team but the final two positions remain up for grabs. It is also important to note that at least one undrafted rookie has made the Ravens roster for 15 straight seasons.
The Four Favorites
Coming over to the Ravens after five seasons as an Oakland Raider, Roberts brings a veteran presence to a very young receiving corps. Of the four projected wide receiver locks to make the team, only one (Snead) has over three years of NFL experience. In all of his years with the Raiders, Roberts was primarily an afterthought but still managed to consistently contribute. In Roberts last two seasons in Oakland, his catch percentage increased both years while still putting up relatively similar receiving yards. Though being looked at less, he was making the most of his opportunities, posting a career-high of 494 receiving yards in 2018.
If Roberts were to make the Ravens roster, he would likely fill a similar role to the one he occupied in Oakland: a rotational player that can do a little bit of everything. Roberts took snaps with the first team in Baltimore’s preseason opener but saw no targets. He did, however, throw a good block that led to Snead’s first-quarter touchdown. All this bodes well for him making the 53-man roster.
Similar to Lasley, Scott was a mid-round selection of the Ravens just one season ago. Coming out of New Mexico State, the fourth-rounder failed to see the field in 2018 despite many draft analysts having him as a major sleeper. In his final college season, he led the Sun Belt Conference in receptions, receiving touchdowns and piled up the second-most receiving yards. Scott has a hulking frame as well. He comes in at 6’6” and 215 lbs.
Though Scott saw limited action in his first preseason game of 2019, he has a good chance to make the squad. He made a great adjustment on his lone target against the Jacksonville Jaguars to pull in a sideline grab for 25 yards. Jackson will likely first be looking for Boykin or tight end Mark Andrews in the red zone but the Ravens already have enough speed on the outside in Brown and Moore.
A four-year player at Louisville, Smith has one big thing going for him. He has previously caught passes from Jackson. In Jackson’s final season in college, the two hooked up for 60 receptions, 980 yards, and seven touchdowns as Smith became his favorite target. Smith’s numbers took a pretty big downturn without the 2016 Heisman winner in 2018 as he went undrafted before being picked up by the Ravens. Each of Smith’s previously mentioned receiving categories fell dramatically in his senior season. He was also docked in the draft process for seemingly not trying his best over last year at Louisville.
Smith’s first NFL action didn’t really give us a good look at what he truly brings to the table. His first of two targets saw him wildly off-page with quarterback Trace McSorley including an uncatchable ball on a 4th & 16 hail Mary. If Smith can use his friendship with Jackson as leverage and make more of a preseason impact, there’s a chance he can make the team. Richard Bradshaw has Smith quoted as saying “(Jackson’s) my boy. He was my boy before we went to school together.” That motivation could elevate his game to a point where the Ravens may have to keep him.
It’s crazy how just a few years ago in 2015, Floyd was coming off of three straight 800+ yard, 5+ TD seasons. Now he’s jumping around teams as much as any player who has managed to stay in the league for the last three years. After his DUI arrest and eventual waiving from the Arizona Cardinals, Floyd has been a member of five teams since the tail end of the 2016 season. Receiving just four starts the past two seasons, the former first-rounder is a Raven for the time being.
The signing may be surprising to some but Floyd still has a very good pair of hands and is perhaps the most proven of any of the Ravens possession receivers. Their signing of Michael Crabtree didn’t work out last year but Floyd is a much lower risk. Though it looks hard for Floyd to crack the roster, if the Ravens struggle with drops in the preseason, he could be a safe-keep on the roster. Floyd has never dropped more than five passes in a season. Despite not catching a pass in the Ravens first preseason game, Floyd saw the second-most snaps amongst receivers behind Boykin.
While Modster had a solid first preseason game, it’s hard to see him making the roster. He doesn’t do much to wow observers but he’s very solid as an all-around player. There’s a chance he could play on the outside but he is best utilized in the middle of the field where Snead will likely spend most of his time. Modster had three grabs on three targets against Jacksonville including a nifty little catch-and-go up the middle for 12 yards on a 3rd & 12. Snead’s presence probably keeps him from having a shot at the 53-man roster.
Wesley is another big target on the Ravens roster. At 6’4″ and 206 pounds, he has a solid catch radius but needs to work more on extending plays after the catch. Wesley’s production was limited in college due to playing behind a group of good receivers. However, when he got his chance, he made it count. In Wesley’s final season at Texas Tech, the junior posted 1,410 receiving yards, good for second in the Big 12, and nine touchdowns. The numbers and a willingness to seize opportunities could give Wesley a chance to make the Ravens team but he faces a tough battle as there is a lot of competition from players with a similar playstyle to himself. Wesley dropped his only target in the Ravens first preseason game.
The name might sound familiar but Horn Jr. has a lot to live up to after a very quiet college career. In Horn’s 2018 season, he only managed 15 grabs for 246 yards and no touchdowns. Even with the low numbers, Horn managed to get a PTO with the Ravens and impressed head coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens staff enough to keep him on the roster. Harbaugh said of the young Horn “I think the thing what struck me about him was that he looked like Joe Horn…you can tell he’s worked with his dad a lot.” Horn Sr. still leads the New Orleans Saints in all-time touchdown catches.
Horn didn’t see much action against the Jaguars but could see more playing time in the next few preseason games. It took his father a while to break into the league so it will be interesting to see what happens with Horn going forward.