While there isn’t a clear-cut consensus on who is the No.1 wide receiver prospect during this year’s pre-draft cycle, USC’s Jordan Addison is among the top five for most draft pundits and analysts.
He was born in Fredrick, Maryland which is just over 50 miles outside of Baltimore. The 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner grew up rooting for the Baltimore Ravens and during his media session at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, March 3, 2023, he said it’d be “a dream come true” if he were drafted by what was essentially his hometown team.
“That’s the home team,” Addison said. “Growing up right there, playing for them, a lot of my family would be able to make that game easily.”
The former Trojan was having an impressive workout on Saturday prior to cutting it short because of a lingering back strain that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported he was dealing with heading into the combine.
He ran an official 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, recorded 34 inches in the vertical jump, and leaped 10 feet and 2 inches in the broad jump. The area where he was the most impressive was during the field workouts where he caught the ball well and ran smooth and crisp routes.
Former Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles scout, Daniel Jeremiah, who is now the lead draft analyst for NFL Network and NFL.com explained what makes Addison such a “dynamic” playmaker in a film breakdown during Saturday’s broadcast.
“He can do so many different things in terms of the speed, the quickness in and out of breaks,” Jeremiah said. “He does a great job with his head fakes, getting guys to turn and bite. And then he catches the ball beautifully.”
He also praised his “pure burst” after the catch as well as his ability to track the ball downfield and maintain his balance through contact after coming down with the ball.
For his professional comparison, Jeremiah said that his game resembles that of Jahan Dotson who was selected No. 16 overall by the Washington Commanders in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Penn State. The two are built similarly in terms of height and weight and tested similarly at their respective combines.
Dotson wasn’t able to put up gaudy receiving stats as a rookie in terms of catches and yards given the Commanders’ inconsistent play under center with just 35 receptions for 523 yards per Pro Football Reference. However, he was able to find the end zone seven times for touchdowns which was the second-most among rookies behind the Green Bay Packers Christian Watson.
Addison led USC in receptions (59), receiving yards (875), and receiving touchdowns (8) as a junior in 2022 but his best season came prior to his transfer from the University of Pittsburgh. As a sophomore in 2021, he led the Panthers and finished fourth in the nation in receiving yards with 1,593 and tied for the most receiving touchdowns with 17.
Another Top WR Prospect Would be Excited to Land with Ravens
Addison wasn’t the only wide receiver prospect projected to come off the board early that was asked to share his thoughts about what it would be like to come to Baltimore and isn’t the only one that would welcome the possibility with tremendous excitement.
While he didn’t grow up in Maryland or rooting for the Ravens, former Boston College standout, Zay Flowers, did grow up in the same part of southern Florida as the team’s current franchise quarterback, Lamar Jackson. He heard so much about the former unanimous league MVP growing up and not only admires his game but believes they’d make quite the “dynamic” duo if they joined forces.
“Playing with Lamar, that would be a South Florida connection – two dynamic players going out there to make plays every game,” Flowers said at his Combine media session.
He also admires and models his game after former Raven and fan favorite, Steve Smith Sr, who played for the team from 2014 to 2016 and was one of the league’s most explosive playmakers during his 16-year career.
“Steve Smith, he was just a dog,” Flowers said. “He’d go up and get the ball against anyone. He’d put his body on the line.”
As his role model did for nearly two decades, Flowers plays much bigger than his 5-foot-9 size suggests and is a dangerous playmaking threat whenever the ball is in his hands. He led his team and recorded career highs with 78 receptions for 1,077 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior in 2022.
Smith himself couldn’t help but rave about Flowers on the NFL+ Players Only broadcast while onset with Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner and Minnesota Vikings veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen.
“That’s my guy. He’s a bigger, stronger version of me,” Smith said. “I believe he’s special.”
Flowers has a more compact and bulked-up frame after putting on 13 pounds of muscle ahead of the Combine in which he went from 170 pounds to 183 without sacrificing much if any of his speed as he still was able to run a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash.
What Flowers lacks in size, he more than makes up for in versatility, elusiveness, and toughness. His ability to make defenders miss and maneuver in space makes him an ideal fit for the vision that new Ravens offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, has for the offense under his stewardship and design.
During practices ahead of the East-West Shrine game last month, scouts and representatives from the Ravens were reportedly “connected to the hip” with Flowers. Unlike Addison who is projected to go as high as the top 15 picks in the first round, he is currently expected to come off the board in the range where they’re slated to pick on the first night of the draft at No. 22 overall.
Ravens Met With Potential Lamar Jackson Replacement
Even before he blew up the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine with his blazing 40-yard dash time, record-setting 40.5-inch vertical jump, and impressive field workout, former Florida standout Anthony Richardson had a meeting with several teams around the league, one of which was the Ravens according to a report from NFL Insider Jordan Schultz of The Score.
The former Gator’s draft stock was already heating up steadily on the rise heading into the Combine and his historic performance from a testing standpoint and impressive displays of arm strength and deep ball accuracy on Saturday, March 4, 2023, poured kerosene on it.
While Richardson was being linked and projected to land with the Ravens in early mock drafts as a potential successor to Jackson if they can’t reach a long-term deal with the two-time Pro Bowler, any hope they have of landing him not would likely require them trading into the top 10 selections if not the top five.
For that to happen, they would more than likely have to place the franchise tag on Jackson and trade him to a team picking in that range. That being said, Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta told the media days before Richardson’s epic outing that entertaining the thought of trading the current face of the franchise has “not factored in” the team’s process at this time.