Ravens Advised to Replace Hollywood Brown with Former 1st-Rd Pick

Will Fuller

Getty The Ravens can replace Hollywood Brown with a former 1st-rd pick.

Lamar Jackson is still short of a legitimate go-to wide receiver ever since the Baltimore Ravens traded his good buddy Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown to the Arizona Cardinals during the 2022 NFL draft.

Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta can remedy the problem by signing a former first-round pick who remains a free agent. Will Fuller has the deep speed to replace what Brown brought to the Baltimore passing game.

Signing Fuller would also prevent the Ravens from taking the obvious risk of entering this season with a cadre of young and unproven wideouts. Jackson needs better options on the outside if he’s going to produce to the level needed to earn the type of lucrative long-term contract extension many believe he may be waiting to sign.

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Fuller an Ideal Replacement for Brown

The Ravens scored an extra first-round pick for Brown, but the trade didn’t appear to sit well with Jackson. His frustration is understandable since Brown enjoyed a breakout season in 2021, making 91 catches for 1,008 yards.

Brown’s most important statistic involves his average yards per reception. He averaged 12.4 yards a grab over his three seasons in Baltimore, ample proof of a flair for stretching the field.

That’s something Fuller could replace, according to Around the NFL’s Marc Sessler: “How about adding Will Fuller to the mix to recapture some of Brown’s deep-threat speed? Baltimore remains a tricky landing spot for wideouts — Hollywood begged out of Greg Roman’s run-heavy system — but the Ravens of today are leaning heavily on potential over proof.”

It’s a sound argument based on Fuller’s well-established reputation as a vertical playmaker. He’s averaged 14.7 yards per reception for his career.

Deep routes are Fuller’s forte, per PFF:

Any worries about how the Ravens’ run-first offense favored by coordinator Greg Roman might hamper Fuller should be dispelled by his production off of play action:

Numbers aren’t the problem for Fuller. It’s getting on the field. He’s never completed a full season since being drafted 21st overall by the Houston Texans in 2016.

The 28-year-old appeared in just two games last season after leaving the Texans for the Miami Dolphins. Chest, elbow and finger problems eventually landed Fuller on injured reserve.

When he’s healthy, there’s no doubt Fuller would make a nice scheme fit for what the Ravens like to do in both phases of the offenses. His ability to take the top off defenses would force opponents to keep safeties deep and leave the line of scrimmage light against Jackson and the running game, before the inevitable long strikes off play action.

As a proven commodity, Fuller would also be an upgrade over the other wideouts at Jackson’s disposal.

Ravens Taking Risk With Inexperienced WRs

Sessler’s note about “potential over proof” is an apt way to describe the Ravens’ options at receiver. Sans Brown and Sammy Watkins, who joined the Green Bay Packers in free agency, the Ravens appear content to rely on youth, including second-year pass-catcher Rashod Bateman.

He’ll be joined by Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Tylan Wallace. All told, this quartet combined for 97 receptions, 1,012 yards and three touchdowns.

Numbers this middling explain why some, including Stacking The Board’s Cam Marino, remain confused about the Ravens’ lack of activity at receiver this offseason:

It’s especially confusing given the uncertainty surrounding Jackson. Baltimore’s franchise quarterback is set to play on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal and there’s been no movement on a new deal.

Jackson has been praised by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler for “waiting” while the QB market has become inflated by the bumper contracts handed to Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, “all above $43 million per year.”

To get a deal in that bracket, Jackson will need top-tier stats. He won’t post those if tight end Mark Andrews is still his lone target defenses fear.

Having a receiver like Fuller on the outside and able to take coverage away from Andrews will only make Jackson’s job easier.

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