The Baltimore Ravens have spent a ton of resources this offseason toward fixing a major problem at wide receiver with the hopes of getting more consistent play, and the expectation is they have done enough to create a fix that helps them in 2021.
Not everyone can be convinced that the team has done enough with this in mind, however. The Ravens have been cheered in some corners for their additions this offseason, but as a whole, some folks think their wideout group leaves a lot to be desired for the near future.
Recently, Pro Football Focus and analyst Steve Palazzolo ranked every wideout group in the league, and the Ravens were surprisingly low on the list in spite of the additions they have made as part of a busy offseason. Palazzolo ranked Baltimore 23rd in the league in terms of wideouts, and said the team is depending on a few key things happening to be good in 2021.
“Bateman adds a potential No. 1 threat as his slick releases and a 55% contested catch percentage landed him at No. 17 on the PFF draft board. His presence takes pressure off former first-rounder Marquise Brown, who can play to his strengths as a downfield threat. Brown has 675 yards on deep (20-plus yard) passes in his two years in the league.
WR Miles Boykin has disappointed with receiving grades in the high-50s in each of his two seasons, so look for rookie fourth-rounder Tylan Wallace to compete for snaps, especially as another vertical threat. Devin Duvernay, a 2020 third-rounder, had just 20 catches as a rookie, but he’ll have a role in the slot and in the underneath game.
At tight end, Mark Andrews is one of the league’s best, and his 2.22 yards per route rank fourth among tight ends over the last two seasons. TE Nick Boyle is one of the best run-blockers at the position, but there was a clear dropoff with last year’s departure of Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Ravens have the pieces to improve as a receiving unit, but much of their hope lies in Watkins’ health and how quickly Bateman adjusts to the NFL.”
Seeing a ranking such as this doesn’t inspire confidence, but it’s important to remember the whole league is taken into account. The Ravens should have a chance at upward mobility this season, but what is written is certainly true. The team will have to hope more than a few things go right in order to ensure they have the type of year that they can be proud of.
Right now, it is hard to blame anyone who is a little gun-shy on blindly buying in on a rookie, a oft-injured veteran castoff and a cast of characters who all need to take a step up.
Pressure Mounting on Ravens’ Wideout Group
The Ravens have made some major changes this offseason, and the spot that has seen the most change has been that of wide receiver. The Ravens have some players on the roster who should take a jump in Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, James Proche and Devin Duvernay. Otherwise, they added a younger veteran in Sammy Watkins to the mix, and have a pair of important draft picks in Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace who the team will want to see develop quickly this coming year and make a big impact right off the bat.
Knowing all of this, the Ravens’ pass catchers were already going to be under a ton of pressure, but it’s clear that they could be the one make-or-break spot on the roster with some already wondering about their potential for this season.
Why Ravens Wideouts Will Be Important for 2021
The Ravens already have one of the league’s best running games and arguably one of the league’s best offensive lines as well. In Lamar Jackson, they have a dynamic playmaker capable of exploding at every moment. If there’s one thing the team needs, it’s the threat of a consistent passing game. The Ravens need a downfield threat to help open up the offense, and it seems the team is taking steps to have one in 2021 with some of their moves this offseason.
Until the team proves it on the field, however, it is just steps. That could be the biggest reason in the end for this ranking from PFF.
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