Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman are going to headline wide receiver options for the Baltimore Ravens, but the rest of the depth chart is less than clear.
Competition for the last few roster spots at the position is intense, but Tylan Wallace is emerging as a winner. He’s “outplayed the competition so far,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, who described Wallace’s progress following the Ravens’ 29-28 loss to the Washington Commanders in preseason on Monday, August 21.
The defeat marked the end of Baltimore’s NFL-record 24-game win streak in preseason, but Wallace still emerged as a victor of sorts. As Zrebiec noted, he’s added playmaking potential at wideout to his existing value on special teams.
Being so versatile is part of the “strong case” ESPN’s Jamison Hensley believes Wallace is making to help him stick on a suddenly crowded depth chart.
Wallace living up to the hype will hinge on how many receivers the Ravens keep, but he’s making the decision a difficult one for head coach John Harbaugh. The only thing that might harm Wallace’s chances is the Ravens’ obvious strength in depth at another position.
Special Teams Standout Doing All He Can to Win WR Spot
There isn’t much more Wallace could have done at this point to convince the Ravens he merits a roster spot. His touchdown grab against the Commanders showcased an ability to win in the red zone.
Wallace showed off the same traits in Baltimore’s previous exhibition game, a 20-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The 24-year-old won another route on the perimeter before making a nifty catch in the end zone.
Reaching pay-dirt has eluded Wallace when the games have mattered, but plays like this still hint at the playmaker within. The Ravens haven’t made tapping into Wallace’s talents as a pass-catcher a priority since selecting him in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft, but there are ample reasons why that should change.
Reasons like Wallace’s highly productive career at Oklahoma State, per Next Gen Stats.
Harbaugh would be smart to keep numbers like these around. Especially since Beckham hasn’t played a down since tearing his ACL for the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 Super Bowl.
Like Beckham, Bateman has also battled injuries. The Ravens’ first-round pick in 2021 has been hampered by groin and Lisfranc problems since entering the pros.
OBJ and Bateman are expected to lead way with plenty of help from Flowers. The latter is impressive, but he’s still just a rookie, while Agholor is on his fourth team since being drafted in the first round by the Eagles back in 2015.
Keeping Wallace on the final 53-man roster makes sense, provided he can continue to outplay two other receivers with special teams value.
Productive WR Can Emerge from Similar Trio
Like Wallace, Devin Duvernay also offers the Ravens value in football’s third phase. Notably in the return game, where Duvernay took a kickoff back 103 yards for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2.
Duvernay enjoyed back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons for his chops as a returner, but he’s hardly made a dent as a receiver. No. 13 has caught a mere 90 passes in three seasons, one reason why he’s been named as somebody the Ravens should trade.
He may be potential trade bait, but Duvernay has a stronger case to stick around than James Proche II. The latter has tallied just 25 receptions in three years.
Proche hardly helped his cause when he was beaten to the ball by Commanders’ rookie defensive back Jartavius Martin for this interception at FedEx Field.
Neither Proche, Duvernay nor Wallace have been helped by the Ravens looking loaded at tight end. All-Pro Mark Andrews and dynamic second-year prospect Isaiah Likely are the obvious leaders at the position, but 2022 fourth-round pick Charlie Kolar and undrafted free agent Travis Vokolek are also in the mix.
As Zrebiec pointed out, the “Ravens TE room is really talented.” It may be loaded enough to convince Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta to keep one less receiver, making every play Wallace can make between now and final cuts essential to his future.