A.J. Brown-Style WR Named ‘Dark Horse’ 1st-Round Pick for Ravens

A.J. Brown

Getty A WR compare to A.J. Brown has been named a "dark horse" first-round pick for the Baltimore Ravens in the 2024 NFL draft.

The Baltimore Ravens can find themselves a wide receiver reminiscent of Philadelphia Eagles’ Pro Bowler A.J. Brown if they make a dark-horse pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft by choosing South Carolina wideout Xavier Legette 30th overall.

Legette is the best dark-horse candidate for the Ravens, according to Jacob Camenker of The Sporting News. He thinks the Ravens could be tempted by “a bigger, more physical receiver like Legette to go with the smaller, faster Zay Flowers.”

Creating a size and speed tandem between Legette and Zay Flowers would make Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson-led passing game more versatile and explosive. Especially if Legette lived up to comparisons with three-time Pro Bowler Brown.

The comp comes from ESPN’s Turron Davenport. He believes “Legette (South Carolina) and Brown are eerily similar when it comes to their body movements and style of play. Both players are well-built receivers — Legette is 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, while Brown measured 6-foot, 226 pounds in 2019 — who have the strength to run through tackles and the speed to pull away from defenders for long gains. They both display tremendous ball skills to go up and make contested catches, as well.”

Those traits are largely missing from the Ravens’ current profile at wide receiver.

Ravens Need A.J. Brown-Like Receiver

What’s missing from the depth chart is a true physical specimen able to beat down defensive backs and bring an element of smash-mouth to the passing game. That’s what Brown’s done during a five-year career that’s included four 1,000-yard seasons, two apiece with the Tennessee Titans and Eagles.

Brown knows how to go up and snatch the football even when he has a defensive back draped all over him. It’s what he did for this stunning one-handed grab against the Washington Commanders last season.

The 26-year-old’s physicality extends to what he does once he has the ball in his hands in the open field. Brown is a yards-after-catch machine, evidenced by 1,021 worth of YAC during two seasons in Philly, per Pro Football Reference.

Few players relish trying to tackle Brown in space, but the Ravens lack a receiver with the same intimidation factor. Flowers is a game-breaking speedster, but he’s also only 5-foot-9 and 182 pounds. Fellow wideout Nelson Agholor is also more of a shifty pass-catcher than a bruising receiver.

Selecting Legette would give the Ravens what they’re missing after Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t brought back in free agency.

Xavier Legette Would Be Something Different for Ravens

Legette showed off the game-changing speed and running power the Ravens lack with these two touchdowns against Mississippi State back in September, per the Southeastern Conference.

The second of those scores should make Jackson happy. He needs a legitimate deep threat, something a bigger-bodied target like Legette would provide.

Using a first-round pick might be a stretch for some, but the Ravens may have no choice if they’re serious about getting Legette. Not when he’s revealed to USA Today’s John Crumpler the Carolina Panthers have told Legette “if I’m sitting at (pick) 33 they’re going to take me.”

It’s worth the Ravens getting in a few picks before the Panthers kick off the second round. The passing game improved after the addition of Flowers in the first round last year, but Jackson still needs more weapons. Especially if underachieving former first-rounder Rashod Bateman is dealt on draft day.

Legette would be a more than worthy consolation prize.

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