Ravens Urged to Add a 1st-Round WR in Draft to Help Lamar Jackson

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson drops back to pass against Chiefs.

Getty Ravens QB Lamar Jackson drops back to pass against Chiefs.

The Baltimore Ravens had one of the best rushing attacks in the league boosted by QB Lamar Jackson and his ability to keep defenses honest this season. However, even with the addition of some wide receiver weapons the corps may need to be overhauled this offseason to help their star QB.

ESPN Staff released their “2024 NFL offseason: Key free agents, draft notes, predictions” and believe the Ravens should look to the draft to upgrade their WR corps. Draft expert Matt Miller writes, “In a draft class that is stacked at wide receiver, this could be the year to land Jackson another top-flight target.”

Miller writes “another” because the Ravens used their 2023 first round pick on a WR in Zay Flowers. The Boston College product had a fantastic rookie season for the Ravens culminating in a strong yet disappointing playoff loss against the Kansas City Chiefs.

In the regular season, Flowers had 77 catches for 858 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns. The catches and yards both were team leading for the Ravens.

Yet, Miller points out a reason the Ravens may need to still draft a WR. “Flowers is a speedy, undersized vertical threat,” he wrote.

This is the year to upgrade at the position. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. in his “2024 NFL draft rankings: Mel Kiper’s Big Board, best prospects” has five receivers ranked in his top 25 prospects.

Meanwhile, Tankathon has 10 receivers listed in their Top-50 big board.


Which Receivers Could Fit That Role for Baltimore

The Ravens have pick 30 in the first round this year so unless they trade up they will have to sweat out the top receivers making it to them.

According to Miller, “If the Ravens can land a big-bodied wideout like LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. or Texas‘ Adonai Mitchell, they have to jump on the chance.”

Both Tankathon and Kiper have Thomas listed as their fourth ranked wide receiver in this year’s class. Thomas is a big body at 6-4 and 205 pounds, fast and was a redzone monster for LSU with 17 touchdowns.

However, the Tiger may not be available at pick 30. Tankathon has Thomas going 28 to the Buffalo Bills.

Mitchell is the 7th best receiver according to Tankathon and 8th for Kiper. The Texas product is also another tall receiver but a little leaner at 196 lbs, so he may need to bulk up a little for the NFL.

Mitchell should be an option for the Ravens at 30, unless a team falls in love with him during the draft process. Tankathon also agrees the Ravens need a big body receiver, but they have Florida State’s Keon Coleman at No. 30.


Ravens Receiving Corps Could Need Complete Overhaul

The receiving room for the Ravens in 2024 may look very different than it did to end the season. “[Odell] Beckham hits free agency in March at 31 years old,” Miller explains.

In addition to Beckham, WRs Nelson Agholor, Laquon Treadwell and Devin Duvernay all will be free agents. That would leave Flowers and Rashod Bateman as the only receivers that saw real targets this season.

Beckham and Agholor were the No. 2 and 3 receivers for the Ravens this season (minus the tight ends). The Ravens could look to add a veteran free agent to the room to replace the leaving receivers.

The Ravens will try to bring back Beckham but with their stretched cap situation and Spotrac’s $11.9 million market value estimation for Beckham it may be tough.

Tight end Mark Andrews led receivers with 6 touchdowns, and he only played 10 games. Jackson needs another target that he can trust in the redzone to throw to.

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