In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens loaded up on wide receivers by selecting wide receivers Torrey Smith(Maryland) in the 2nd round and Tandon Doss (Indiana) in the 4th round. In addition, they signed former Buffalo Bills WR James Hardy to a "futures" contract, immediately inserting the 6'5", 220 pound receiver into the mix for 2011.
Veterans Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason figure to get he most balls thrown their way by fourth year QB Joe Flacco next season. Of course, there's also tight end Todd Heap, who is coming off of one of his better seasons in recent years ((40 receptions, 599 yards, 5-TDs). Behind Heap is a pair of second year tight ends from the 2010 NFL Draft, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.
So where does fellow 2010 NFL Draft pick David Reed fit into the mix and what are his prospects of remaining on the team and contributing in 2011?
Reed came out of Utah with a reputation of having great hands and deceptive speed. While he looked solid in Training Camp, once the 2010 season began he virtually disappeared from view. He did not have a reception all season but made an impact on Special Teams, returning 21 kickoffs for a healthy 29.3 yard average, including a 103 yard TD return against the Denver Broncos in the Ravens week five 31-17 victory.
According to a story noticed on BaltimoreRavens.com, Reed faces tough competition for opportunities not only to crack into the receiving corps, but to make the roster as well. The Ravens figure to keep 5-6 wide receivers on their roster, to cover both offense as well as SpecialTeams. Right now there are receivers for the team to choose from. With players such as Boldin, Mason, Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss virtually assured of making the roster, that leaves two more spots at the most for the others to make the team.
Those others currently include Reed, Marcus Smith, Justin Harper, Brandon Jones and James Hardy. Based on his size andpotential, once would think the Ravens signed Hardy to make this roster. Marcus Smith, like Reed, does not have a reception in his career, but has been a standout on SpecialTeams. Neither Justin Harper or Brandon Jones have contributed beyond pre-season and on the practice field,so they figure to be the longest shots.
That leaves the final one or two positions at wideout to be between Reed, Hardy andMarcus Smith. If the Ravens carry six receivers, both Reed and Hardy figure to have the best chance to make the squad. However, if the team determines that it can only carry five in order to accommadatewhat they want to do with the full roster, then the battle between Reed and Hardy figures to be an interesting one to watch whenever Training Camp actually opens to start the 2011 NFL season.