The wide receivers took front and center stage at the NFL Scouting Combine today in Indianapolis. The NFL Draft will be chock full of good wide-outs in April, and many of them were on full display today in Lucas Oil Stadium. A great group of youngsters who have size, speed and some even have a combination of both, worked out in front of the NFL's decision-makers.
While you can't teach size nor speed, the ability to hold onto the ball is the one thing that will set some apart from others, as well as what else they can do other than just run fast and catch the ball. Rookie wide receivers will need to prove they can block and play special teams if they want to make NFL rosters. There are very few rookie receivers that will start from Day One, so they will need to bring a full resume of football skills along with their natural abilities.
A few of the guys that stood out have been linked to the Baltimore Ravens in one way or another. The team has either met or is scheduled to meet with LSU's Rueben Randle and Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill. Both guys have size and speed, although Hill was one of the fastest in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.
The Ravens will have choices in getting a third wide receiver to complement both Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. They can use an early pick to get one of the more well-known college receivers, or wait to the middle or later rounds to get a guy who can help spread out the offense and give QB Joe Flacco another target.
The team could also use a receiver to return kickoffs and punts, as well as be that 3rd or 4th receiver in their three or four-wide sets. The arguments for a big guy to go up and out-jump opponents or a small burner to be that elusive threat are both valid. Either way the team goes, there is no argument that there is no such thing as too many play-makers.
Of course, the Ravens still have to decide if they are going to bring back veteran Lee Evans, albeit at a more cap-friendly salary, and what chance Tandon Doss will get to be that 3rd or 4th target for Flacco. Remember, it was Joe himself who personally put in a request for the team to draft Doss, yet he rarely got onto the playing field as he was usually inactive on game days last year.
There is also the question of what role, if any, David Reed will have, depending on how and when he returns from his ACL injury. For once, however, it is nice to know that the Ravens biggest concern at wide receiver this off-season will be how to accommodate so many good ones for a refreshing change of pace compared to past years.