Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With the news of the trade of WR Anquan Boldin to the 49ers, who steps up to take his place?
The Baltimore Ravens obviously felt they had no choice but to try to get what they could for Anquan Boldin rather than just releasing him. Receiving a 6th round draft pick is certainly not equal value but San Francisco knew they had the upper hand in the deal and the Ravens made the right move since they believed there was no way to fit his salary into the future plans.
Now that the deal is done, what happens to the Ravens receiving corps since QB Joe Flacco's favorite go-to target, at least in the 2013 playoffs, is out of the equation? Do the Ravens fill the position from within, dip into the veteran free agency pool or take a chance on drafting a rookie to step in and start immediately for the Super Bowl champs.
With Torrey Smith firmly entrenched as the wideout who brings the deep threat option to the team's passing game, he has also proven he can catch the ball over the middle and run with the short throws as well. Veteran receiver Jacoby Jones showed his dual threat abilities as a kick returner as well as a wide receiver. His catches in the playoffs as well as his memorable TD off of the 2nd half kickoff in the Super Bowl show his value to the team.
Now he needs to convince the Ravens that he can be that full-time player and not the third option of Joe Flacco. However, as the Ravens offense has evolved into a passing attack, a third option is needed to step up and prove he can be a clutch target.
Would that be Tandon Doss, who has had every opportunity to prove he can be that possession" receiver that Boldin was? Or will the team go young and fast with either Deonte Thompson or Tommy Streeter? Then again, could the team look around the league and target a more affordable veteran receiver?
There is also speculation that the Ravens will use their first pick in the NFL Draft next month for a wide receiver, as the draft is filled with viable options. Expect a combination of all of these variables, as the team needs depth as well as the answer to what is now as important an issue as any the team will be facing on both sides of the ball.