Before the 2010 season, the Ravens conceded that they needed a new playmaking receiver for Joe Flacco. Ozzie Newsome and company went out on a search and acquired Anquan Boldin from the Arizona Cardinals for 2010 3rd and 4th round draft picks. During his tenure in Baltimore, Boldin performed admirably, culminating in a legendary postseason performance while propelling the Ravens to a Superbowl. But this is not about Anquan. This is about LaQuan.
LaQuan Williams arrived in 2011 as an undrafted free agent that spent the entire offseason training with Torrey Smith. As the Ravens had just drafted Smith, they felt it was appropriate to give his Maryland teammate and Baltimore native a shot at the team. Despite only making 33 career receptions for 436 yards and 3 touchdowns, Williams was known in college for his special teams prowess.
It was this special teams prowess that earned Williams a roster spot as a rookie. He showed the ability to block, be a gunner, rush the punter, and even provide the occasional kick return. He is, by no means of the imagination, a burner, but rather uses his 6’ 195 lb frame in a very physical and swift sense.
Going into his sophomore season, Williams was determined to prove himself as more than just a special teams player. As a rookie, he had 4 receptions for 46 yards, and was determined to build on that. Showing his sticky hands and improved route running in practice, Williams seemed to have returned a different man but would ultimately not have single reception in 2012.
Now, it is 2013. The wide receiver race is wide open. There is no Anquan Boldin or Dennis Pitta. The Ravens need a player with reliable hands who is not afraid to run through the middle of a defense. The competitors were believed to be Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson, but Doss has been unimpressive to say the least and Thompson is injured. The time is now for Williams to step up.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stepping up is exactly what LaQuan Williams did. Williams showed he can still play special teams by recovering a blocked punt for a touchdown, while officially putting his name into the wide receiver competition. With 2 receptions for 32 yards and an additional touchdown, Williams flashed the ability to be the new slot receiver in Baltimore.
With Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, this is the best chance Quan 2.0 will get at meaningful playing time as a professional football wide receiver.