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2012 Players To Watch: Anquan Boldin

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When the Baltimore Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin they felt that they had finally found the elusive number one receiver they have been looking for for so long. Boldin had recorded over 1,000 yards receiving in five out of the seven seasons he played in Arizona. One of the seasons he fell short of that mark due to a devastating injury that caused him to get reconstructive surgery on his face.

Although Boldin has been quite productive as a Raven, he has not lived up to the high expectations that the Ravens faithfull had hoped he would. He has yet to reach the 1,000 yard mark while wearing the purple and black and has not kept up to his end zone production either.

Some of this can be attributed to the growing process of quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens run oriented offense but Boldin has had his issues getting open on his own as well. In Arizona Anquan played second fiddle to all-world wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald so he faced much less double coverage and played more in his natural position as the slot receiver..

Boldin has never been known for his speed but he has always had a knack for getting open and physically dominating smaller corners. Here in Baltimore however, he has mostly had to play on the outside facing the other teams top corner causing him to struggle at times. Known for his sure hands, he has also had issues with drops at times as well.

In 2012 all of these contributing factors may change though. With the emergence of Torrey Smith as one of the leagues best deep threats and possible top tier receiver Boldin will be facing less double teams and won't always be matched up with the other teams top corner backs. He may even be able to return to the slot position in which he has been so successful.

Anquan Boldin's success in the slot position comes from his great hands and ability to fearlessly go over the middle and absorb punishing hits from safeties and linebackers. If one of the Ravens bevy of young receivers turns out to be a viable outside option for the offense Anquan reemerge as a 1,000 yard receiver and put up the numbers Baltimore had hoped he would since he arrived here in Charm City.