Currently there are 12 wide receivers on the Baltimore Ravens roster. From first glance, we see that only four of them are locks – guaranteed – to make the team’s final roster cut. The remaining eight will vie for the two, possibly three, available openings, and nobody knows if the Ravens want six or seven wideouts this season. That’s still up in the air and no—George Clooney is, unfortunately, a Bengals fan.
Lock It Up
Torrey Smith, 6-0, 205, fourth season
Smith is, no doubt, the face of this wide receiver group. Despite what the numbers show and tell, Smith is not coming off the best performance of his career. (His 2012 campaign was much better IMO.) When Smith (49) served as Flacco’s fourth choice behind Anquan Boldin (65), Dennis Pitta (61), and Ray Rice (61) the wideout flourished—averaging a nifty 17.4 yards per catch and collecting eight touchdowns. Smith is due for a breakout season and an impactful one, at that, in 2014.
Jacoby Jones, 6-2, 215, eighth season
The return specialist caught seven more passes last season than he did in 2012 and saw 100 percent increase in touchdown receptions (2!). In 2013, Jones suffered a freak knee injury after his teammate plowed him on a punt return, sidelining him for four games. It's difficult to assess his true value from his first pair of seasons with Baltimore. Entering his third season with the Ravens, stay tuned to find out what Jones will bring to Gary Kubiak’s table—for now we know that the organization likes the receiver enough to keep him around. (Signed him to a 4-year, $14M deal in March.)
Marlon Brown, 6-5, 214, second season
Brown is the same height as Calvin Johnson. Yum. In 12 starts, Brown, an undrafted free agent, registered seven touchdowns in his first pro season. The last Raven to accomplish that feat was drafted in 2011: Torrey Smith.
Steve Smith, 5-9, 195, 14th season
For those who vilify Smith, please staple your lips shut. Thanks. The Ravens brought in one of the most endeared players in Panthers history. The legend once led the league in receiving yards (2005) and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark seven times in his illustrious career. Many fans may question how much gas is left in the five-time Pro Bowler’s tank. Don’t.
Make It, Take It
Michael Campanaro, 5-9, 185, rookie
Sure he lacks the ideal height and length but so did Steve Smith. ... Campanaro might have to come in through the backdoor and start off on special teams to earn an extended look. The seventh-round selection is elusive and maybe will play slot receiver—think Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Davone Bess.
Jeremy Butler, 6-2, 218, rookie
I love Butler’s size. The 6-foot-2, 218 pound build reminds me of Dez Bryant’s imposing frame (who is 6-2, 220). Kubiak's offense could always use more of JB's strength and leaping ability.
Deonte Thompson, 6-0, 203, third season
One of five Ravens who were arrested this offseason, Thompson’s felony and misdemeanor drug charges that could potentially have been disastrous were dismissed by Florida prosecutors in April. Sidelined with a foot injury last season, Thompson’s diminutive production wasn’t as noteworthy: 96 yards, 10 catches.
Prove It or Move It
Jace Davis, 6-1, 206, rookie
The 22-year-old has the most to prove on this list. We don’t know too much about the rookie, other than that "Work" by A$AP Rocky was stuck in his head last August and that if there was one world issue or social cause that he could help increase awareness of or help, "drinking and driving" would be it. Check out the senior's interview here. We know that he runs the same 40-yard dash as Marlon Brown’s at 4.65 seconds.
Kamar Aiken, 6-2, 215, second season
"The Renaissance Man of the Ravens" would service the Ravens as a jack-of-all-trades type of player. He played both sides of the ball in high school and has bounced from Buffalo to Chicago to New England before touching down in Baltimore.
Gerrard Sheppard, 6-2, 207, first season
In Sheppard’s highlight video from 2012, the film’s creator says that the receiver weighs 219 pounds. He’s shed 12 pounds since then, and from the footage we learn that Sheppard was a playmaker at Towson. The beast draws in comparisons with Demaryius Thomas, but I’m no NFL scout.
LaQuan Williams, 6-0, 195, third season
Williams looked sharp in his first preseason game against the Buccaneers in 2013. He recorded two receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. The wideout didn’t get as many looks after that, and was waived by the franchise on September 1. After a 10-day stint with the Patriots, Williams was re-signed by the Ravens on April 24, 2014. In 2011, Williams saw action in 12 games, finished with four catches but fumbled twice. Let’s hope that his fingers are less clammy these next few weeks.
Mike Willie, 6-2, 220, first season
Willie turned enough heads to earn a spot on this 12-man list. His size, like Butler’s, is enticing but like everyone else he’ll need to make the next leap during Training Camp and leave an unforgettable impression on his coaches.
Who do you think earns the fifth receiver spot?