Spring's version of Thanksgiving is right around the corner, less than two weeks away. Droves of draft needs headline Ravens' talk and publications, but I already am at peace with Baltimore's 26th pick (barring trades, of course). That's right: as long as Ozzie Newsome (check his I.D.), is picking the apples, I vow not to file complaints.
For those who didn't sense the imminence -- Torrey Smith's adios with the team -- I'd hope by now that you understand the decision to not re-sign him was wise and for the mejor. Quite frankly, the move was inevitable, especially after the third-year pro dropped 18.33 percent of his catchable targets last season. (No worries, 49ers fans, the weather is warm year-round in California.)
After scanning some articles and evaluating the Wolverine on tape, I am convinced that the ideal, monster-sized wideout the Ravens need will hail from Michigan.
Devin Funchess (6-foot-4, 235 pounds)
2014 Stats as a Junior: 62 receptions, 733 yards, 4 touchdowns
Why not Jaelen Strong from Arizona State? Or Central Florida's Breshad Perriman? Because -- as the man upstairs as my witness -- the Ravens are all about this five-syllable word (say it with me): ver·sa·til·i·ty.
I'm no prophet but I can visualize defensive coordinators growing wearisome strategizing for Funchess all week. Who should we assign to cover Jimmy Graham? Vernon Davis? These hybrids pose matchup problems for many teams, including ours, and OC Marc Trestman can attest: size and speed obliterates back ends. Former Bears coach Trestman watched Brandon Marshall (6'4", 230), register 279 receptions and 31 touchdowns in three seasons (he only started and played 13 games in 2014). Trestman bred Alshon Jeffery (6'3", 216), into one of the most-feared receivers in the league. His second and third campaign numbers are astounding: 174 receptions for 2,554 yards and 17 touchdowns. And there's more. We, fans, fought back tears while the behemoth Rob Gronkowski (6'6", 265), basketed in seven passes for 108 yards and a score in the AFC Divisional Round. Speed and size could potentially serve as a roadblock for a chance at another Ravens' Super Bowl title.
Why not get one of our own?
Don't forget how Martellus Bennett (6'6", 265), turned from 'zero' to 'hero' after stagnant seasons in Dallas. His career stat sheet received a major makeover in two seasons with the Bears, catching 155 passes for 1,675 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Funchess played both tight end and receiver positions in college, and similar to The Gronk (4.68), runs a 4.70-second 40-yard dash. The Wolverine's value as a run-blocker and possession-receiver is undeniable - both assets imperative to Kubiak's system and success. (I write Kubiak because Trestman admitted to keeping the majority of the schemes and system implemented last year.) Whether or not Dennis Pita returns, Funchess is a respectable three-down player. Under former head coach Brady Hoke, the wideout finished with 126 receptions, 1,715 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Sure, Funchess didn't make my bossman Jason Butt's list. Still, the Wolverine would complete the package of a talented group -- Marlon Brown, Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, and Michael Campanaro, or spice up the tight end competition this offseason.
Far as next year's potential headlines go, Funchess Belichick-mates the Patriots.