The wide receiver battle is one that most fans are interested in after the departure of veterans Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones and with the additions of many young and talented players like first round Draft pick Breshad Perriman. After the first preseason game, we'll take a look at some of the specific players in the receiving corps that have done themselves no favors and the ones that have shown some spark in the offense.
Breshad Perriman - First round draft pick 2015
Perriman is a guy that the Ravens and fans are counting on early and often into the 2015 season. They need him to take the top off defenses with his speed and show a little of the potential that made him a first round Draft pick for the Ravens. However, with him being out of training camp for quite a while and missing the game with a bruised knee, he might find himself falling down the depth chart until he can come back at 100% and show consistency for a few weeks. While not in danger of losing a roster spot due to his draft standing, it is an ominous start to a career that many were hoping would show impact immediately. Hopefully for everyone involved, Perriman can come back strong and light it up soon.
Michael Campanaro - Seventh round draft pick 2014
Finally, Campanaro sees the field and shows off his agility and straight line speed for the Ravens. Campanaro is a player that I have been especially hard on because of his draft status and his inability to be consistent or healthy thus far into his career. He proved me a little wrong on Thursday night with a solid performance both in the receiving game and as the best returner out of the group put on the field. 2 receptions out of 2 passes thrown his way for 58 yards and a touchdown to go with a single punt return of 10 yards is enough to make me pause. If he can continue to stack days at practice and can show a similar effort in the second preseason game, he might be able to sneak his way into the starting lineup more often during the regular season.
Jeremy Butler - Free agent 2014
Butler is probably the most disappointing player for the Ravens. He has done everything that the coaches could ask for during practice, but was unable to show any of that during live gametime. It could be the first game jitters, but in a crowded lineup, Butler can't afford too many plays with those jitters, much less an entire game. We've seen a similar issue with previous Ravens receivers and the act has been wearing thing on the coaching staff with each player to play it. Only catching a single pass won't help him out when it comes time to cut players. Neither will his free agent status coming to the Ravens as they have little tied to him. He needs a big game in week two to redeem himself as a receiver and he needs to win the job as a return specialist to really claim a roster spot.
Steve Smith Sr - Free agent 2014
The final tour started Thursday and Senior put up exactly like you would expect. With the first team getting very few reps and the receivers getting even less as the Ravens were run heavy on the first drive, Smith got open on a crossing route and slammed on the breaks with what could have been a large chunk of YAC if he wasn't caught by the defender. Consistency will be key for him in his final season, but we all know he is going to make the final cut and be a starter this season.
Tom Nelson - Free agent 2015
The former safety hasn't looked like a safety seeing him in practice and during the game. While Nelson didn't get a bunch of looks on Thursday, he took his only target for 19 yards and looked pretty good doing it. Nelson might not make the final roster unless he can win the return job, but he shows surprising promise as a receiver, nearly catching a pass single handed while being held heavily, and if he can put together a few games this preseason, he might just be a guy the Ravens keep on the team just to let him develop further.
There are other guys that played, but we just saw so little of them to really make a good judgement on their performance. Hopefully in week 2 we will see some of the injured guys come back and play a little more as well as see a turn around from guys like Butler.