I wrote an article a few weeks ago discussing the possibility of the Ravens adding former Atlanta Falcons Devin Hester and Roddy White. I said that it would be pretty pointless to give a look at either of the two. As a result, I was truly surprised to see that the Ravens worked out Devin Hester on Friday. With Hester now in the mix, a huge wrench was thrown into what we thought we knew about who would and who wouldn’t make the 53 man roster. Does Hester have a chance to make this team?
The Ravens are still looking for a kick returner. Michael Campanaro had, what seemed to many, a chance to seal the kick returner job on Thursday against the Saints. But a disastrous return where Campanaro dropped the kick, picked it up, and then fumbled later in the return opened the door for others. But it seems that the player it opens the door for isn’t on the roster. The Ravens are expected to waive sixth round draft pick Keenan Reynolds, who was seen as the top competitor to Campanaro.
Hester is hands down the best kick returner of all time, but he doesn’t provide any value outside of returning kicks. Hester has amounted more than 500 receiving yards in a season just three times in his career. Campanaro provides significantly more value at wide receiver than Hester.
As Baltimore Beatdown’s Kyle P Barber suggested, adding Hester purely for the purpose of returning kicks could move Jeremy Butler out of the picture. It doesn’t seem reasonable to knock off a player who provides value at wide receiver in favor of a pure return specialist.
Outside of the one gaffe, Campanaro has been really good throughout the preseason and camp. One mistake shouldn’t force the Ravens to undermine the work that Campanaro has done so far. Hester is a great returner, but Campanaro is pretty good in his own right. Adding Hester, and likely losing Butler, just doesn’t make too much sense. Yes, Campanaro has had injury problems, but throughout the preseason, the Ravens have tried out other returners such as wide receiver Chris Moore. If Campanaro was to go down again, the Ravens have the players to step into his role.
Overall, seeing Devin Hester in Owings Mills brings excitement, but I still think the same thing I did when I wrote about Hester previously, adding him just doesn’t make much sense.