The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver position includes a great deal uncertainty this offseason. Their top target from the last few seasons, Steve Smith Sr., has retired and Kamar Aiken is an unrestricted free agent who appears unlikely to return. The Ravens hope to not only replace these valuable contributors, but upgrade the receiving corps overall in an effort to maximize Joe Flacco’s effectiveness.
Breshad Perriman provided some big plays in his first season of action last year, and is tentatively penciled in as a starter on the outside. Mike Wallace had an up-and-down first season in Baltimore, and there has been speculation that he could be released due to a wacky contract structure that increases his salary cap charge from $3.5 million last season to $8 million next year. But most believe he will be retained and his salary may not look so bad once the current free agents latch on with new teams in this inflated market.
The other receivers currently under contract are Chris Moore, who had some bad drops in a somewhat disappointing rookie season, and a pair of journeymen - Vince Mayle and Kenny Bell. Michael Campanaro, Chris Matthews and Keenan Reynolds are Ravens exclusive rights free agents who will likely earn one more look in training camp.
Ozzie Newsome has indicated that he would like to add a veteran receiver to the depth chart through free agency. Pierre Garcon, Kendall Wright, Robert Woods, Brian Quick, Kenny Stills and many others are all possibilities if the price is right.
The Ravens could spend an an early selection on a receiver, depending on how the 2017 NFL draft unfolds. It would not be surprising to see the Ravens pull the trigger if Mike Williams or Corey Davis slide to their first round slot. Cooper Kupp, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Zay Jones and Malachi Dupre are four more intriguing prospects who may be worth one of the Ravens three Day 2 draft picks.
No matter what happens with Wallace, in the early free agency period and the first three rounds of the draft, the Ravens could use another receiver with the potential to push Moore and the other backups. Here are three Day 3 receiver prospects who fit the bill:
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Reynolds is a a tall, lanky vertical threat with elite deep speed. He carried the Aggies offense last season with 61 catches for 1,039 yards and a dozen touchdowns. He is an aggressive player who wins jump balls and makes contested catches with excellent hands. Reynolds skill set would complement Joe Flacco perfectly.
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
A slot receiver, Taylor is a nifty route runner with above average agility and acceleration. He is adept at creating separation and is elusive in the open field after the catch. Taylor dominated Conference USA last season with 98 catches for 1,730 yards and 17 scores. He would definitely help the Ravens fill their void in the slot.
Jamari Staples, Louisville
Another tall, long-striding vertical option. Jamari’s production was hampered by Lamar Jackson’s downfield inaccuracy. He has a huge catch radius and is known as a hard worker. Staples combines good body control with great speed and explosive jumping ability. He should impress at the NFL combine and is well worth a late round pick as a developmental backup.