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Remaining options at wide receiver for the Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have taken a different approach to free agency than they typically do, opting to fill needs and build depth with pursuit of quality free agents as opposed to their usual sit-and-wait approach. Having said that, they still have a glaring need at one of the most important offensive positions, which is an all too familiar feeling for them.

In case you couldn't figure it out, that position is wide receiver. With several big name free agents at the position already off the board, the pickings appear to be pretty scant, at least until the Ravens are on the clock in next month's NFL draft. Let's take a look at some of those options that the Ravens could still pickup in free agency, as well as those that they could realistically target in the NFL draft.

Victor Cruz

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

This is as much of a “kick the tires” proposition as one could possibly find on the open market. For a few years, Cruz at the top of his game was widely considered to be the top slot receiver in the game, but he has struggled to get onto and stay on the field going all the way back to 2014. His return to the lineup last season saw him make a few plays early on, but he was seemingly phased out in favor of rookies Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis Jr. While Shepard was a second round pick, I'm operating under the assumption that 90% of readers have never even heard of the latter player, which should tell you what the Giants think about Cruz at this point. Fans shouldn't be totally opposed to a low cost signing of Cruz, but they shouldn't expect much from him if it does indeed happen.

Anquan Boldin

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A move like this will no doubt be a highly divisive signing if it happens, and for very good reason. At age 36, Boldin isn't nearly the same player he was back in 2012 when he was posterizing cornerbacks during one of the best postseasons ever for a wide receiver. Still, he led the Detroit Lions with eight touchdown catches in 2016, and has confirmed he would like to return for the upcoming season. All signs point to Boldin no longer being a number one receiver, but if the Ravens opt for a reunion with the fan favorite, he would at least complement speed merchants Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman nicely.

Vincent Jackson

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

This would be a pretty depressing addition if Joe Flacco is expected to count on Jackson. He's aged 34, and has seen his play decline over the past few years, barely even playing in 2016 after suffering a knee injury. For a player who operates as physically as he does, a decline was due for Jackson who is less of a technician than a someone like Boldin who can still use some of his wily veteran tricks to get open. If this were to happen, fans shouldn't necessarily expect Jackson to make the roster, which is arguably the case with every option already mentioned.

John Ross

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Ross may be an optimistic option for the Ravens at number 16 after he broke Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record, so here's to hoping teams don't simply fall in love with his speed and take him before them. Regardless of whether he is similar to Wallace and Perriman, Baltimore simply can't afford to pass Ross up if he is available due to his number one receiver potential. Obviously he has some injury concerns, but if his health ultimately checks out, I'm sure Ozzie Newsome would be happy to take a potential game breaking receiver in the draft.

Cooper Kupp

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Once talked about as a potential first round pick, Kupp’s stock has taken a hit since a somewhat pedestrian combine performance. This isn't terrible news for a Ravens team that could use a receiver like Kupp and could now potentially target him in the third round. While his ability to become a number one receiver may be in question, his complementary skill set fits what Newsome said the Ravens would be looking for this offseason, and he received high praise from former Flacco favorite Steve Smith Sr.