The Ravens just got huge news as wide receiver Jeremy Maclin agreed to sign with the team. Baltimore truly needed wide receiver help, and they have acquired it. Now that Maclin will be wearing purple and black, what will his role look like on the field?
For much of his career, Maclin has been an outside receiver and he has thrived in that role. In Baltimore, that will more than likely be the role that he continues to play. That then gives the Ravens three receivers that have the potential to be starters on the outside, Mike Wallace, Maclin, and Breshad Perriman.
To me, Perriman will be the odd man out. Despite the fact that Perriman has been very impressive thus far in OTA’s, but Wallace and Maclin are both more reliable and have more experience.
Maclin will complement Wallace will on the outside. Maclin is an good all-around receiver, but his reliable hands are the skill that best fits opposite the speed of Wallace. Maclin can be a chain mover if necessary, but he also can make plays down the field.
Here’s the catch: what if Perriman continues to impress in minicamp and training camp? What if he proves this offseason that he is reaching his potential?
In this case then the Ravens could easily move Maclin to the slot. While this may seems a little crazy at first, Maclin actually fits really well in the slot. In fact, Maclin saw his snaps in the slot increase dramatically over the course of his time in Kansas City went on. Plus, in 2016, six of Maclin’s eight touchdowns came from the slot. Playing in the slot would still allow Maclin to make downfield plays, and still allow him to move the chains. All it would take is to play three wide receiver sets, which I’m sure Marty Mornhinweg would be totally fine with.
However, all in all, I would be pretty surprised if Maclin and Wallace are not the two starting outside receivers in Week 1. The Ravens absolutely have to get a receiver of Maclin’s caliber on the field as much as possible, and putting him out the outside allows him to do this. He may even draw the opposing team’s top corner, which in turn could lead to opportunities for Mike Wallace to get open downfield.
No matter if he plays outside or in the slot, 2017 should be a big year for Maclin. Reunited with former offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Maclin will not have a hard time learning the Ravens offense. Maclin should expect a ton of targets from Joe Flacco, being that he is the best possession receiver in a west coast style offense where possession is key. While I believe that he is a better fit on the outside, playing the slot would not hamper Maclin’s ability to get the ball.
Signing Jeremy Maclin is massive for the Ravens. The team is getting a receiver better than any currently on the roster, and one that will breathe life into the passing game. Suddenly, this Ravens offense just got a whole lot more interesting.