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Assessing Maclin’s potential impact for the Ravens

What role will the newest pickup at pass catcher play in 2017?

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have just made a move to round out a thin receiving corps by signing Kansas City Chiefs’ castoff Jeremy Maclin. This is a big time move by Ozzie Newsome, whose seemingly inexplicable patience wound up landing his squad a potential number one receiver.

There are some questions about whether Maclin is a true “X” receiver. Can he provide the impact on offense that a player like Steve Smith Sr. did in his 2014 season in which he debuted with a bang for Baltimore? This may not be the best comparison as they are different players, but if Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar is to be believed, Maclin can have quite a big impact right away for the purple and black.

Farrar states that Maclin is a perfect fit for an offense that will use him in an intermediate to deep role, where his refined route running and body control allow him to win one on one matchups. He believes the Ravens to be the perfect fit, as Joe Flacco’s game is somewhat predicated on a successful deep ball.

Last year, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman both flashed in the deep passing game, but they seemed to succeed more in that situation by just using their sheer speed and athleticism rather than the nuances Farrar described Maclin as possessing. He describes a player that is able to make subtle movements that trick defenders down the field, allowing for him to win battles in phone booth level tight spaces near the sidelines.

That sounds like exactly what Joe Flacco could use right now, as last year’s offense was somewhat vertically challenged due to the one dimensional nature of the two burners. Things went more smoothly when Smith was healthy, as he opened up the top of the defense thanks to his short to intermediate prowess, providing another threat to worry about.

Maclin could possibly give that relief to Perriman and Wallace, but there is some skepticism about who will man the slot in the 2017 offense. Football Outsider’s Scott Kascmar liked the signing, but stated that someone would still have to pick up the slack between the numbers as that isn’t Maclin’s strength.

A valid concern, especially considering the injury issues with Michael Campanaro and the rawness of Chris Moore’s game, but there could be reason to believe that Maclin could play that role if needed. The main reason to think so would be his measurables and playing style.

Standing at 6’0 and almost 200 pounds, Maclin is known for extremely precise route running that allowed for him to win some of those aforementioned matchups. While he isn’t necessarily best suited to play there, thanks to all of these attributes he possesses, it isn’t crazy to think that Maclin could potentially produce from the slot if needed.

Time will tell what role Maclin will ultimately play in his Marty Morninwheg reunion effort. With minicamp underway, keep your eyes and ears open for just what role the newest Raven will be playing this season.