The addition of Jeremy Maclin is expected to provide a huge boost to the Ravens offense, but it wasn’t initially clear what role Maclin would play in the offense. According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, that issue is becoming clearer.
In his article entitled, “Compare Jeremy Maclin to Antonio Brown? One Ravens coordinator did”, Hensley included a quote from Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
"Well, he was always a guy you wanted to double," Pees said. "He was a little bit like ‘84’ from Pittsburgh and certain guys you always get. When they are slot players -- especially guys that will play in the slot -- you are always looking to double him."
Based on this quote, Pees is saying the Ravens think Maclin will play the slot. Hensley backs this up later in the article when he wrote, “Maclin is expected to be the Ravens' slot receiver because Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman provide speed on the outside and Baltimore lost valuable inside targets Steve Smith Sr., Dennis Pitta and Kamar Aiken this offseason.”
According to Hensley’s report, Maclin will be playing the slot in 2017, and it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, largely for the reasons given by Hensley. The team has two outside receivers in Wallace and Perriman, but lost many players that could come over the middle and play the slot in the offseason.
Over the course of his career, Maclin has played in both the outside receiver and slot roles. But according to Pro Football Focus, keeping Maclin in the slot during his Ravens career may not be a bad move at all.
The Ravens reportedly plan to use Jeremy Maclin in the slot. Since 2014, only three wide receivers have scored more TDs when lined up there. pic.twitter.com/RoqwAHjoYk— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 16, 2017
Maclin having the fourth most touchdowns out of the slot of any receiver is very impressive considering he wasn’t always used in the slot. Maclin has proven that he can produce at a high level both outside and in the slot. Hensley wrote in the same article, “But, in Maclin's past two full seasons (2014 and 2015), there were three receivers in the NFL to produce over 170 receptions, 800 yards and 17 touchdowns: [Antonio] Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and ... Maclin.”
All the numbers lead one to think that keeping Maclin in the slot should be a good idea. Thus, the Ravens can play three wide receiver sets and not have to worry about keeping any of its top receivers off of the field, as would have been the case if Maclin was used on the outside.