While it’s no secret that the Ravens have struggled to build a formidable wide receiving corp, the front office’s direction for remedying the situation is uncertain. Should the Ravens draft a receiver, sign a free agent or trade for a deep threat weapon for Flacco? This three part series will examine some of Baltimore’s options. First, potential prospects in the 2018 draft.
With the 16th overall pick, the Ravens may draft the highest rated wide receiver prospect, Calvin Ridley. Over the course of his career at Alabama, Ridley had 224 receptions, 2,781 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. His prospect grade according to NFL.com is a 6.8. For comparison, Bershad Perriman, a draft bust for the Ravens, received a 6.2 score back in 2015.
As an Alabama alum, Ozzie Newsome has a track record of selecting Tuscaloosa products. The Ravens have had success in drafting players from Bama’s defense like Marlon Humphrey, C.J. Mosley and Courtney Upshaw. Perhaps in his final year as GM, Newsome will give their offensive weapons a chance. Scouts are high on Calvin’s speed, making his combine workout on Saturday, March 3rd of significant interest. At 6’1 190, there are concerns about his thin build at the next level.
Deon Cain out of Clemson is the second ranked receiver prospect in the 2018 class. Projected as a second rounder, the Ravens could potentially draft him with the 52nd overall pick. In his three years with the Tigers, Cain recorded 58 receptions, 734 yards and six touchdowns. The same height as Ridley but with 20 extra pounds, Cain’s size is a selling point. With lower production and failed drug tests leading to suspensions during his freshman season, Cain is more of a gamble for immediate success at the next level.
While a drafted receiver will likely require development before yielding returns, it is a more financially feasible option for a franchise that is consistently operating with little cap space. However, apprehension may exist given the recent failure of drafting Breshad Perriman 26th overall in 2015.
Next up in the series: wide receivers targets in free agency.