To the Ravens News...
Projecting receivers certainly isn’t just a Ravens problem. It’s been a popular topic in Indianapolis over the past week after last year’s three first-round receivers — the Tennessee Titans’ Corey Davis, Los Angeles Chargers’ Mike Williams and Cincinnati Bengals’ John Ross — made limited impacts as rookies, while later picks, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster and the Los Angeles Rams’ Cooper Kupp, both shined.
Since the star-studded 2014 first-round class that produced Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin, 13 receivers have been taken in the first round and only Amari Cooper, the fourth overall pick in 2015, has made a Pro Bowlteam.
“The one thing that’s changed is receivers at the college level do not see a whole lot of man coverage, so you have to project a little bit at this level,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. “Can a receiver get in and out of a break? Can he separate from tight man coverage, which they will get a lot at this level? Those are things we have to project.”
A really good read as to why evaluating wide receivers is even harder today.
For a team that had become a playoff mainstay, continually coming up short isn’t going to cut it. That’s why Newsome didn’t sidestep a question as to whether the team is feeling the heat.
”I don’t like not playing in January,” Newsome said at the NFL combine. “That’s something we talk about all the time. We have to find a way to get to 11 wins because we’ve proven that once we get into the playoffs, then we can do some damage while we’re there. I feel like we should all feel that burden on us.”
John Harbaugh almost felt the heat of a pink slip, so this comes as no surprise.
WR Antonio Callaway
Callaway had to deliver during the on-field workouts considering he missed the entire 2017 season due to off-the-field issues. Callaway did that and more. He ran an impressive 4.41 40-yard dash and looked comfortable running routes and catching the football.
WR D.J. Chark
Chark further improved his draft stock with a really strong on-field workout. He ran an official 4.34 40-yard dash and was impressive in the ‘gauntlet drill’. His reliable hands were on full display during the on-field workouts. His route running looked clean. Chark, at worst, will be selected in the second-round.
Baltimore isn’t starved for a young receiver is it? Callaway was a lot of fun to watch in 2016, even giving Marlon Humphrey fits.
Two positions that could very well need help on defense are cornerback and especially the pass rush on the edges. Baltimore maybe deep at cornerback when you first look at the depth chart, but Jimmy Smith’s status for the start of the season is in doubt after tearing his Achilles in early December against the Detroit Lions, no one knows if he will be 100% at any point at all next year. Tavon Young is coming off a torn ACL, and Brandon Carr could be a candidate for release, although Ozzie Newsome made it clear at the combine that Carr is probably staying. The pass rush on the edges however, might be the department Baltimore needs help at the most on defense.
The Eagles had a lot of success rotating pass rushers in and out to keep them fresh. If Young can still play, and is cheap, go for it.