The Baltimore Ravens have been a polarizing team when it comes to the wide receiver position. They've heavily relied on veteran free agents and late-round draft picks to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, when they draft a wide receiver early, like Mark Clayton or Breshad Perriman, the results have not been produced.
Most years, Baltimore enters the offseason with a battle at wide receiver. It is usually at the top with the number two or three position being fought over. Joe Flacco's been fortunate enough to at least have a top-target, such as Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin or Steve Smith. They also tried with Jeremy Maclin last year, but it didn’t work out.
In 2018, the wide-out situation is different for the Ravens. Thanks to three acquisitions by General Manager Ozzie Newsome, the top three spots are filled by Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead. Baltimore decided to rebuild the position and let both Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro depart in free agency, while Maclin was released. Chris Moore, the 2016 fourth-round selection, showed promise late in the 2017 campaign and looks to be slotted as the fourth receiver on the depth chart; Moore also could become the teams' return-specialist, barring further competition from another upstart returning from injury, Tim White. Consensus suggests the Ravens will once again carry six wide receivers this year. The question for Baltimore is the competition for the final two spots on the depth chart.
The Ravens double-dipped at wide receiver during the 2018 NFL Draft, selecting both Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley. Scott has great size and ability, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 218 pounds. He also demonstrates good hands. Lasley is a different story. Obvious talent, but has struggled with trouble off-the-field, and on it with drops. Jordan dropped 21 passes during his final two years in college.
Lasley and Scott both bring good upside, and from the sound of things in OTA practices, Scott is impressing the Ravens coaches. Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com noted Scott was a popular target during red-zone drills Not surprising with his size being a matchup issue. Scott seems to be a favorite to receive one of the last two spots on the roster at wide receiver, mainly because of what he can do in the red-zone. Things might be a bit tougher for Lasley, though, as he has competition from Quincy Adeboyejo and Tim White.
White showed playmaking ability during training camp as a receiver and a return specialist but never got the chance to make the 53-man roster due to a torn ligament in his thumb. White is now back, and if he can display his abilities again, especially on punt-return or kickoffs, he would be the one to give Moore a run for his money as the teams' primary return specialist. Adeboyejo also did well in training camp but suffered a PCL injury. He was only activated for the teams' Week 17 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, Adeboyejo had a setback by having surgery on an upper leg muscle this offseason. He is set to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list.
There is one more player in this race who is on his last legs with the team. That, of course, is Breshad Perriman. Since being the Ravens first-round selection in 2015, Perriman’s career has been plagued by injuries and drops. Breshad's practice time has been limited due to the aforementioned injuries and has played in only one preseason game in three years. This has resulted in Perriman and Flacco never building chemistry on the football field. Perriman is a free agent at the end of the season after Baltimore declined his fifth-year option. As a first-round pick, he will get every opportunity to make the team. If it’s the same old story, he will most likely find himself cut from the roster and looking for a new team.
It certainly will be intriguing to watch Perriman, White, Adeboyejo, Lasley, Scott, and even DeVier Posey fight for the final two roster spots. Newsome and the front office made it a clear mission to help out Flacco and this offense by adding as many options as possible to make sure the struggles at wide receiver don’t continue in a crucial 2018 season. All in all, this looks to be a good situation for the Ravens when compared to previous seasons.