This offseason, the Ravens brass proved their seriousness behind the words of Ozzie Newsome when discussing wide receivers for the team in 2018.
”We are looking for the opportunity to change that room, in terms of personnel and the people that are in that room,” Ozzie Newsome said during the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. “We’re going to leave no stones unturned.”
He also doubled-down on the statement later in March.
Now, there are only a couple of familiar faces in the room, but they are not shoe-ins to stay with the squad in 2018.
Disclaimer: While the pads—or even shorts—aren’t on yet, it’s time for a basic assessment of the players on the roster and assume who is locked-in, expected to make it, on the fringe or a long-shot for the final 53.
Not expected: 25%
Michael Crabtree (lock): The Ravens signed Crabtree to a three-year/$21 million deal, including $13 million guaranteed. He is their (expected) number one receiver for the 2018 season. No chance he’s off the roster.
Willie Snead (lock): Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta went out of their way to sign Snead. He was a restricted free agent for the New Orleans Saints, and still, the Ravens extended a two-year/$10.4 million offer. After the Saints did not match, the franchise secured their third free agent signing of the offseason. I see Snead with the Ravens for both 2018 and 2019, with a possible extension if he produces well during 2018.
John Brown (lock): Both sides of the one-year/$5 million deal are excited about the 2018 season. Baltimore is desperate for a receiver to pan out and Brown is hungry to prove he can earn a big deal in 2019. There is no better place for John right now than with Joe Flacco and the big-play ability the Ravens love. He’ll steal the show a few times in training camp, I can feel it.
Jordan Lasley (lock): The Ravens do not give up on draft picks quickly. Even if they did, Lasley is a better prospect than many players below him on this list. His hands are an issue, which is a trigger for Ravens fans, but hopefully, for once, it clears up and Lasley moves the chains in 2018.
Jaleel Scott (lock): As I mentioned with Jordan above, Scott makes the roster strictly based on being drafted. But, furthermore, he’s the biggest receiver in the room, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 215 pounds. The difficulties he can create as the third receiver on the field could prove invaluable, and with his strong hands, I’m counting the days until he goes over a cornerback in camp to secure a first down.
Chris Moore (lock): Yes, I already have six receivers locked up. Chris Moore is making the roster, as are the other five above. Moore continues developing into a receiver for Baltimore and he’s scored multiple touchdowns on special teams. Scoop & Score Moore is on the roster in 2018.
Tim White (fringe): He was electric in training camp back a year ago, only to be sidelined with a season-ending hand injury. If White replicates his production from last years’ camp, he’ll land as the seventh receiver on the roster and as the teams’ return specialist.
Breshad Perriman (fringe): Will he, won’t he. Every fan simultaneously begs for him to produce 800+ yards and also for him to clean out his locker. He’s due $649,485 on the third day of training camp. Even if he receives the bonus, I don’t believe it’s the final say on his roster spot. He must prove he can produce on game-day.
Jaelon Acklin (long-shot): I like Acklin’s play and his highlights from Western Illinois demonstrates strong hands and a player capable of developing into a starting receiver. But the Ravens aren’t looking for a project right now. They signed three receivers and drafted two more to jump-start the passing offense this year.
Andre Levrone (longshot): An intriguing prospect from Virginia who hauled in seven touchdowns his senior year on only 34 catches. He has some good releases off the line, but I’m not sure if he can break free from Marlon Humphrey and the rest of the Ravens corners.
DeVier Posey (longshot): He’s been on NFL rosters before, but never broke out. A former third-round pick in 2012, Posey is a talented prospect. He’s a star CFL talent, but the NFL is a different beast.
Janarion Grant (longshot): Another Rutgers player for on the 91-man roster, but he’s on the outside looking in. The Ravens are top-end talented at receiver, finally, which isn’t going to be kind to these UDFA prospects.