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Ravens News 7/2: The Slot WR battle and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

2020 NFL training camp battles to watch: Wide receiver - Ben Linsey

BALTIMORE RAVENS: WILLIE SNEAD IV VS. DEVIN DUVERNAY IN SLOT

The wide receiver position remains one of the biggest question marks on what PFF recently dubbed the best roster in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman recently gave heavy praise to Miles Boykin in a piece from Ryan Mink on the Ravens’ official team website, proclaiming that Baltimore feels as if he is going to take a “giant step” in his second season. He seems a safe bet to play second fiddle to Marquise Brown on the outside.

The slot position is more up in the air, however, after the Ravens drafted Duvernay in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The PFF Draft Guide called him one of the top slot receivers in the class, citing his reliable hands and after-the-catch ability as reasons why. Duvernay adds more juice to the position than Snead would, but Snead had the advantage of being the incumbent, the veteran who already knows the system.

The verdict: Snead starts the season, but Duvernay pushes for more snaps as season progresses

Snead may be the incumbent, which will likely earn him a starting job to start the year, but his play since his first two seasons with the New Orleans Saintshasn’t been anything special. Snead earned a receiving grade of just 58.9 in 2019 with Baltimore. Duvernay’s speed and after-the-catch ability is something that Roman will want to get on the field so that he can add another game-breaker to an offense that is already very fast.

Tavon Young Is ‘Ready to Go’ And That’s a Big Deal - Ryan Mink

“He looks healthy on the computer,” Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said last week. “He says he’s healthy. He’s ready to go. Tavon is ready to go, and if he tells me he’s ready to go, I believe in him 100 percent. And he’ll be ready to go, so I’m excited about that.”

Last offseason, the Ravens signed Young to a three-year contract extension worth an average of about $8 million, making him the highest-paid slot corner in the NFL at the time.

Young was coming off a very strong 2018 season in which he made 36 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks and returned two fumbles for touchdowns. He earned the nickname, “The Scoop-and-Score King.”

Ranking the Baltimore Ravens’ most important players for 2020: Nos. 20-11 - Aaron Kasinitz

12) Defensive tackle Brandon Williams/inside linebacker Patrick Queen

Another twofer! The rationale is different here. Unlike Boykin and Ferguson, Williams (a seven-year veteran) and Queen (a first-round rookie) sit at different places in their careers. They share a spot on this list because their success is intertwined. Williams, who should play more at his most natural position of nose tackle, needs to occupy blockers to allow the light and speedy Queen room to chase down ball-carriers from his spot in the second level of the defense. Both players fulfilling those roles will be crucial to the front seven improving this season.

11) Tight end Nick Boyle

Boyle played 322 more offensive snaps last season than fellow Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, who wound up in the Pro Bowl. The speciality Boyle brings — his elite blocking — doesn’t attract as much attention as the skills of a top-flight pass catcher like Andrews, but there’s no doubt Baltimore’s offense needs it.

Who is currently the Pittsburgh Steelers biggest rival? - Dave Schofield

Baltimore Ravens

Only two behind the Steelers, the Ravens have won six AFC North championships. Additionally, they have won two Super Bowls within the last 20 years just like the Steelers. Being a rare occasion where the Ravens were completely out of the running, their continued quality performance gives them the edge as the Steelers biggest rival since 2002. And after winning the last two division championships, they are the team to beat in the AFC North and therefore the Steelers biggest rival.