The Baltimore Ravens didn’t make any seismic or even notable moves on the first day of the new league year outside of making their reported deals official and declining the option of the contract of veteran inside linebacker L.J. Fort to make him a free agent.
However, they did reportedly make an under the radar acquisition via trade that could prove to be fruitful or nothing at all while taking on minimal risk.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, Jacksonville will receive a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft if Oliver makes the Ravens’ team in 2021. He was originally a third-round pick by the Jaguars out of San Jose State in 2019 but has been limited to just four career games due to injuries.
All four of Oliver’s career games came in his rookie season where he recorded just three catches on six targets for 15 yards before landing on injured reserve in November of that year. He spent his entire second season on IR after suffering a foot injury in training camp.
Coming out of college, the soon-to be 24-year old was lauded more for of a pass catching specialist in the big-bodied wide receiver mold than he was as an all around prospect at that the position. Evaluators praised his strong hands and ability to make tough grabs in traffic over the middle of the field.
Josh Oliver @JoshO_3 out of San Jose State is a beast! He’s 6’5” 250 with a 4.63 40. He’s got amazing ball skills and can run every single route and does it well. He can make up for bad throws and is hard to bring down once he has the ball. This guy will have an immediate impact pic.twitter.com/p6uMGY0lJd— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) April 10, 2019
Oliver broke out in his senior season with the Spartans where he recorded 56 receptions, 709 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games. He also attended the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl which is an annual event that the Ravens scouts and front office like to target players who stoodout in the game as well as the week of practice.
Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham hits San Jose State's Josh Oliver – something Oliver is familiar with as he was the most targeted TE in the country a season ago seeing 99 targets come his way. pic.twitter.com/nuWqulLA04— PFF (@PFF) January 22, 2019
The Ravens are in need of another pass catching threat at the tight end position to effectively replace former first round pick Hayden Hurst who they traded last offseason and take some of the attention away from Mark Andrews.
Acquiring a promising young athlete like Oliver who can bring another seam-stretching element to the passing game when healthy for essentially nothing if he doesn’t make the cut is modest low-risk move by General Manager Eric DeCosta. While the trade doesn’t mean that the team won’t address the position with a veteran signing or via the draft, it does address a position of need with a player who possess some intriguing upside.