In addition to now needing a new right tackle following the trade that sent Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a haul of draft picks, the Baltimore Ravens could also use another wide receiver who can thrive on the boundary outside the numbers.
This year’s crop of incoming wideouts features a plethora of slot types but there are some bid-bodied prospects at the position as well that the Ravens could target throughout the draft. One such player that could fill that need, round out their depth chart, and possesses a lot of upside is Josh Palmer of the University of Tennessee.
The former Canadian native didn’t put up prolific numbers during his four years with the Vols but his lack of impressive production was a direct reflection of the porous offense he played in and the inept quarterbacks he played with, not an indictment of his playmaking ability
He never eclipsed 34 receptions, caught more than fourth touchdowns, or recorded more than 484 yards receiving in a single season but had some of his brightest moments against some of the best competition that the SEC had to offer.
Last season, Palmer was able to get behind Alabama’s Patrick Surtain for a touchdown. In the clip below, he made an incredibly athletic snag for a score with Georgia’s DJ Daniel tight in coverage. He also caught a touchdown against Daniel’s fellow Bulldog, Tyson Campbell in the same game. Both Campbell and Surtain are expected to hear their names called on the opening night of the draft.
#Tennessee’s Josh Palmer had 101 snaps vs. likely top-three round CBs: Surtain, Horn, Campbell, Stokes and Joseph.— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) April 16, 2021
14 of 14 in catching the “catchable balls” in those matchups (per PFF), 11 first downs, 4 TDs, and 16 YPR.
Top-10 WR in the draft for me pic.twitter.com/PWla69l8wE
He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds and knows how to use it to his advantage, especially in contested catch situations. While he doesn’t possess blazing long speed, he has enough to gain a step or two of separation on vertical routes and tracks the ball well downfield.
Palmer attended the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl and had a strong week of practice where he impressed scouts and coaches with his hands, savvy and crisp route running, and ability to make tough grabs against tight man coverage. He stood out in the All-Star game as well with a pair of receptions for 27 yards including a 14-yard touchdown.
He has a natural and instinctive feel for the passing game, knowing when to snap off and separate at the top of his route at every level — as well as where he is in relation to the sideline to make clutch catches on the boundary.
His lack of eye-popping production at the collegiate level is likely the foremost reason that he is projected to be a middle-round pick. Palmer would be a solid addition to their receiving corps with the potential to develop into a promising ‘X’ receiver for Lamar Jackson on the outside.
While he has been generating some buzz as of late as a day three gem, he could go as high as the bottom of the third where the Ravens now have two picks at 94th and 104th overall.