After the NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens suddenly have an extremely deep wide receiver depth chart. They drafted Rashod Bateman in the first round. Surprisingly, they were also able to add Tylan Wallace in the fifth round. The two rookies will join free-agent addition Sammy Watkins and second-year receivers Devin Duvernay and James Proche. However, the Ravens have a limited amount of roster spots. So, how many of these wide receivers will actually make the roster?
First, let’s take a quick look at the players.
Brown is the unquestioned number one wide receiver entering this season. Bateman was a first-round pick, and Watkins was signed to a $6 million contract in free agency. Obviously, all three of these players are safe.
Duvernay was a third-round pick last year. He is very talented, but he was extremely underutilized. With Willie Snead gone, Duvernay should see increased snaps in the slot. He is probably safe. It is also would be hard to picture Wallace missing the roster immediately after being drafted. Although he was technically a fifth-round pick, the front office clearly values him highly. Eric DeCosta said that Wallace was “too good of a player for us not to take him”. Many analysts projected Wallace to be a Day 2 pick prior to the draft.
On the Bubble
-James Proche II
Now, here’s where things get interesting. Proche did not offer much production as a receiver last season, but it’s hard to hold that against him. He only played a total of 25 offensive snaps and was targeted three times. He is still an intriguing prospect. Additionally, he offers value as a punt returner. Meanwhile, Boykin saw an increase in snaps; he played 545 offensive snaps last season. Still, he did not take the leap forward that many expected him to. Nevertheless, he remains a strong run blocker, which is important in Baltimore’s offense.
Unless any of these players make a big impression in training camp, they seem more likely to end up on the practice squad than the 53-man roster to start the season. Sylencieux is a former high school teammate of Lamar Jackson. Cain was a standout at Clemson, but he tore his ACL after being drafted by the Colts in 2018. Since then, he has struggled to find regular playing time. Victor spent time on the Giants’ practice squad last season.
Finally, let’s look at the historical precedent. Six wide receivers made the final roster in each of the past three seasons.
2018: 6 (Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, Jordan Lasley, Janarion Grant)
2019: 6 (Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, Chris Moore, Seth Roberts, Jaleel Scott)
2020: 6 (Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, James Proche, Devin Duvernay, Chris Moore)
Therefore, six seems to be the likely final number. Brown, Watkins, Bateman, Duvernay, and Wallace all should be safe. That leaves one hypothetical remaining spot, which will likely go to either Boykin or Proche. There is a possibility that the number could rise to seven if the Ravens value both Proche and Boykin too much to let either walk, but six wide receivers are the safe bet.