Teams across the league will be reporting for training camp very soon and the Baltimore Ravens have a handful of position groups that will feature contested battles for snaps and a spot on the final roster.
After almost a year-long hiatus, the Ravens’ wide receiver depth chart is back to being under a microscope and highly scrutinized following the trade of Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown and the absence of an established veteran at the position or the current roster. Barring a notable signing or trade in the coming weeks before the regular season starts, the team is willing to let their young pass-catchers prove themselves and duke it out in camp for roles and roster spots.
With Brown out of town and Sammy Watkins with the Green Bay Packers, Rashod Bateman will assume the No. 1 wide receiver role. That leaves James Proche, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace, and a handful of undrafted rookies in a competition for snaps and job security.
Duvernay is coming off an All-Pro season as a punt returner and is expected to have a larger role in the offense. Proche appears poised to finally showcase the potential he has flashed in limited opportunities. After paying his dues as a standout on special teams as a rookie, Wallace will get a chance to contribute more offensively in year two.
The Ravens run a tight end centric passing attack and will likely only carry five or six receivers. Some of the undrafted rookies at the position that will be in a tight fight for the last one or two spots include Alabama’s Slade Bolden, Fort Valley State’s Shemar Bridges, and Mississippi State’s Makai Polk.
Many of the expected starters, key role players, and primary backups at most positions won’t take a snap in the preseason. However, this position group has a lot to prove and will likely require the vast majority of them to play extensive time in the team’s three exhibition games to decide who makes the cut and who can carve out a role on offense.
It wouldn’t be surprising if every receiver with the exception of Bateman saw extensive time in the preseason. The Ravens need to find another vertical threat to help offset the loss of Brown in the deep passing game, so expect to see the ball aired out early and often until they have their answer.