Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport recently published an article identifying one player who would “make or break” each Super Bowl contender. Davenport, having the Ravens as a contender alongside 11 other teams, listed Beckham Jr.
“Which Odell Beckham the Ravens get in 2023 is going to go a long way toward determining whether or not they can dethrone the Bengals in the AFC North” Davenport wrote. “Sure, the Ravens also added Zay Flowers in the 2023 draft. But Beckham is supposed to be the key.”
The Ravens took an undoubtedly big swing in acquiring Beckham, signing him to a pricy one-year contract worth up to $18 million. That’s more money than other teams were willing to give him but the Ravens did not shy away. That alone suggests the view the potential return on investment with Beckham as being significant.
At his peak, Beckham was one of the league’s top wide receivers and most electrifying talents. A series of injury struggles in recent seasons unfortunately have deprived more prime years from Beckham’s career. However, when last on the field for the Los Angeles Rams, he was still plenty productive and a driving force for a Super Bowl offense.
As Davenport notes, the Ravens reinforced their wide receiver room upgrade by drafting Flowers after signing Beckham. That lessens the burden on the incoming veteran to carry the team’s wideout corps, which wouldn’t have been the case anyways given the presence of Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and fellow free agent signee Nelson Agholor.
Still, there’s a reason the Ravens made a concerted effort to acquire Beckham, even knowing Flowers was their prioritized draft target in Round 1.
“The thing that Lamar Jackson has never really had, a true No. 1 wide receiver. A guy who can win 50/50 balls that Jackson chucks up after scramble drills,” Davenport describes Beckham as. “A more versatile offense will make the team more dangerous — and a legitimate Super Bowl contender.”
You could argue tight end Mark Andrews fits the criteria as a No. 1 target and has been Jackson’s de-facto go-to receiving option for the past few seasons. However, as Davenport notes, from a talent perspective at the wide receiver position, Beckham is a different level than what the Ravens have previously had thus far since 2018.
Davenport’s last point is the key idea. A healthy Beckham certainly gives the Ravens’ offense a new level of versatility in the passing game, alongside Andrews, Bateman and other offseason additions. The question ultimately is, can this get them over the hump?
The Ravens have yet to make the conference championship in the Jackson era despite having two appearances in the second round of the playoffs. The idea that Beckham could be the difference-maker to vault them into the Super Bowl bubble is aspirational, but not out of the realm of possibility.
After all, once the Rams acquired Beckham at the midseason point in 2021, they went on to win the Super Bowl. While Beckham suffered a torn ACL injury early in the championship game, his contributions to that point were significant for Los Angeles’ success.
Beckham had 305 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 8 regular season games with the Rams but came alive during the postseason. In four (three full) playoff appearances, he caught 21 passes for 288 receiving yards and scored twice. He had 52 yards and a touchdown catch in the first quarter of the Super Bowl before exiting.