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Nelson Agholor could be one of the Ravens under the radar X-factors

The veteran wideout could carve out a larger role in the Ravens offense than he’s currently projected to have.

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens have the deepest and most talented group of pass catchers ever assembled in franchise history heading into the 2023 season. Between their revamped wide receiver depth chart and dynamic trio of tight ends headlined by three-time Pro Bowler Mark Andrews, they have plenty of mouths to feed.

While three-time Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. and first-round rookie Zay Flowers have garnered most the headlines and hype during training camp, the most consistently available and impressive wideout for the Ravens has been eight-year veteran Nelson Agholor.

According to multiple reports from the team reporters and those assigned cover them as a beat for major news outlets, the former first-rounder of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 has been a pleasant surprise since the offseason program, of which he was a regular participant.

He was the first outside free agent that the Ravens added this past cycle and he has looked every bit as talented as the team could’ve imagined when they signed him to a one-year deal worth a meager $3.25 million per

“He’s a pro. Nelson knows how to play,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a big rangy receiver like you saw there when he made that catch. He runs routes really well, he’s a hard worker, he knows what he’s doing, and I’m sure glad we have him.”

Agholor has consistently made notable highlight catches in one-on-one, seven-on-seven, and full team drills against a Ravens secondary that is projected to be one of the best in the league this year. Where he has especially shined bright is down in the red zone where he appears to be good for at least one contested catch a day from that part of the field.

After having one of the worst red zone offenses in the league last year, that began to struggle even before Lamar Jackson went down with an injury, the team would definitely benefit from having many legitimate and capable weapons in the passing game. Agholor should be able to capitalize on the favorable opportunities that will inevitable come his way down near or in the end zone when opposing defenses opt to shade coverage toward Andrews or Beckham Jr.

Baltimore Beatdown’s own managing editor, Kyle Barber, recently asked him about what kind of role he envisions for himself in first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s offense and if he thinks it would include helping the unit finish drives with touchdowns.

“My job and my focus is, if my number is called, and I get an opportunity, take advantage of them, and that’s important; that’s all I can say,” Agholor said. It’s important to take advantage of opportunities, because [if] the quarterback gives you opportunity, he trusts you, and you want to keep his trust.”

Agholor is coming off back-to-back down years in terms of his overall production where he recorded 68 receptions, 835 receiving yards, and caught five touchdowns with the New England Patriots from 2021-2022.

He signed a sizable contract in free agency with the former AFC powerhouse following a breakout 2020 campaign with the Las Vegas Raiders in which he recorded career highs in both receiving yards (896) and yards per catch (18.7) and tied his best for touchdowns in a single season with eight according to Pro Football Reference.

While he failed to live up to his hefty contract with the Patriots, Agholor could very well end up outplaying the cheap prove-it deal he signed with the Ravens back in March. Overall stats aside, he did regularly show flashes of the explosive playmaker he’s capable of being, especially down the field and deep into enemy territory.

He didn’t share any particular personal goals that he has in mind to accomplish in his ninth season outside of the desire to “have fun and perform” but he does believe that he is “a part of something special.”

As far as the tremendously talented position group that Agholor will help lead alongside Beckham Jr, he believes they can be force to be reckoned with as long as they make the most of their opportunities to make an impact when the ball comes their way.

“I think we’re a very talented group that has to continue to work hard and prepare to perform,” Agholor said. “As it goes for the other teams we play against, they have to defend us all; that’s the most important thing. And for us, we’ve just got to make our plays when our number is called.”

He might have already leapfrogged two-time Pro Bowler Devin Duvernay in the pecking order on the team’s depth in the eyes of the coaching staff. If Agholor keeps up his consistency throughout training camp and the preseason, the Ravens might find it increasingly harder to keep him off the field even with a healthy Beckham Jr, Flowers, and Rashod Bateman who could be activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list anytime in the coming weeks.