It’s no secret in Baltimore that the Ravens must – and will – upgrade the wide receiver position during the offseason.
On the offensive side of the ball, the porous offensive line is priority No. 1, but after that, adding skill position players will be at the top of the offseason totem pole.
Jacoby Jones is set to become a free agent, and with better options out there than Jones, fans shouldn’t be sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for him to re-sign with the Ravens.
Tandon Doss is also a free agent, and it’s a tossup as to whether the team would bring him back.
Essentially, the only two proven wide receivers on the current roster are Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown. Deonte Thompson and Aaron Mellette, among others, will be in the mix, but adding one or more starting-caliber receivers during the offseason is a task the Ravens are prepared to take on.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome has even mentioned that he has pinpointed the type of receiver he wants, noting he wants someone who “can make a third-and-7, third-and-8, catch and run some after the catch.”
Sounds a bit like an Anquan Boldin description, doesn’t it?
There’s no telling what body type the Ravens want at receiver.
If the Ravens address the position through the draft, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans seems to be a general consensus among likely Ravens targets. Given his ability to win at the catch point and do his damage after the catch, he fits Newsome’s description.
It should be noted that Evans very well may be one of Baltimore’s wide receiver targets, but there are other better options out there.
Leading up to the draft, almost every potential Ravens wide receiver target will be profiled here on Russell Street Report.
But who deserves the most acknowledgment as a prime target?
Let’s head down south.
LSU’s Jarvis Landry not only fits Newsome’s description of the team’s desired type of receiver, but he is among the most talented receivers in this year’s draft class.
If the Ravens want a physical, sure-handed receiver who can concentrate in traffic (you know, like Boldin), look no further than Landry.
Listed at just 6-1, 195 pounds, Landry has a frame that could afford to add a few pounds to take an NFL beating, but that still doesn’t stop him from playing much bigger than his size.
At LSU playing alongside fellow prospect Odell Beckham, Landry proved to be the go-to guy on third down.
Landry’s 2013 season backs that up:
If the Ravens want a receiver who can make acrobatic catches, consistently win at the catch point and be a go-to man for the offense, Landry is the guy.
Over the past two seasons at LSU, he constantly showed his catch radius was much larger than his size would suggest.
Here’s just one example.
He has established himself as a prospect with very few flaws.
Even his physicality as a run blocker is above average.
He has his occasional slip-ups as a blocker, but when he fully commits to that role, he has a head-hunting mentality.
Blocking talent for wide receivers is more of a luxury than necessity, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a blocker like Landry in Baltimore’s offense.
As a receiver, however, is where he wins.
His constant ability to make plays on balls that wouldn’t be caught by 95% of other NFL receivers is what makes him a top-tier prospect.
Exhibit B (Landry scored a touchdown on this play):
How about now?
The widespread belief seems to be that Evans and Clemson’s Sammy Watkins are two of the top receivers in the 2014 draft, but I’ll take Landry on the Ravens instead any day.
Landry fits what Baltimore needs more than the other two, and he’d be a dream for quarterback Joe Flacco.
The LSU product is a first-round talent, but it’s tough to gauge how the NFL will value him.
We’ll find out Landry’s draft value eventually, but if he ends up in Baltimore, it’s a win-win for all.