It’s interesting how so many fans, even members of the media suggest that the Ravens should scrap the idea of drafting a receiver and just sign a free agent pass catcher instead.
The rationale has its roots in the team’s history of drafting wide receivers, which admittedly has been anything but stellar.
But such opinions are narrow-minded and shortsighted.
Naturally proponents of such thinking will point to Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton, Devard Darling and Tandon Doss as evidence to support their claims. And while the argument is compelling to some degree, particularly when the Ravens passed on Roddy White back in 2005, opting instead for Clayton, the logic is flawed.
A receiver’s success is predicated upon quality play at quarterback. The Ravens haven’t exactly been a beacon of consistent signal calling throughout their history.
Secondly, the Ravens have hardly been known as an offensive juggernaut. They’ve been the victims of inconsistent and at times obsolete offensive play design. Just as players like Lance Moore or Julian Edelman may be productive products of a system, it’s possible that a player like Clayton was a victim of his.
Lastly, organizations like the Ravens’ are continually challenging themselves internally to improve processes, to explore new approaches and adopt outside-the-box ways of thinking as a means to improvement. When they miss on a receiver, they study why and use the education as a means to improvement the next time they hand in a card on draft day carrying a receiver’s name.
The 2014 draft class is deep at the position of wide receiver.
Don’t be concerned if the Ravens call upon one.
Speaking of receivers, don’t count me among those who support a Ravens signing of Julian Edelman. Edelman has played a full 16-game season only once in his career. And while he had a huge 2013 season with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and 6 scores, it could be argued that he was the product of a system and that his productivity was heavily boosted by a dearth of receiving options available to Tom Brady in New England.
During his 4 seasons as a Patriot prior to 2013, Edelman had a total of 69 catches for 714 yards and 4 TD’s.
Edelman isn’t a big target and is most productive when he’s hit in stride. Mix that with Joe Flacco’s inconsistencies in the accuracy department and the Ravens might not enjoy the dividends they expect on an investment in the former QB out of Kent State.
And finally, the Ravens successfully extended Terrell Suggs to create more cap space and they signed Dennis Pitta to a contract that might be a slight reach today but certainly favorable on a relative basis 2 to 3 years from now. But you have to wonder if it may have been better to wait on both.
Hindsight being 20-20, if Ozzie Newsome knew that OLB’s DeMarcus Ware, Julius Peppers and TE Owen Daniel were all to hit the market as of March 11, would the Ravens have ponied up so much money for Suggs and Pitta?