The Baltimore Ravens have done a solid job thus far this offseason upgrading their offense after watching it fail miserably last season, when the team ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every category.
The free agent signings of wide receiver Steve Smith, tight end Owen Daniels, center Jeremy Zuttah appeased fans while addressing glaring holes in the squad..
In addition, the retention of Eugene Monroe and fan favorite Dennis Pitta looms large for continuity for quarterback Joe Flacco. Throw in Jacoby Jones opting for the lights of M&T Bank Stadium over those of Broadway in New York, and things are already looking up.
On top of that, in a not-so-sexy signing the Ravens added jouneryman running back Justin Forsett, whose familiarity with Gary Kubiak’s offense could earn him a spot on the roster.
So, whats next?
It’s no secret that the right tackle position needs to be addressed after Michael Oher left for Tennessee in free agency. The team is also expected to add another running back into the mix, though not until a latter round or post-draft, I would expect.
So with the draft right around the corner, will the organization will opt to address the right tackle position in the first round? Or perhaps add another pass-catcher?
Assistant GM Eric DeCosta offered little in the way of firm answers yesterday.
“I think tackle is good,” DeCosta said, speaking of the 2014 draft class. “You’ve got the top four guys that are going to be high picks and most likely all four of those guys are going to be gone before we pick.”
So how about wide receiver?
“I would say those two positions are the deepest,” DeCosta added.
Going on DeCosta’s remarks alone, he makes it sound highly unlikely that a quality starting right tackle will be there on the board when the Ravens select at 17.
At the wide receiver position, there is certainly more depth and quality first-round talent in the eyes of Ozzie’s assistant.
“I think wide out is very deep,” DeCosta said. “You have a lot of really good players probably 15 receivers that I think are very very good players.”
DeCosta did acknowledge that the top two rated receivers in Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins could be gone by the time the Ravens select at 17. Still, he had nothing but great things to say about the other receiver prospects that could be there when they select – Marqise Lee, Kelvin Bejamin, Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks.
“Marqise Lee is an explosive player,” said DeCosta. “He had an unbelievable season two years ago was good this year, had some injuries.
“Kelvin Benjamin is a big physical freak who can go up and catch the ball and do a lot of things that way. Beckham is a great athlete who is explosive, really a silky smooth guy. Brandin Cooks is a really good player. Undersized, explosive ran a 4.3 at the combine caught a million passes, a very good slot guy.”
Given the Ravens’ not-so-good fortune of drafting pass catchers, this would seem to be the year to jump, with so many “can’t miss” prospects out there, in the eyes of many.
“If you need a receiver, this is your year,” DeCosta pointed out.
Still, it all comes down to the mantra that we as fans have grown to know, love it or hate it:
“Best Player Available.”
Should the Ravens opt for right tackle or wide receiver with the 17th pick?