Despite the addition of Steve Smith, Sr. and re-signing of Jacoby Jones, a lot of Ravens fans are still clamoring for Ozzie Newsome to draft a wide receiver in the first round on Thursday. There is definitely some logic to their argument – Smith is at the tail end of his career, and Jacoby Jones, while a game changer, is a number three wide receiver at best.
Ozzie was asked this week if there was a position the Ravens would almost assuredly add some depth and talent to with this year’s draft.
“I would say based on the depth of the receivers in the draft, the number of guys that we have draftable, I think that over the eight picks it would be hard pressed for us to draft a receiver with one of those picks,” Newsome said.
Translation- the Ravens are going to take a receiver, maybe even two, but it likely won’t be in the first round, and it would be a little bit of a surprise if it came as early as the second.
While this may disappoint some fans, waiting to take a receiver until the middle round makes sense for several reasons.
The Ravens have more pressing needs. Free safety and the offensive line are much thinner at this point than wide receiver. While there are options right now at both right tackle and free safety they are certainly far from ideal, and upgrading each is no doubt a priority.
The wide receiver corps is deep at the moment – possibly the deepest in Ravens history. You can make the argument that Smith is past his prime, but he doesn’t need to be the Steve Smith of five years ago. He just needs to take pressure off Torrey Smith, which he will. Also, lets not forget about Marlon Brown. With all the additions this offseason he’s been somewhat of an afterthought, but he had a great rookie season and could likely make big strides in his second year.
This year’s class of receivers is deep and the Ravens can still find some great talent beyond the first round. Jordan Matthews is a projected second rounder and would provide great value if he was still on the board when the Ravens select 48th overall. Jarvis Landry’s stock has fallen after a disappointing combine and he could still be there when Baltimore picks in the third round.
Assuming Ozzie and the front office don’t make a trade, at the 17th pick they are caught in somewhat of a no man’s land as far as the wide receiver position goes. They are too far down the board to get Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, and taking any of the other potential first round receivers is a bit of a reach.
When the draft concludes on Saturday expect to hear about the success and failures of other teams. The Ravens rarely do anything that immediately causes headlines or excitement in the offseason.
More often than not, they save that type of thing for January.