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What Mellette’s Release Means for WR Competition

Street Talk What Mellette’s Release Means for WR Competition

Posted in Street Talk
11+ Comments matt says wow cheri way to be a bandwagon fan.. anyone can see the roster is by far the deepest it has prob ever been. and we have won two superbowls with less. major
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Once a perennial weak point of Baltimore’s roster, wide receiver has become one of the strong suits for the Ravens as 2014 training camp approaches.

Unlike in recent years – particularly 2013, when there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the position heading into the season – there is little worry that the Ravens will have at least an adequate receiver corps this season, if not one that can be a difference maker in some games.

The group of receivers is far from complete, though, as the competition for roster spots took an unexpected turn on Tuesday, when second-year receiver Aaron Mellette – someone who showed promise in the preseason last year – was released.

The Ravens have a top four of Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown, but after that core, the race is wide open for the final spots.

With an open competition, a strong first preseason and a productive college career (304 receptions, 44 touchdowns at Elon), Mellette figured to factor into the mix, and based on talent, he likely could have made the team.

But perhaps the knee injury that cut his rookie season short is truly a long-term concern, and the potential Mellette has may never be achieved, whether it may be on a second chance in Baltimore or elsewhere.

With Mellette out of the mix for now, which receivers currently on the roster have an inside track to a roster spot?

The Ravens traditionally carry six wide receivers on the final 53-man roster, and barring any injuries to the top four receivers mentioned above, there will be two open roster spots for the taking in Baltimore.

 

Michael Campanaro

Campanaro already had a good shot to both make the team and have a defined role as a rookie, and Mellette’s release makes it even more likely that he ultimately takes the fifth receiver spot with the team.

A quick, agile slot receiver who was compared to Julian Edelman by Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, Campanaro has the talent to become one of Baltimore’s top three receiving options in future years. For now, though, he battles a talented crop ahead of him, but even as the potential fifth receiver, Campanaro should be able to sneak in some offensive snaps as a rookie.

 

Deonte Thompson

An offseason arrest didn’t help his cause, but the fact that Deonte Thompson is still with the team makes it evident that off-field issue won’t affect his roster status with the team.

A former undrafted free agent that came to Baltimore known for his speed, Thompson has had a moderately productive first two years (15 receptions, including 10 in 2013), considering the fact that any sustained role with a team is a success for an undrafted player.

Thompson’s speed has proved to be more potential than something that has led to him being a viable player in Baltimore’s offense, though, and unless he becomes a more dependable option in the receiving game, the team will likely be able to find better options elsewhere.

If the Ravens need an insurance policy at kick returner (seven returns for 201 yards last season) and someone with experience on offense, Thompson could stick around for a third season with the team.

 

LaQuan Williams

With Mellette not in the fold, LaQuan Williams now goes from veteran given a second chance with his first team to a player having a legitimate shot at making the team. Released by the Ravens during final cuts last year, Williams had a short-lived stay in New England last season before ending up back in Baltimore.

Williams spent his first two NFL seasons with the Ravens, playing sparingly both as a receiver and special teamer. If he makes the team, it won’t be for his receiving ability. But if the Ravens are looking for an experienced special teamer who could provide value in that aspect over a receiving threat for the sixth receiver spot, perhaps Williams has a shot to revive his career in Baltimore.

 

Jeremy Butler

Deonte Thompson in 2012, Marlon Brown in 2013, Jeremy Butler in 2014? The Ravens have had annual success in finding undrafted rookie wide receivers, and perhaps Butler is next in line to carry the tradition.

Butler received some praise before the draft and that praise has continued during the early goings of his Ravens career, as he made some plays during OTAs working with the second and third-team offenses.

Having success in a t-shirt and shorts means almost nothing, but Butler was no slouch in college, catching 90 passes for 1,203 yards and 10 touchdowns during his final season with Tennessee-Martin. When the pads go on, we’ll see if Butler has what it takes to join Thompson and Brown as undrafted success stories.

With an open field for the remaining receiver spots on the roster, it won’t be a shock to see Butler make a strong case for himself.

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Kyle Casey

About Kyle Casey

Kyle's love of pro and college football stems from his passion for the Baltimore Ravens. He has held season tickets in section 542 of M&T Bank Stadium since 2004. He is a junior Mass Communications student originally attending Towson University but currently on a year-long exchange at the University of New Mexico. More from Kyle Casey
11 comments
matt
matt

wow cheri way to be a bandwagon fan.. anyone can see the roster is by far the deepest it has prob ever been. and we have won two superbowls with less. majority of the season last year we only had one proven WR in torrey smith and teams doubled and triple covered him and he still topped 1200 yards. (he is on he way to be great) and we had a rookie with average potential that joe made look like a star in the making.. it was a miracle we made it to 8~8. our biggest team lost was a veteran center in matt birk. if we had a vet center last year we would have made the playoffs again. we were 3 plays away from being the number 3 seed for god sakes. its the NFL toughest sport in the world, most competitive. with out tight end included have we ever had four recievers that could catch the ball? no neither has almost any other team in football history.(why dont you all go be chief or panthers fans and complain about WRs) Ever one player has a role. We cant complain because we dont have six Brandon Marshalls and two Vernon Davis on our team. Thats why this is a coaches league. we have two great receivers now in the smiths, we have a great role playing threat in jones, and two WRs with possibilities for good potential. not to mention two above average tight ends. How is this not a good receiving corp? even Denver doesnt have that. Everyone plays their part, the coaches dictate, thats how winners are made. Second this is Baltimore. championships are won by defense! just encase anyone has missed the reason why anyone wins the superbowl.

James
James

Even so it is nice to have extra guys to give defenses different looks and if a guy goes down you already have players on the roster that your qb is comfortable with. Could they go with 5? Sure, but it will be because they decided to keep 3qbs. 1 fulllback, 2qbs, 3 te, and 3rb, and 6wr is pretty much what the Ravens usually do. It changed a bit last season because they decided to keep 2 fullbacks, which meant they only had room for 2 rb.

Brian Tray
Brian Tray

The writing is on the wall for LaQuan and Deonte. If we keep 6 receivers Butler and Campanaro will get the nod. You can be sure, barring injury, that Campanaro will get the chance to justify Ozzie's faith in him due to the effort they made to get him. It's really not a big deal though since we have 4 top notch receivers in Smith. Smith, Brown and Jones. If the offensive line blocks well this year that is more than we will need.

Alec
Alec

I would not assume that the Ravens will keep 6 WRs on the roster this year- even if they did so in the past. Kubiak's offenses rely heavily on TEs, HBs, and RBs to perform pass-catching roles. With Pitta, Owens, Jusczcyk, Rice, and at least 2 other RBs on the roster, I'm not sure there will be need or room for 6 WRs. That last roster spot will have more to do with ST ability than WR ability and more on coverage skills than return capability.

CHERI
CHERI

What has Thompson and Williams done to be call a success???? Camp is a 6th round pick we will see. Once again Kyle your homerism is popping up. LOL. What a joke to say how deep our WR core is. I say we will be lucky if it's average after sucking last year. Do you remember how bad our WHOLE offense was last year and that includes WR play. Bash away anyone, but I am not changing my thoughts on this until I see improvement on the field otherwise. Every year I hear how good our offense is going to be and every year as sure as the sun is going to rise, on the game threads people are bashing the offense like crazy so apparently I am not the only person who is critical of this offense year and year out(exception Super Bowl run).......

Sarcasticfury
Sarcasticfury

It's going to take more than return ability to save Deonte. Campanaro, Asa, and Forsett are all capable return men.

JWS
JWS

GET IT RIGHT IF YOU WANT TO BE CREDITABLE. CAMP WAS 7TH ROUND T 6TH ROUND NOT 6TH PICK. bROWN HAS LOOK BAD SO FAR BUTLER IS LOOKING GOOD THAT EVERYONE FAILED TO MENTION 3-4 SLOTS WILL BE DETRIMINE IN TRAINING CAMP AND PRESSEASON LETS WAIT ON JUDGEMENTS!!

Bo
Bo

I agree with the offensive comment (no pun intended), but, attribute the lackluster performance to poor offensive line play. QBs can't throw when they're running for their lives and WRs can't catch when balls are misfired. While at it, RBs can't run when the first contact is normally 3 yds behind the line. Fix the OL and all will take care of itself. If given time, we all know what Flacco can do.

Cheri
Cheri

Sure because you obviously you have never made a error before give me a break.I realize he was a 7th but the Ravens gave up a next year 6th for him. You probably was one of the ones crying on here about how bad the offense was.

Mike Z
Mike Z

That is exactly what I was going to say. Joe had on average just over 2 seconds last year to get rid of the ball. The team was last in tackles behind the line. This all equals trouble for the passing game. As for Laquan Williams, watch the tape. Was he a beast receiver, no. But look at special teams during his time. He was consistently the first or second person to the ball. A high percentage of the time when the you saw the returned catch the ball, number 15 was in the same screen shot. That may not be sexy like catching 100 passes for 1000 yards, but for the field position battle, PRICELESS!!

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