DRAFT PROSPECTS: Wide Receivers Round 1


As a part of our coverage here at Russell Street Report, we’ll be featuring the best prospects all across the board in any situation the Ravens might come across. Whether it’s a receiver in the first round, a quarterback in the sixth, or a guard in the third, we’ll cover the Ravens best options in any scenario. Barring any trades, the team will pick in the middle of each round—so we’ll see who is available when the Ravens are projected to select their upcoming stars. This will make it easy for you the fan to look at what the Ravens are seeing in future NFL prospects.

Click Here for Interior O-Line Prospect Analysis

When I asked a small group of 15 fans what area they thought the Ravens should draft in the first round, all 15 said a pass-catcher to help Joe Flacco. While it might not be the most important issue, it certainly stands out when taking a look at the Ravens’ situation. Torrey Smith needs a legitimate sidekick to thrive in Gary Kubiak’s offense; will he come in the first round? Let’s take a look at some potential difference-makers.

Mike Evans, Texas A&M

Behind Sammy Watkins, (who will be long gone by the time the Ravens pick) Evans appears to be the next best receiver in this class. I have watched every bit of tape I could on Evans and am still very torn – not on his ability, but the talent that is just behind him in this class.

Evans has a tremendous ability to make defenders fall off of him and use his size to overpower defensive backs. While he lacks the speed of some in this class, he makes up for it with his Anquan Boldin-like physical nature.

The Texas A&M wide-out is huge and will make an impact in the NFL. The Ravens could use a reliable, physical option for Flacco. Could Evans be the answer?

Marquise Lee, USC

Looking like an NFL star already, Lee has the ability to make game-changing plays every time he touches the ball. Although he’s fought through injuries, he has the look and skill of an NFL receiver.

The Ravens’ offense will look for a player like Lee that can effectively shift the outcome of a game with speed and agility.

Lee may be off the board when the Ravens pick, but if he’s there, I have a hard time believing that Ozzie Newsome wouldn’t strongly consider writing Lee’s name down on the card. Injuries and a bad USC wide receiver history may scare teams away, but I’m in the majority of people that think Lee will be a difference-maker in the NFL.

Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

Emerging later in the season during Florida State’s miraculous run, Benjamin turned heads working with Jameis Winston.

If you like size and projects, Benjamin may be for you. I’d be opposed in more ways than one. I don’t think Benjamin deserves a first-round grade. If Florida State didn’t win the BCS National Championship, would he really be getting one?

Here’s what CBS had to say:

STRENGTHS: Near-tight end size (6-5, 235) with a ridiculously large wingspan, giving him a catching radius that is probably on-par with anyone at the NFL level. Shows the gliding speed and short-area quickness to create some separation and be a terror in jump-ball situations, especially in the red zone.

WEAKNESSES: Still developing as a route-runner.

The poor route-running does stand out and it is a concern. He doesn’t flash elite speed and I can’t see him fooling defensive backfields at the next level. We’ll see how hard the Ravens look at him, but beware of this kid.

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the...more

14 Raves on “DRAFT PROSPECTS: Wide Receivers Round 1

  1. Mike Z on said:

    Your sampling of 15 fans is right on and a correct sampling of Baltimore Sports fans as a whole. Too bad the Baltimore Sports fan as a whole is ignorant about sports. The Ravens have receivers, and some very good receivers. They need an O-Line that allows Joe more than 1 seconds to find them, and more than 2 seconds for them to break open. McKinnie was a bust and only had four good games in Baltimore: his first and last years playoff run. Oher is not a bust, but is also not a solid tackle. KO and Yanda were hurting all year and Gradkowski was a second year player starting in the most important O-Line position.
    Oher will be gone, move (a hopefully healthy) KO to RT. Draft a Tackle or Guard (Think “Roll Tide”)

    • Nick on said:

      I agree for the most part. I just didn’t like K.O’s potential at RT. I think he’s more suited for guard and where we’re picking is perfect for a starting RT. I think if we focus on signing Monroe and Pitta and Smith (defense) we’ll be able to have that dominant O-Line back and more. Monroe at LT, K.O at LG, maybe a free agent at Center, Marshall Yanda at RG and that 16th pick at RT. I want a WR and we NEED a WR but there’s a high chance of a really good RT being there and I have no doubt that there’s more of a chance of that happening than Sammy Watkins getting to us, you know?

    • Cheri on said:

      If you think the Ravens WR’S are up to par with the rest of the league all I can say is Thank God you aren’t running the Ravens.I say we have one of the worst group of wide outs in all of football.And yes I say that knowing we have one of the worst OL’S in football as well.You don’t put up the numbers we did this year without it being a collective issue.

  2. Brandon on said:

    I say go for offense. Take either Lee or Evans. Both are dynamic wideouts, who would help out Flacco immensely. Flacco needs weapons. Then in the second round go out and get that stud O-Line man. Trade back into the 2nd round and grab a pass rusher. No more small college kids. We need kids from big-named schools.

  3. Anonymous on said:

    After hiring Kubiak, can we analysis his preference for wide receivers and make a guess? Also, his stretch zone requires better blocking from receivers, so we should look at tape on that front as well.

    • Nick on said:

      Yeah, they’re trying to get at that Mike Evans is the prototype Anquan Boldin Wide Receiver but I’m not sure if I’m buying it. Why am I saying this? Because Anquan Boldin did most of the effective down field blocking as a wide receiver for us during our superbowl run. If you go to youtube and check out Mike Evans, he really could do it, but sometimes the skills like that don’t necessarily transmit to the pros. I have confidence in Evans to be a good WR but I’m starting to believe that it doesn’t matter if we get a blocking TE in the 3rd or 4th round. If Sammy Watkins is there, we’re getting him, if not, it’s going to be a RT. (In the first)

  4. Nick on said:

    I think it’s going to be a great draft based on the fact that Hortiz, Ozzie, Decosta, and the scouts all have a lot more time. Not only did we get completely eliminated from the playoffs before they started but the draft was moved to May, adding even more time to their arsenal.

    This does give a lot of other teams advantages as well, but it’s our staff that really has the track record of hitting it big in the draft. Now, with the tenured positional coaches that we’re bringing in and the extra time…I think we might be able to see that really cool first round draft pick or trade that all of us eager Ravens fans have been waiting for since 1996. (OK 97′)

    If we get an O-Lineman then I know, because of Ozzie and the rest of the crew, that he’s going to be the next great T or G in the league because we REALLY do need another elite target. It would prove very valuable to our front office if we had one since Torrey is going to be in the last year of his contract and Pitta is bound for free agency unless we act fast.

    But if their main goal is a running back or a center…we’re going to trade back. If their top TE, WR, or T is gone by 13-14, we’re trading back. But if a guy like Sammy Watkins is falling or they fear the Jace Amaro or Mike Evans is too desirable for the guys picking closer to us, then we’ll either stay put or we’ll trade up. Not very likely though since we’ve given up a bunch of picks for our O-Line this year (The conditional pick for Shipley and the 4th and 5th for Monroe.) And picks are GOLD for Decosta and Ozzie.

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