Jacoby Jones A Shoe In For 3rd WR?
Does the size of your bank account automatically dictate your spot on the depth chart? When it comes to the discussion of who will fill the role of the third wide receiver on the Ravens roster this upcoming season, Jacoby Jones’ salary might seem to be the deciding factor over his younger (and cheaper) counterparts.
Explosive may be the word that best suits Jones. The man bursts off the line of scrimmage – there is really no other way to put it. Throughout his first OTA’s with the Ravens, Jones hasn’t had a problem positioning his 6’2”, 215-pound frame to catch passes; it’s the catching part he sometimes struggles with.
Dropped passes in OTA’s aren’t necessarily a big concern in and of themselves. However, when drops are the primary reason Jones was released by the Texans, it makes them a little more noteworthy, even so early on.
The Ravens top two depth chart slots at WR are not even up for discussion, but when it comes to Jones’ name being chiseled in as the third wide receiver, putting him there just because of the $7 million investment over two years the Ravens made in him could be a little premature.
Throughout OTA’s, a legitimate argument can be made that LaQuan Williams looked as good as any receiver on the field. The undrafted, second-year player out of Maryland earned a roster spot last season because of his talent and work ethic and it paid off as he saw the field during 12 games last season – primarily on special teams.
Williams possesses the heart of a player determined to make the most out of his limited opportunity in the NFL and shouldn’t be overlooked simply due to the fact that the Ravens have invested $2.61 million more in Jones for this upcoming season.
So far this offseason, Williams has improved beyond what he showed in 2011 but is determined to keep pushing himself and not be satisfied to just earn a roster spot again.
“Of course I’ve made improvements but I still feel like I have to come in every day and prove myself every play,” Williams said as we spoke during the final day of voluntary OTA’s.
“I’m always going to have that stigma I was an undrafted free agent but I just have to continue to come in and get better on offense and special teams.”
Training camp is still a month away and Williams finds himself preparing just as much mentally as physically.
“At this point, I’m just doing what I have to do, controlling what I can control and just go out every day and just try to make as many plays as I possibly can,” said Williams.
Jones’ arrival in Baltimore has also gained the attention of many other players who are sitting lower on the depth chart. Kick returner and rarely used wide receiver, David Reed is recovering from a torn ACL and the arrival of Jones will likely shrink his role even further.
Last season the Ravens kept six wide receivers, and with expected depth of competition this season it may happen again. That includes practice squad candidate Deonte Thompson.
Thompson, who played at the University of Florida stands at 5’11”. However, what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed. His hands are decent and he’s drawn the attention of the Ravens coaching staff as the team prepares for training camp in a month.
It’s way too early to predict exactly how the depth chart will shake out at the wide receiver position (beyond the top two spots, of course). But one thing is certain. Those days of competitors like Clarence Moore, Devard Darling, Marcus Smith and Randy Hymes are long gone.
This battle will definitely be one to watch.