Who’s The Ravens No. 2 Wide Receiver?

Marlon Brown Torrey Smith Vikings
Photo Credit: USA Today

Torrey Smith has proven his critics wrong.

I know. I was one of them.

When Smith first came into the league, I thought he was one-dimensional. I thought speed was all he had to offer. Since then he’s shown everyone that, in addition to being incredibly fast, he’s tough and clutch.

Three particular games in Torrey Smith’s career are evidence that he’s clearly Baltimore’s top receiver:

  • at Pittsburgh in 2011 (five receptions, 71 yards, 14.2 yard average, one touchdown–the game winner)
  • versus New England in 2012 (six receptions, 127 yards, 21.2 yard average, two touchdowns)
  • at Denver in the 2012 divisional playoff game (three receptions, 98 yards, 27.3 yard average, two touchdowns)

Now the question becomes: Who’s No. 2?

The favorite will likely come down to either Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones or Marlon Brown. I  think the Ravens will hold Jones back a bit to keep him fresh for his role in the return game. The other eight wide receivers currently on Baltimore’s roster simply don’t have enough experience. That’s not to say they won’t turn into fine players, but in terms of being named a second starter on an NFL offense, they’re not there yet.

So when looking at who will be Baltimore’s second wide out, we’re left with Brown and (Steve) Smith.

Size versus savvy.

Brown (6’4″, 205 pounds) had a strong rookie season in 2013. He made 49 receptions for 524 yards on an offense that ranked 29th overall. In addition, Brown led all Ravens with seven touchdowns a season ago.

Steve Smith was a big reason why the Carolina Panthers had a first-round bye in last year’s playoffs. Although 64 receptions for 745 yards and four touchdowns might not seem like a typical Smith stat line, Smith is averaging 64 receptions and five touchdowns per season over his 13-year career, so it’s not like he barely did anything. He was the second-leading receiver on the team and was tied for the most targets (109) with tight end Greg Olsen.

Either Brown or Smith would be a solid choice as the Ravens’ No. 2 wide receiver, but to more accurately answer this question we ought to address what will be asked of that player.

It’s my opinion that the Ravens will ask their No. 2 receiver to run routes that would convert third downs and that might be second or third in the progression (quick slant, shallow cross, over, option, post, corner). This player ought to excel at beating press coverage and catching passes in traffic.

Although I think Brown is the better red zone target, I believe the Ravens’ starting wide receivers in Week 1 will both be named Smith. Brown will see plenty of playing time, but Smith is too valuable not to have him in the starting lineup. His physicality, tenacious blocking and football acumen collectively convince me.


If you were John Harbaugh, who would you start opposite Torrey Smith?
Steve Smith, Sr. (80%)
Jacoby Jones (3%)
Marlon Brown (16%)
Other (1%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.
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About Mike Fast

Mike Fast
I was born and raised in Baltimore. But after a year at York College of Pennsylvania, I transferred to Towson University. At York and Towson, I hosted various radio shows, wrote for the school paper, spoke on a panel RE: college game day presentation at IBS conference in Manhattan and...more

14 Raves on “Who’s The Ravens No. 2 Wide Receiver?

  1. Cheri on said:

    Most people me included will say Torry should be the #2 we need a #1. Vanished in too many games to be a true #1 Not as good as A. Brown, J.Gordon( I know may not play the season) or Green just in the division alone.With that said I like Torry quite a bit just not as a #1 WR.

    • Jay on said:

      I think you’re confusing “elite” receiver with #1 receiver. Torrey Smith is our first and best option at wideout which makes him a #1 receiver. There are only about 10 elite receivers in the league if that, I would take torrey over the rest. Especially when you have pitta and Steve Smith and Marlon and jacoby to take pressure and coverage off of him. I see over 80 catches and 1300 yards for him this year.

  2. Marcus on said:

    The thing is, I believe Steve Smith will start opposite of Torrey Smith, but I see us running a lot 3 receiver sets and that means, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, and Marlon Brown will be the starters.

  3. Eddie on said:

    It makes sense to put Smith Sr as the #2 reciever. But id rather gave Marlon Brown at the 2, he’s bigger than most corners, and more physical. Then id have Steve in the slot, that would be a nightmare for linebackers and nickel corners to cover him. I feel like he’d cause more matchup problems in the slot.

    • T92C on said:

      I was thinking the same thing. I have a lot of faith in a 2nd year player who as a rookie scored 7 TD’s. Steve Smith in the slot would be havoc

  4. Joe on said:

    Steve Smith Sr. will technically start opposite Torrey Smith, but in 3 WR packages, I see him in the slot, with Marlon Brown on the outside.

  5. Bruce_Almty on said:

    Designating receivers #1,2or3 seems silly to me. Torrey is our best receiver throughout the year but Pitta is our 2nd best. What’s the point of calling Torrey your #1 when Marlon catches 10 balls & 2 TDs in one game and Torrey catches 1 ball for 7yds & the following week Sr does the same? In the playbook it may matter who runs what routes but results determine the ultimate pecking order.

  6. Janius Marcus Aurilius III on said:

    A. Brown better than torrey smith in what world? Brown just happened to be the last man standing in steel town with no one else to catch the ball they were all going to him, you think he has a 2014 better than his 2013 you are mistaken the only no. 1 receiver in AFCN is f-ing A. Green but even so giving the distinction of no. 1 receiver in the NFL today is poppycock because the league has grown to a point that so rarely does a receiver have a skill set so dominant that they can be used regardless of game planning against the other team there are only 3-4 no.1 receivers in the league. Thats what happens when you garner the rules to throwing the ball cause it makes more people watch the game.

  7. Crewed on said:

    Torry Smith is our No. 1,based on what defenses do. He’s the guy other teams double-team. If you check most of his receiving stats have gone up year after year even with the double-team coverage against him.

  8. R. Stanley on said:

    Hopefully, we will be rotating all of the aforesaid receivers sufficiently to 1.) wear out the opposing defensive coverage, and 2.) keep our receivers fresh. With a bunch of quality receivers and some real speedsters, rotation is part of a strategy to win games. We have all seen what happens when a defense wears down.

  9. Dr. Evil on said:

    Smith Sr in the slot for sure. I love Marlon too much to keep him off the field. That kid is gonna be a beast after learning from Torrey and Steve.
    Go Ravens!

  10. Cheri on said:

    Are we overrating M.Brown just a little?.Let’s see what he does this year.I thought he was really good inside the 20.The other 80 yards not as much. We will see I guess.Not picking on Brown there is reason to be hopefull but I think we are so use to watching bad wr play in this town that just a glimmer of hope gets up just a tad carried away.

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