Early in the offseason, many wondered openly whether or not the Baltimore Ravens would be able to attract wide receivers to play for them, and with their young starting quarterback, Lamar Jackson, who is more of a runner than a passer at this stage of his career. The team is very actively gearing its offense going forward to the running game.
With the Ravens then releasing Michael Crabtree and allowing John Brown to sign a contract elsewhere in free agency, they suddenly found themselves with quite a dearth at wide receiver, with the only two experienced players remaining being Willie Snead—whom they signed in free agency in 2018 as a restricted free agent—and Chris Moore, who has been their number four target.
They did finally add a wide receiver last week in Seth Roberts, the former Oakland Raiders player who was released earlier this offseason—naturally, given the Ravens’ style, so he does not factor into the compensatory draft pick formula.
Roberts, a marginal starter in the league, signed a one-year contract with the team, with one of his assets being his blocking ability. The organization did say that it will look for wide receivers who are willing and able to deliver in that area.
After he signed, it is worth noting that Roberts talked about playing with Jackson as being one of the draws of coming to Baltimore. “With the quarterback, you know, I like Lamar. I like the style of his game, and I’m real happy to be a part of that offense”, he told the team’s website. “His energy, just his style of play. He wants it. He makes it happen. He can get up and down the field, he can run, he can throw. I like his game”.
He may like Jackson’s game, but the real question is whether or not he will like Jackson’s passes. The rookie completed only six of 16 deep passes and 24 of 56 intermediate passes. The accuracy at the intermediate level in particular should be concerning. To throw below 50 percent on targets between 10 and 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage is not good at all. He threw one touchdown to three interceptions in that range, including 18 for 31 with two interceptions over the middle.
On the season, Jackson completed 99 of 170 pass attempts while starting seven games in the regular season. He produced 1201 yards through the air with six passing touchdowns to three interceptions. He was also sacked 16 times and fumbled an astonishing 12 times.
As a runner, he recorded 147 attempts, gaining 695 yards and scoring five touchdowns with his legs, giving him a total of 11 touchdowns. He averaged over 40 rushing yards per game for the season, but 80 yards in his seven starts. Nine of his 11 touchdowns came during his seven yards.
He struggled significantly in his one postseason game, his first against an opponent who had seen him before. He completed just 14 of 29 attempts for 194 yards, throwing two late touchdowns in a 23-17 loss. He had one interception and fumbled three times while taking seven sacks. He rushed for 54 yards on nine attempts.