The Baltimore Ravens put together a 30-points-per-game offense last season, and they did so with comparatively minor contributions from their wide receivers. As a group, their receivers gained the second-fewest yards in the NFL in 2019, which was also among the lowest totals in the past several years.
This is in spite of the fact that they used a first- and then a third-round draft pick on the position, selecting Marquise Brown as the first wide receiver off the board and then coming back on day two to pick up Miles Boykin out of Notre Dame.
Boykin didn’t contribute a lot in the passing game during his rookie season. Brown’s year was unsteady, but impactful in spurts—particularly his debut, during which he caught four passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his first two catches were 40-plus-yard scores. Still, he finished the year with just 584 receiving yards, even if he added another five touchdowns on 46 receptions.
In addressing the position recently building up to the draft, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said, “we like our receivers, first and foremost”. In addition to Brown and Boykin, they also return slot receiver Willie Snead and depth Chris Moore from a year ago. “We’ve got some guys who we think are going to make that jump. We really like that room”.
He was attempting to push back from being shoehorned into the idea that the Ravens would be focusing on the wide receiver position in the draft, which is seemingly one of the biggest holes on their roster, short of perhaps the linebacker positions, maybe safety, and now guard with the retirement of Marshal Yanda.
“Do we feel the urgency? We probably feel that with every position”, he equivocated. “This happens to be a wide receiver class with a lot of really good players. If we’re on the clock and we think that guy is the best player, we’ll probably pick him”.
One should always expect players to make a jump from year one to year two, especially those with pedigree, but you’re not going to take Brown and Boykin to the bank and think you can round out your crew just with Snead and Moore.
If DeCosta really wants to have an “undefendable” offense, they are going to have to add at least one more truly dynamic wide receiver to the mix. They should have the resources and the depth in the draft to be able to do that. But I don’t think anybody is being fooled by his selling of the quality of their current wide receiver room.