The Baltimore Ravens have accomplished quite a bit over the span of the past season and a half once Lamar Jackson was installed into the starting lineup under center. In fact, they have only lost three games in the regular season since then, which needless to say is a pretty remarkable run.
But they are also 0-2 in the postseason during that time, and arguably the glaring weakness in both of their postseason losses was the lack of a proactive and stable passing game. Obviously Jackson plays a pivotal role in that, but this is also where the young wide receivers comes in.
When you have a passing game that consists primarily of a young quarterback and young wide receivers (plus a number one tight end that is also young), it is going to take time to develop. Jackson has made progress. Marquise Brown showed significant flash as a rookie. But they’re looking for a big second-year jump from Miles Boykin this year as well, who was a third-round pick.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman spoke to reporters about the state of the offense last week. On Boykin, he said that they are “really going to load his plate a lot more this year and really ask a lot of him this year”.
As a rookie, the Notre Dame product was limited to just 13 catches for 198 yards, though he did manage three touchdowns as Jackson led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes. Those numbers are somewhat reminiscent of what James Washington did for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a rookie in 2018, and we saw last year, even with mightily regressed quarterback play, the progress that he made.
“I just feel like I’ve been getting better as an all-around player”, the wide receiver said. “I was a rookie, and obviously, I went out there and did what I could. I’m capable of a lot more, and I’ll be able to play faster this year, have more chemistry with Lamar and just be able to go out there and just play the game the way I know how to play”.
Boykin came out of the same offense as Chase Claypool, the Steelers’ top draft pick this past year, so given his slow transition as a rookie, we probably shouldn’t set our expectations too high about what he will be able to accomplish this year.
As for the Ravens’ they’ve added another third-round rookie to the wide receiver room in Devin Duvernay, who will join Brown, Boykin, and the veteran slot wide receiver, Willie Snead. James Proche was also drafted in the sixth round, a player that they are high on, but they’re always high on the wide receivers that they draft and, well, they don’t have the best reputation for the position.