Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta seemed to grow weary of fielding questions about the state of the team’s wide receivers and the seeming lack of quality depth. It didn’t help things that some of their top targets in free agency rebuffed the team’s offers, before signing Sammy Watkins.
“I’m aware that there’s some fan discontent with our wide receivers and our drafting and all that,” he said during the team’s pre-draft press conference. “We’ve got some really good young receivers. It’s insulting to these guys when they hear that we don’t have any receivers. It’s quite insulting. I’m insulted by it too, to be honest. I think we’ve got some guys that want to show everybody what they can do.”
Well, the draft came and went, and the Ravens came away with not just one but two wide receivers, using a first-round selection on Rashod Bateman out of Minnesota, and then coming back with Tylan Wallace in the fourth round from Oklahoma State.
“I think one thing people will learn, eventually, is sometimes what we say leading up to the Draft, there’s different ways to interpret those types of things, and it’s a game,” DeCosta said yesterday in the Ravens’ post-draft press conference. “The draft is a game. It never serves us any purpose to give away any inside information. We’re not going to talk about players that we love. We’re not going to talk about players that we want to pick, strategies, all those types of things. And so, for us, we’re competing with those other teams.”
As it stands, the Ravens now have 10 wide receivers on their 90-man roster, which is by no means abnormal for this time of year. It does mark the third consecutive year in which they have drafted multiple wide receivers, adding Marquise Brown in the first round and Miles Boykin in the third in 2019, before drafting Devin Duvernay and James Proche last year in the third and sixth rounds, respectively. They did lose Willie Snead from last year’s roster.
“I also want to say that we feel really, really good about the guys that are already on the campus,” DeCosta would add. “Those guys are going to compete, they’re good players, [and] they’re going to help us win a lot of games. All we’ve done really is just kind of stack the deck and create a lot of competition.”
How their wide receiver situation plays out is still questionable. They did add some intriguing names. They have also made changes in the coaching structure at the wide receiver position, including the hiring of a pass game specialist. But do they have a quarterback who will be able to maximize all of these investments?