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Ravens’ Three-Year Investments In WR Position Still Leave Passing Game Incomplete

The Baltimore Ravens have used six draft picks on wide receivers over the course of the past three draft classes, including two selections in the first round and two more in the third. In spite of their investments at the key position, their passing game has yet to take off.

As of this writing, the Ravens still retain five of the six wide receivers taken in the draft over that span, sans the recently-released Miles Boykin, their second-drafted in that span, a third-round pick out of Notre Dame who was a follow-up to their first-round pick, Marquise Brown.

The others drafted since then are Devin Duvernay (third round) and James Proche (sixth round) in 2020 and Rashod Bateman (first round) and Tylan Wallace (fourth round) in 2021. So the question is, what have they gotten out of their wide receivers thus far?

Brown had by far his most high-volume season in 2021, catching 91 passes after having recorded only 104 in his first two years combined, but that didn’t translate into substantially more production. For his 91 catches, he recorded 1,008 receiving yards in 16 games, his first 1,000-yard season. His six touchdowns marked a career-low after having seven as a rookie and eight a year later.

As for his draft classmate, Boykin, now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he found himself on the bottom of the dept chart last year after dealing with a lengthy hamstring injury that took him out of the rotation, limiting him to just one catch for six yards on all of 35 snaps last year. He played close to 1,000 snaps combined during his first two seasons, recording 32 receptions during those years for 464 yards and seven touchdowns.

Duvernay played more than 600 snaps last season in year two, translating into 33 receptions for all of 272 yards and two touchdowns. As a rookie, he recorded 20 catches for 201 yards. But he is also a good return man, averaging 13.5 yards per punt and 25.6 yards per kick, posting over 1,000 return yards in 2021 and making the All-Pro team for it.

As for Proche, the lowest draft pick of the six, he did play over 200 offensive snaps last season in 14 games. He caught 16 passes for 202 yards, but is still looking for his first score. He only played much when there were injuries. Wallace played 84 snaps as a rookie, catching two passes for 23 yards.

Finally, there is Bateman, whose debut was delayed due to injury. Despite only playing in 12 games, he caught 46 passes, the most by anyone on the team behind Mark Andrews and Brown, for 515 yards (also most behind the two leaders, though he only found the end zone once). He logged more than 600 snaps, playing over two-thirds of the team’s snaps in the games in which he dressed.

Needless to say, given the investments the team has made at the position, the Ravens would surely like to have the group further along, and the passing game as a whole, than it currently is, though of course having a Pro Bowl tight end is a contributing factor. Brown and Bateman are obviously their starters moving forward, but don’t be surprised to see yet another draft pick here in the first three rounds, even after having just given up on one still on his rookie contract.

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