Wanna see how fast a quarterback can make a mid-summer breakout? Wonder why big things have been said about a mid-season steal … oh yeah, and how many layers there are to a Waffle House.
This is what football is all about.
Hang around at Ravens headquarters during OTAs, and there’s a lot going on, a lot to talk about. All the new names in the quarterback room getting a chance to work with Joe Flacco.
The future is always important in sports — and more than ever so for the Ravens — but it also makes you wonder if they’re on to something with the wide receiver corps.
There is no further proof that good things come in threes than what the Ravens did in the offseason.
They have No. 2 overall pick Lamar Jackson, who is expected to become a QB for a good long time, and the underrated Mark Andrews, who they selected in the second round. They also brought in 6-3, 230-pound Kenneth Dixon, a hybrid running back/receiver who broke the record for all-purpose yards in a college career with 23,865.
They signed Keenan Reynolds, the former Navy quarterback who is entering his fifth NFL season.
Oh, and they added Robert Foster, who as a seventh-round pick last year as a wide receiver out of Alabama-Birmingham is considered a rookie, which begs the question … who are the Ravens drafting? The first two were regarded as obvious choices, while the oddman out is Foster, whom the Ravens believe will be a big-play speedster out of the slot.
If things play out that way, the Ravens might be onto something.
Based on what I saw during the early portion of the OTAs, Foster is a longer track gun than former Ravens wide receiver David Reed or the only wide receiver who has caught a touchdown pass from Flacco in the big four. I expect Foster to be one of the lead horses on a fast wideout group that also includes Quincy Adeboyejo, Chris Moore and Tim White.
If Foster doesn’t pan out or the Ravens don’t re-sign any of their receivers in 2018, rookie Hayden Hurst and sixth-round pick Mark Andrews would be two of the most productive rookie wide receivers in the NFL. Andrews, who had more catches than any wide receiver at Oklahoma State, became the first receiver to record eight catches in two games in a season since Mike Bell in 2011.
The Ravens have quarterback experience, but they have issues with wide receiver.
They don’t have proven talent beyond Phillip Dorsett and Michael Crabtree. And he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
This summer is big for Jackson, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Dontrelle Inman, but it’s also a big camp for the wide receivers. You don’t have to be a football genius to figure out the Ravens’ salary cap for this season. That’s why they picked up two free agents and came close to re-signing a third with the caveat that they needed at least one cornerback.
When it comes to talent, this wide receiver group is as impressive as anything Ravens fans have seen in a while.
When the Ravens drafted Jackson, they knew they needed to add a couple of receivers in a developmental phase with three draft picks on the way. They might be off to a fast start.
What starts this season may be the most important group on the roster.
They need to find wide receivers who can be the banged-up group on the field and kickstart Jackson’s development.
If Jackson goes down, whoever that receiver is will need to deliver.
Tackles are difficult to fill, tight ends are hard to replace and cornerbacks are not as easy.
The wide receivers are probably the weakest link.
I’m not trying to pick on any of the receivers in Baltimore — I just think they had enough talent to have a good year in this passing attack.
“If you have five or six pass-catchers who can play, a quarterback can operate pretty well,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I mean, the Crayola box has so many colors. [As it relates to wide receivers], that group has good size. … They’re smart. The three guys in particular we’ve had that haven’t been in the NFL a long time, you’re talking about Reggie, Joe and Kendrick.
“It seems like with them [Cornerbacks D.J. Hayden and Asa Jackson and wide receiver Vince Mayle], they have a lot of experience. But I don’t know, I’ve got