Fri, 04 Dec 2020

Mailbag: Should Ravens Trade for a Wide Receiver

Baltimore Ravens
22 Oct 2020, 04:25 GMT+10

by Ryan Mink & Garrett Downing

Mink: So if I'm hearing you right, you want a wide receiver. Got it.

I do believe the Ravens would benefit from an upgrade out wide and I do think it's something they will explore. There were high expectations for Miles Boykin to make a jump in Year 2 and it just hasn't happened yet (11 catches, 122 yards). Boykin is blocking well, but the chemistry between he and Lamar Jackson hasn't been there. I think Boykin can still have a bright future, but the Ravens could use some immediate help considering they're not making enough plays outside or deep down the field to make opponents back off crowding the line of scrimmage. I believe that's a big part of what's holding the offense back. Right now, opponents are keying in on Marquise "Hollywood" Brown and Mark Andrews in the passing game and dropping their safeties to contain the rushing attack.

So, who could the Ravens trade for? Some of the players who could be available, at least according to media reports, include Atlanta's Julio Jones, Houston's Will Fuller V and Brandin Cooks, Detroit's Marvin Jones Jr., and Cincinnati's A.J. Green and John Ross. I have no idea if any of them will actually be moved or if the Ravens would be interested. After all, who saw Marcus Peters coming last year?

What I feel more confident about is that Baltimore isn't looking for a player it would have to spend high draft picks or big money on in the near future. They don't like giving up high picks and have plenty of homegrown players they want to pay. The Ravens are building a young wide receiver corps around Jackson via the draft, and they have some very exciting prospects in the pipeline. To me, this would be more of a one-year rental situation.

Downing: First of all, is there really a need to adjust the defense? The Ravens have allowed the fewest points per game in the NFL (17.3) and have forced a turnover in 19 straight games, the best active streak in the league. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey is one of the leading candidates for Defensive Player of the Year and linebacker Patrick Queen in firmly in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year. I don't think the defense needs a scheme change.

It is worth mentioning, however, that the Ravens use multiple looks and fronts on defense. The base package for this defense is a 3-4 scheme, but Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale can present a variety of looks given the situation. Also, Calais Campbell seems to be fitting in just fine and is coming off a three-sack performance that earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. The Ravens has the best defense in the NFL, so I don't think we need to spend much time talking about potential scheme changes for that group.

Mink: Rookie wide receiver Devin Duvernay is quickly becoming a fan favorite. I see why. He's caught 10 of 12 passes that have come his way, shown a knack for getting extra yards, and some dangerous explosiveness. We all saw that on his kickoff return for a touchdown and again on his end around run of 42 yards. To be clear, the Ravens have expanded his role. Duvernay played a season-high 36 percent of the offensive snaps against Philadelphia. That's up from 29 percent the week before and 13 percent three weeks ago. I expect that number to keep climbing, and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has said as much.

Downing: The short passing game is already a staple of this offense and definitely a major piece of the play-calling already. I'm not sure if we'll see a big uptick in those play calls after the bye week. The running game has been more of a struggle this year, particularly for the running backs on early downs. Part of that can be attributed to the changes along the offensive line, with Marshal Yanda's retirement and the injuries the group has fought through early in the season. Harbaugh explained this week that teams have been bringing down the safeties to stack the box, which makes it tough to run the football. That also makes it challenging to hit some of the crossing routes because the middle of the field is much more crowded. Rather than increasing the number of short crossing routes, I think the more likely scenario is for the Ravens to hit some more deep passing plays to try to spread out the defense and keep teams from bringing the safeties up to the line of scrimmage.

Mink: So back to my first answer. Yes, I do think the Ravens will make a move at the deadline. General Manager Eric DeCosta isn't one to sit on his hands. He knows his team has a very legitimate chance at a Super Bowl this year but could use some help. If it's not going to be wide receiver, I expect the Ravens could add an edge rusher to help turn up the heat, a cornerback considering the loss Tavon Young and extended loss of Anthony Averett (can never have too many corners), or a pass-catching tight end considering the loss of Hayden Hurst has hurt some.

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