Ravens: Wide Receiver Moves
Although Mark Andrews is their top target, supplemented by a solid rushing attack, the Baltimore Ravens have been notorious for not developing wide receivers as of late. Hollywood Brown barely cracked 1,000 yards before being shipped off to Arizona, and Rashod Bateman has combined for 800 yards in two seasons. While injuries have been apparent, this is not the production that a team is expecting from a first-round pick.
For the third time in five years, Baltimore has spent another first-round pick on a wide receiver in Zay Flowers. Flowers has been praised for his footwork and route-running, making up for his 5’ 9” frame.
Going into the offseason, Baltimore had one of the worst wide receivers groups in the league, and they needed to bolster the group. The Ravens decided to sign Odell Beckham Jr. to help round out one of the murkiest wide receiver corps in the entire league. Beckham was unsigned all of last season due to injury, although he was crucial in the Rams' 2022 playoff run and eventual Super Bowl.
However, the Ravens might have been better suited if they decided to trade up and take one of the more elite wide receiver prospects in Jordan Addison or Jaxon Smith-Njigba that are homerun selections. The pick of Zay Flowers instead brings some uncertainty with his size, as there has only ever been a single season where a player checking in at 5'9" or under, recorded 1,000 yards. Ironically, it was Hollywood Brown in 2021 with 1,008 yards and Lamar Jackson at quarterback.
If Flowers can post 1,000 yards and a few touchdowns during his rookie season, and continue to put up these numbers despite his size, he could be worth his first-round billing. However, history has a way of repeating itself, and it remains to be seen how many targets he'll receive in this new-look offense. The Ravens likely would have been more stable with a stronger candidate for wide receiver 1 while Rashod Bateman recovers from his injury.