Ravens Poised to Select a WR in Round One

Oct 24, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman (0) catches a pass in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens were once again involved in a mega-blockbuster trade. Another rim-rocking trade that has shuck the NFL world.

On Friday afternoon, the Ravens sent tackle Orlando Brown Jr to the Kansas City Chiefs. While the Chiefs may be a direct competitor for the top spot in the AFC, the Ravens received an offer they couldn’t refuse. As for the full details of the trade, those can be seen below.

The major takeaway? 

The Ravens now own the 27th and 31st overall pick, in essence controlling the backend of the first round. Baltimore now has the first-round as their oyster, one with boundless possibilities.

However, those possibilities could be whittled down based on recent reports from Todd McShay. 

He reported that at least one of those picks is expected to be on the offensive side of the ball and that the Ravens are definitely targeting a wide receiver. McShay would later add that he would be very surprised if a pass-catcher was not selected with either of those first-rounders.

There we have it. The Ravens will be targeting a WR in the first round, putting to rest all the fans on Twitter calling for heads to roll. As for what wide receiver will be joining Hollywood Brown and Sammy Watkins? That we will find out a few days from now.

Standing at the 27th overall pick, the Ravens will most certainly miss out on the premier prospects at the position: Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, and Kyle Pitts. Instead, fans should keep their eyes on these three prospects.

Rashod Bateman

Bateman continues to remain one of the most mocked players to the Ravens. His scouting report can be found below via Kyle Crabbs at the Draft Network.

Rashod Bateman projects as a starting NFL wide receiver after spending the last three seasons in the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ program. Bateman offers an impressive blend of route running, ball skills, and competitive toughness into a frame that should alleviate any concerns about his projection to working on the boundary. Bateman’s collegiate offense utilized him on a lot of in-breaking patterns and finding first and second throwing windows via run/pass option concepts at Minnesota, but he shouldn’t be pegged as only a zone beater or “slot” target. Bateman’s ability to track the football and win at the catch point flash just as much as his smooth breaks and easy acceleration off the line of scrimmage. While he’s not a true burner, there should be no concerns regarding separation ability thanks to a diverse release package and effectiveness at the top of route stems in a number of ways. Bateman does a lot of the little things well, which should theoretically set him up for an early impact at the pro level. Bateman has multiple-Pro Bowl potential with effective quarterback play in the NFL.

Bateman has all the tools to come in and contribute from day one. His well-roundness should blend well with Lamar Jackson. Playing complementary to Brown and Watkins, Bateman could see various roles, whether it be in the slot or as a potential deep threat.

Bateman could be this year’s Justin Jefferson. Where teams overlook him as one of the premier players, but could ultimately come in and have the most significant impact from day one.

Terrace Marshall Jr.

Next up is Marshall Jr. out of LSU, a name you may or may not be familiar with, considering he was often in the shadows of Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson during his collegiate career. His Draft Network profile can also be found below.

In 2019, LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. was “the other guy” in a historic Tigers offense that featured dynamic talents at receiver in Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. With neither Chase nor Jefferson in the mix in 2020, it was Marshall’s chance to shine and he took full advantage. In seven games in 2020, Marshall averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game and hauled in double-digit touchdown receptions for the second consecutive season. Marshall is a versatile receiver that has proven himself both from the slot and out wide while attacking all levels of the field with consistency. He offers terrific size, physicality, hands, ball skills, run after catch ability, route-running skills, and overall technical-refinement. Marshall did miss three games in 2019 with a foot injury, had some minor drop issues creep up in 2020, and has some inconsistent moments as a blocker, but there isn’t much in the way of notable concerns as he enters the next level. Marshall has the potential to become a productive piece of an NFL offense that can produce in a variety of ways. 

At 6’3, Marshall could be an absolute monster in the slot or line up on the outside. His excellent ball skills should further aid in the development of Lamar Jackson as a pocket passer. Ultimately, he could be the guy when the Ravens step up onto the clock at pick number 31.

Kadarius Toney

Lastly, we have Kadarius Toney, a 5’11 wide receiver out of Florida.

Jordan Reid provided a scouting report as follows: Toney is an electric slot receiver who’s continued to improve every season in Gainesville. He is much more satisfying than his size indicates because he’s electric with or without the ball in his grasp. His ceiling as a route-runner is a bit limited, but he was highly effective with the package that he was asked to run. Toney’s presence is always felt whether or not he has the ball, as he makes defenses account for him even if he’s strictly a motion player.

The selection of Toney seems to be the most unrealistic given his similarities to Hollywood Brown. While it could be an electrifying addition to an already explosive offense, the Ravens may look in a different direction to find their bonafide WR1.

One Additional Option

But wait, that’s not all.

There is one final option for the Ravens—a trade-up. The Ravens could very well package their 27th and 31st overall pick to move up the board and position themselves to select one of the top wide receivers in the draft.

A team to watch is the Minnesota Vikings, who select at number fourteen overall. Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman does have a history of trading back, and rumors indicate the Vikings could be a team to move down once again.

Keep in mind the Ravens and Vikings indeed share a history. Most recently, with the trades of Yannick Ngakoue, Kaare Vedvik, and others.

Trading up to fourteen could be enough to put themselves in a position to select Jaylen Waddle, who would be expected to be WR1 from day one.

All in all, the Ravens will certainly have their choice of choices. After all, it is the Ravens’ oyster, and we are just living in it.