Before we enter free agency I wanted to put my thoughts and observations out there on the Ravens current wide receiver situation and also how (even though it’s 100% unlikely) they could greatly improve it only in free agency. Current players under contract or within a decision this off-season are Miles Boykin, Hollywood Brown, Seth Roberts, Jaleel Scott, Chris Moore, Willie Snead IV, and De’Anthony Thomas. As we all know Willie Snead and Hollywood are locks. These two showed they have what it takes to excel in this offense. Without mentioning Willie’s contract extension he is coming off a career-high year in TD’s with 5 and had his best catch percentage since the 2016 season in 2019. Willie can only improve going into this next year. Hollywood also excelled in a great freshman season with 7 TD’s in his limited playing time shows his expendability for this team.
Willie has had such an impact from the moment he stepped on the field with Lamar. His chemistry with Lamar was quickly noticed, as he seemed to be Lamar’s #1 wide receiver target throughout the 2018 season. And with Hollywood’s emergence in this re-embraced schematic offense, he’s a clear starter again in 2020. It’s only a matter of time before we see Hollywood’s full potential. He’s coming off a foot injury that hampered him over the past year, but Hollywood should finally be healthy in 2020.
Miles Boykin’s Next Step
Now, I also want to talk about the developing battle between Miles Boykin and Jaleel Scott. They both have a similar build and were brought in to do the same thing: be the big target that the traditional offense typically has. After watching them this past season, it’s obvious that Boykin won that role in the offense. But if and when the Ravens decide to move on from Scott, it’s going to be interesting to see if they have Boykin fight another young receiver for his role or will they bring in a different veteran presence? Boykin just has a bit more maturing to do to step up and make a big leap from year one. Boykin needs to progress in the offseason to clearly beat out anyone that the Ravens bring in.
As the Ravens continue to get better at this position, the team will be looking for a player with a will to block. That trait is a rarity in today’s receivers due to the sudden emergence of the “air-raid” type of offense, a style of play that the Chiefs offense has come to represent.
- The Ravens will trade for a receiver like Alshon Jeffery (Contract – $9.9 Million in 2020) who is known for his blocking skills but is sometimes questioned for his catching ability. He has claimed, however, that he has the “best hands in the league” back in 2018.
- Another receiver the Ravens could possibly hone in on is the University of Maryland’s own Stefon Diggs (Contract – $11 Million in 2020 / long-term player). Diggs was unhappy with the Vikings’ offensive system this past season, which was often compared to the Ravens’ system (minus Lamar Jackson). This factor could be the one that prevents Stephon from seeing himself back in Maryland.
- Not too long ago news dropped that Taylor Gabriel (29) was getting cut from the Bears to free up cap space. It also appears that Marquise Goodwin (29) and the 49ers are getting further and further away from being connected in 2020. Both would be significant speed options if the ravens are looking to fill that role in the latter part of this offseason. Travis Benjamin (30) has also been talked about but I don’t see much juice left in him these days.
- An interesting question: Could Hayden Hurst make more of an impact as a Slot/TE hybrid if the Ravens decide not to trade him?
There is still a long off-season ahead of us and there is no guarantee what the Ravens will do at any position. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the Ravens’ wide receiver situation. I will be writing another article soon on the defensive front seven that will be covering the same type of material so look out for that as well. Let me know if you liked this article with a comment down below, or tweet me, @RavensAnatomy. Any and all feedback is appreciated, as this is my first of many articles on The Baltimore Feather!