Could Ravens add to young wide receivers corps through draft?
As my colleague Jeff Zrebiec reported this weekend from the 2012 NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh pretty much shot down the notion that the team would pursue one of the top unrestricted free agents on the market next month and general manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens aren’t going to attempt to sign Mike Wallace, a restricted free agent, away from the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens could still add an established player in free agency, but either way, it seems likely they will rely on the NFL draft to add to a group of young receivers led by 2011 rookies Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams. The Ravens will pick 29th in the first round in April.
Draft hopefuls at the wide receiver position were run through the grinder at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, and the draft stock of a few of the draft’s top wide receivers were dinged by unimpressive showings in drills.
Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, who is the draft’s consensus top wide receiver, didn’t participate in some drills, including the 40-yard dash. He will wait for his pro day, at which he can solidify his top wideout status.
After Blackmon, a few wide receivers are jockeying to be the second wide receiver off the board come April.
Of those players, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd had the best workout Sunday. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, which ranked 13th at the position. He was reportedly quick, agile and caught mostly everything through his way. Can he catch Blackmon? Right now it appears he has too much ground to cover. That said, it seems very unlikely Floyd will still be on the board when the Ravens are on the clock at No. 29.
Baylor’s Kendall Wright, who was hailed as a speedster entering the combine, surprisingly ran in the 4.6 range. Mohamed Sanu of Rutgers, another wide receiver who is trying to crack the first round, ran a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash. LSU's Reuben Randle ran a 4.55. South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery slimmed down for the combine, but did not run in the 40-yard dash. They can all improve their stock at their respective pro days.
Those four receivers could be available when the Ravens make the 29th pick in the draft, but they also want to fortify their offensive line and have also indicated that they want to find a way to improve their pass rush. If the Ravens don’t love with one of those receivers, they will probably address the position later in the draft.
Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, who was expected to chat with the Ravens, is one player who is on the rise. The 6-foot-4 receiver ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash, which was tied for the best mark at the position. Iowa’s Marvin McNutt impressed reporters with his hands. Stanford’s Chris Owusu also ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and finished in the top 10 in the five major drills. All three could be selected by a team on the draft’s second day.