Last year, the Ravens drafted two receivers who played in the Senior Bowl — Devin Duvernay (Texas) and James Proche (SMU). Could Baltimore follow the same route this year in adding weapons for Lamar Jackson? Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy believes it’s possible, and he has a few ideas for the Ravens.
Baltimore’s passing offense in 2020 ranked last in the league in yards per game (171.2), and the Ravens threw the fewest amount of times as well (406 attempts). Even though Baltimore was league average in terms of efficiency in the passing game, the Ravens still figure to look for help in the pass-catching department.
Baltimore is set to return Marquise Brown (58 catches, 769 yards), Miles Boykin (19, 266) and Duvernay (20, 201) at the receiver position. Tight ends Mark Andrews (58, 701) and Nick Boyle (14, 113 before a season-ending injury) are also set to come back. Receiver Willie Snead (33, 432) is scheduled to hit the free-agent market.
The Senior Bowl will kick off at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 30, but teams are evaluating players in practice all week leading up to the game. Nagy joined Glenn Clark Radio Jan. 20 to discuss what pass catchers to keep an eye on at the Senior Bowl for the Ravens, whose first pick is currently scheduled to come at No. 27.
Florida WR Kadarius Toney
The 6-foot, 193-pound Toney put up big numbers for the Gators in a breakout 2020 season, catching 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns as the go-to receiver for quarterback Kyle Trask. He also ran for 161 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts. Nagy said Toney was “one of the most electric players in college football.”
Toney was a quarterback at Blount High School in Mobile, Ala., drawing comparisons to Lamar Jackson, according to Nagy, who believes Toney will be considered a first-round receiver after a week at the Senior Bowl.
“We’ve got a lot of good corners coming down this year, but I don’t know if there’s anyone that can cover this guy,” Toney said. “He’s got a little bit of his own route-running style. It’s something you can’t teach. He’s got a really cool quality about how he sets guys up, and he’s so darn athletic that it’d be hard to coach guys to run the same routes he runs because 99 percent of the players couldn’t execute it the way he does. … He’s similar to DeVonta [Smith] in that you look at the measurables and throw them out because he plays a lot bigger and stronger than what’s on the paper.”
Michigan WR Nico Collins
Collins opted out of the 2020 season in October but was primed for a big year before the Big Ten initially pulled the plug on the season in August, according to Nagy. The 6-foot-4, 222-pound receiver caught 38 passes for 632 yards and six touchdowns in 2018 and reeled in 37 passes for 729 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019.
“I was talking to that Michigan staff in August when the Big Ten season was canceled,” Nagy said. “They were going to try to get him to come back next year had [the Big Ten] canceled the entire season. We obviously know how that played out and they came back and played. I said, ‘Nico’s going to be a second- or third-round pick. That might be hard to talk him into coming back.’ And they said, ‘Jim, if you would’ve seen this guy in August camp, he looked like a first-rounder.’ Because he dropped some weight, he was quicker. But he’s a really intriguing guy.”
Notre Dame WR Ben Skowronek
Skowronek played at Northwestern for four years, putting together productive seasons in 2017 (45 catches, 644 yards, 5 touchdowns) and 2018 (45, 562, 3). He appeared well on his way to doing the same in 2019, but an ankle injury limited him to three games. He finished his college career at Notre Dame, catching 29 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns in 2020.
The 220-pound Skowronek, who is nearly 6-foot-3, would be a nice fit in the Ravens’ system, according to Nagy.
“If you’re looking for blocking, which the Ravens obviously [are], and guys who play big on the ball in contested situations and give Lamar another guy to throw the ball up to, Ben Skowronek from Notre Dame had some monster games this year,” Nagy said. “… He plays really, really big at the catch point, and some of the blocking stuff is unbelievable. He’ll go in there and just erase linebackers and safeties. He’s a really tough, competitive dude, plays big. Ben is a Day Three guy.”
Boston College TE Hunter Long
The 6-foot-5, 253-pound Long caught 28 passes for 509 yards and two touchdowns in 2019 and pulled in 57 passes for 685 yards and five touchdowns in 2020. Long redshirted the 2017 season, so 2020 marked just his third year of college ball. Nagy was impressed by his progression.
“Had a great year, made a big jump from his sophomore year which is why he came out,” Nagy said. “Hunter is probably going to be somewhere in the Day Two area. He’s a really accomplished pass-catcher. He can get open, he can run after the catch, and he’s got enough size to get some things done in the blocking game.”
For more from Nagy, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credits: Courtesy of U-M Photography, BC Athletics, Notre Dame Athletics, Florida Communications