It’s no secret that the Baltimore Ravens’ passing game isn’t on par with their dynamic running game, which has Ravens fans clamoring on social media for the team to sign a wide receiver.
Despite having one of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ passing attack has underwhelmed. And just about a week into free agency, some of the top free-agent wide receivers — including Kenny Golladay and Corey Davis — are off the market.
However, that hasn’t slowed down the fans pursuit of improving the team’s wide receiver depth.
“I think it’s funny how much fans are freaking out about the receivers and everything like that,” Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard said on Glenn Clark Radio March 18. “We’re a great team, we’re a great offense. No. 1 in rushing, obviously in the passing game we’ve been struggling a little bit. But I think if we bring in more guys to compete at the position it’s going to make everyone better.”
One of the biggest allures for prospective free agents is the opportunity to catch passes from Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP and one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the entire league. He has run for more than 1,000 yards each of the past two years while totaling 62 passing touchdowns in that time.
But last season, the Ravens only attempted a league-low 406 passes and completed a league-low 257 passes, according to NFL.com. Still, Jackson’s ability to escape pressure plus his elusiveness in the open field makes him a tantalizing option for free-agent receivers.
“We have a great nucleus of the team. Who wouldn’t want to play with Lamar Jackson? Like come on,” Ricard said. “The guy is an absolute legend of a quarterback.”
In addition to an extremely talented quarterback, Baltimore has the luxury of an extremely talented defense. Although the Ravens lost edge rushers Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue to free agency, the team’s defense is still anchored by a healthy mix of veterans and young players.
Six-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell headlines the defensive line, while two-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey is the leader in the secondary. Second-year linebacker Patrick Queen figures to be thrust into a bigger role after an impressive rookie season with 66 solo tackles and 3.0 sacks.
“You don’t have to worry about our defense at all [if you sign],” Ricard said. “Some teams have to worry about [their] defense, man.”
However, one of the Ravens’ best assets for potential free agents is the winning culture the team has established under head coach John Harbaugh. The team has made the playoffs and won 10 or more games in each of the past three years. The Ravens have also won the AFC North two of the past three seasons, which has become increasingly competitive with the Cleveland Browns’ improvement.
“It’s a great city to play for,” Ricard said. “We’re in the playoffs every single year so you know you’re going to be competing for a Super Bowl here.”
As free agency continues to progress, some of the most notable wide receivers still available are Sammy Watkins and Golden Tate. Yet, the Ravens can address the wide receiver position in the NFL Draft as well. This year’s wide receiver class is one of the deepest in recent memory, according to draft pundits.
One of the most popular names that’s been linked to the Ravens at No. 27 overall in the first round is Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman.
Whether Baltimore selects Bateman or another receiver in the first round, adding another reliable weapon for the offense is paramount. It will allow Baltimore to be both more balanced and explosive offensively.
“We’re going to be a great team,” Ricard said, “and if we get a couple more receivers to bolster that room, sky’s the limit at that point.”
For more from Ricard, listen to the full interview here:
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