NFL Today: Baltimore Ravens Add to Wide Receiver Depth
By drafting Zay Flowers, the Ravens have improved their pass attack. (Kirby Lee-USA Today Sports)
Detroit raised some eyebrows when it drafted Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker, who tore his ACL in January, but Lions GM Brad Holmes had a perfectly logical explanation for this pick; the Jets got some much-needed help at offensive tackle by signing free agent Billy Turner; and Denver, in the hopes of further tapping into Jerry Jeudy‘s potential, picked up his fifth year option.
Baltimore Beefs Up Offense
With the Lamar Jackson extension done (thereby eliminating the drama from his trade demands) and the drafting of wide receiver Zay Flowers (which was a very nice pick, yet experts were meh about the rest of the team’s haul at the draft — see video below), the Baltimore Ravens went a long way towards addressing concerns about their offense. Currently listed at +1800 to win the Super Bowl as per FanDuel’s Futures, this team has done what it can to add depth to its previously paltry WR room, hopefully giving Jackson enough weapons to take another step forward after somewhat of a bounce back last season (albeit, in another injury-shortened campaign).
The Ravens now feature Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckman Jr., Flowers and Nelson Agholor atop their depth chart at wide receiver. It’s still not stellar, but is definitely an improvement, with potential for more should fortune (read: good health) shine.
Bateman certainly showed potential as a deep threat in his sophomore season, but a Lisfranc injury that required November surgery derailed things. There’s a ton of upside here if he can stay on the field.
OBJ is another wild card after he missed all of 2022 in the wake of a torn ACL suffered in the Super Bowl. Sure, he’s a three-time Pro Bowler, but considering he hasn’t played a game in over a year, was Baltimore wise to give him a whopping $15 million? Major question mark here, but hey, perhaps Beckham Jr. can at least be a mentor to the team’s young receivers.
Flowers, meanwhile, is the most likely one to occupy the slot role considering his usage in college. The team reportedly sees him as the next Steve Smith Sr., which would be a fantastic result.
Agholor, at the very least, has proved durable in recent seasons, which could come in handy given the injury risks above him. His role was really reduced over during his two years in New England, and isn’t likely to bounce back near his 2020 usage unless necessitated by injuries, although that isn’t inconceivable as outlined above. Given that backdrop, Agholor makes for a nice insurance policy in Baltimore.
Seattle Seahawks Draft Review
Based on the fact that the Seattle Seahawks did not draft a quarterback last week, it’s clear that Geno Smith is now the man for this team. The Comeback Player of the Year got his new contract in March (three years, $75 million) and now he has a shiny new toy to play with in the form of wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the team’s second first round pick (20th overall).
Smith-Njigba will be the new slot receiver, giving Seattle a potential one-two threat with DK Metcalf. Ohio State product Smith-Njigba should be a good receiver within the next couple of years as the Seahawks continue to build a team that can contend with the San Francisco 49ers. His draft stock likely fell given a hamstring woe that limited him to just three games in 2022, but considering how stellar a route-runner he is, he could be a steal at this slot — especially if he delivers on his potential as a deep threat.
Beyond that, Seattle beefed up its secondary with Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon (fifth overall); grabbed an edge rusher, two running backs, an offensive guard, a defensive tackle, a defensive end, a centre, and a safety.
It was a bit surprising the Seahawks felt a need to draft a pair of RBs considering they already have Kenneth Walker, but it’s clearly a position with a ton of depth now.
Still, overall, this his was another very strong draft showing by Seattle, positioning this team to be a legitimate contender in the NFC.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Beastie Boys first started enjoying local success in 1983, but really took off nationally when they toured with Madonna in 1985. Here’s yet another track from the 1999 compilation album Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science — “Sabrosa,” which was originally released on Ill Communication.