Position Battle: Ravens 3rd receiver | Chris Schisler| July 11, 2013
The biggest question left unanswered for the 2013 Baltimore Ravens is the status of the receiving core. Ravens fans are still stinging over the loss of fan favorite Anquan Boldin; who was traded to the 49ers for a 6th round draft pick. The move means that Torrey Smith for the first time in his career is expected to be a number one wide receiver. Jacoby Jones figures to be the number two. The hierarchy of the depth chart after this will be determined in training camp and preseason football. With this uncertainty and youth at the position the Ravens will likely keep 6 wide receivers on the 53 man roster. Let’s look at some of the candidates to be the third wide receiver.
1.) Deonte Thompson: 6’0” 203 lbs
Deonte Thompson has all the physical ability to be a good slot receiver. He has decent speed. He has great quickness and runs pretty good routes. Like those he is competing with for playing time, there is not a lot of game experience to go off of. In 2012 Thompson caught 5 passes for 51 yards. Thompson played well in his limited number of chances this past season. Athletically he is probably the best receiver on the Ravens not named Smith or Jones. I believe that Thompson will win a lot of playing time in 2013. He can be an ideal slot. The fact is he is an unknown quantity at wide receiver. This is not necessarily a bad thing seeing as he has great potential.
2.) Tandon Doss: 6’2” 207 lbs.
Doss has a big frame and very strong hands. Doss is not very popular amongst the fans because of his drops in the playoff game vs. Indianapolis. This is unfair. There have been few chances to play for Doss. In the 2012 regular season he had 7 catches and 123 yards. Like Thompson there is insufficient evidence to evaluate Doss’s potential in a larger role. He was a very impressive receiver at Indiana and Joe Flacco publicly wanted the Ravens to draft him. In 2010 at Indiana University he caught 63 receptions for 706 yards and 7 touchdowns. Doss has the size and talent you look for in a slot receiver. Doss needs opportunities to prove this.
3.) Laquan Williams: 6’0” 190 lbs.
Williams is another receiver who will finally get an opportunity to prove himself. Williams only has 4 career receptions for 46 yards. When you look at Williams you have to see the potential. Williams is not the strongest receiver but is quite a good athlete. I think that he is a sharp route runner who understands coverages. In the slot I think he could be quite effective and has good bursts of acceleration. If he gets the opportunity this preseason look for him to get yards after the catch. If he can do this he will earn more time on the field.
These are the three receivers I feel are worth highlighting. Other hopefuls include Tommy Streeter, David Reed and the Ravens late round draft pick Aaron Mellete. This is going to be an interesting position battle which may work itself out over the course of the season. It is important to remember that it does not need to be one guy. The Ravens could have a nice rotation at wide receiver.