Ravens Position Battle Breakdown And Analysis: Wide Receiver

July 6, 2022

The Baltimore Ravens haven’t had a true WR1 in quite some time. Marquise Brown stepped into that role perfectly for the Ravens last year, becoming the first wide receiver since Mike Wallace in 2016 to have a 1,000-yard season. He has improved every season since entering the league in 2019 and just had his first 1,000-yard season. 

Unfortunately, Baltimore traded Brown to the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL Draft for a first-round pick, which ended up being center Tyler Linderbaum. Just when Brown was looking like the answer, the Ravens now will be looking for their future WR1 once again.

In 2021, the Ravens missed the playoffs for the first time since Lamar Jackson joined the team, finishing with an 8-9 record. They finished two games behind the division winner Cincinnati Bengals and one game behind the Wild Card Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mark Andrews was the favorite target in Baltimore, as he led the team in targets (153), receptions (107), yards (1,361), and touchdowns (9). Andrews and Brown accounted for 50.6% of the targets, 50% of the catches, 55.5% of the yards, and 71.4% of the touchdowns for the Ravens. 

The current wide receiver room in Baltimore is definitely in question. Of the 12 wide receivers on the roster, only four have played in an NFL game, with 15 combined starts amongst them. So the door is wide open for anyone to step up for the Ravens.

Ravens Position Showdown

Wide Receiver Battle 

Baltimore currently has 12 wide receivers on the roster: Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernary, James Proche, Tylan Wallace, Jaylon Moore, Binjimen Victor, Slade Bolden, Shemar Bridges, Trevon Clark, Makai Polk, Raleigh Webb, and Devon Williams. Of those 12, four were on the 53-man roster last year (Bateman, Duvernay, Proche, and Wallace), while two were on the practice squad (Moore and Victor). The other half are undrafted rookies. 

The Veterans

Let’s start with the 2020 picks, Duvernay and Proche. Duvernay was taken in Round 3, while Proche was taken in Round 6. In 2021, Duvernay started seven games and had 33 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns. He made his impact known on special teams, as he was named to the Pro Bowl and 1st Team All-Pro as a punt returner. Proche hasn’t seen much action, only recording 16 catches for 188 yards last year. 

Back in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Ravens drafted two wide receivers. Bateman in the 1st Round and Wallace in the 4th Round. Bateman started the year on injured reserve, missing the season’s first five games. He finished his rookie year with 46 catches for 515 yards and one touchdown. Wallace was hardly used on offense, recording just 84 snaps and had 2 catches for 23 yards. Instead, he was mainly used on special teams, totaling 278 snaps there.

While Moore and Victor spent all last season on the practice roster, they have the advantage of already knowing the playbook and having been in the wide receiver room. Both had successful careers in college. Moore attended UT Martin where he had 92 catches for 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns. Victor went to Ohio State and had 83 catches for 1,340 yards and 18 touchdowns. 

The Rookies

Four of the six rookies went to a Power Five school. Slade Bolden (Alabama), Trevon Clark (California), Makai Polk (California and Mississippi State), and Devon Williams (USC and Oregon). In 2021, Bolden finished with 42 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns. He was the No. 3 receiver on the team, finishing behind Round 1 pick Jameson Williams and second-round pick John Metchie.

Similar to Bolden, Clark was the third option on the team, finishing with 33 catches for 658 yards and four touchdowns. Clark was a deep ball threat for Cal, as he averaged 19.9 yards per reception and had 11 catches of 20 or more yards, with six of them going for 30+ yards. 

After transferring from Cal to Mississippi State, Polk became one of the top receivers in the country. Polk was second in the country in receptions (105) and finished with 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns. He set the school’s single-season record in receptions and yards and became the fifth player in SEC history with 100+ catches in a season. 

The final member from the Power Five is Williams, who spent the last two seasons at Oregon following a transfer from USC. Williams led the team with 557 yards and four touchdowns on 35 catches. 

The other two receivers, Bridges and Webb, went to Fort Valley State and The Citadel. Bridges only played 16 games in college but recorded 98 catches for 1,358 yards and seven touchdowns. Webb spent five years at The Citadel, recording 102 catches for 2,151 yards and 22 touchdowns. Webb was versatile in college, having 37 carries for 433 yards and four touchdowns, and had one kick return touchdown.

The Final Verdict

The Game Day’s Position Battle Prediction: Let’s assume Baltimore keeps seven wide receivers on the roster. You can expect the four receivers the Ravens drafted in Bateman, Duvernay, Proche, and Wallace to lead the pack, with Bateman and Duvernay emerging as the top two receivers. Moore and Victor have been on the team, and familiarity with the system will give them the edge. The one rookie the Ravens will keep on the 53-man roster will be Polk, with one or two more possibly being signed to the practice squad.