It’s never too early to look ahead and the Ravens look to have a need at wide receiver in next year’s NFL draft. These five wide receivers could be on the Baltimore Ravens’ radar in next year’s draft.
The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver room has been under constant scrutiny since the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. The team notoriously passed on several wide receivers and supplemented those positions with tight ends. So far through the preseason, that line of thinking has proved fruitful but only time will tell how it plays out long term. Even so, the Ravens are betting on several players taking the next step in 2022.
Rashod Bateman is a fan favorite and was considered a top ten prospect by yours truly during the 2021 Draft cycle. Despite dealing with some injuries last season, Bateman flashed plenty of incredible moments and now looks to be ready for his role as the Ravens’ top receiver.
Third-year man James Proche is expected to start in the slot after quickly building steam throughout the offseason. The last player of note is another third-year Raven Devin Duvernay, who is listed as the team’s wide receiver two. Both Proche and Duverany will be heavily relied upon despite their relative inexperience as starters.
Many analysts have expressed concern, and national draft evaluators have regularly given the Ravens a wide receiver in their off-season mock drafts. With next year’s draft expected to boast a bevy of wide receiver talent, it isn’t difficult to see how the Ravens would not be interested in the position.
The Ravens’ current crop of receivers may shock everyone and play consistent football this season however on paper, the team still needs another option opposite Bateman. And with Week One of the 2022 College Football season beginning later this week, it seems appropriate to share some of the names that could be on the Ravens’ radar. Additionally, there will be a few honorable mentions below as players who could also be available later on.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that this list is not based on what the Ravens’ record will be in 2022 and is more of a general outline of players to watch for this season.
Wide Receivers For The Ravens To Consider In The 2023 Draft
Johnston is arguably the best wide receiver in next year’s draft and if he were on a more publicized team his hype would be through the roof. At 6-4, 215, Johnston is a massive possession receiver with an incredible catch radius that makes him a go-to target for quarterback Max Duggan. Although being labeled as a “possession receiver” can be somewhat of a pejorative nowadays, Johnston is more than his tag would suggest.
He’s an excellent route runner with a shocking amount of lateral quickness. Johnston has great explosiveness in and out of his breaks while proving he can properly sink his hips despite his immense size. Johnston would be an effective number two option across from Bateman and could be well within the Baltimore Ravens’ range depending on their record. Johnston is the current dream selection for the Ravens but could very well be gone by the time they pick.
Similarly to Johnston, Smith-Njigba may be off the board by the time the Ravens pick next year however his play-making ability is worthy of mention. After an incredible 1,600-yard season with the Buckeyes, Smith-Njigba is viewed as the next elite receiver out of Ohio State. Although he’s less athletic than his former teammates, his skills as a receiver should not be overlooked.
Playing largely from the slot, Smith-Njigba was a great asset on all three levels of the field. He’s great at tracking the ball down the stretch, with just enough speed to make an impact after the catch on short area routes. Smith-Njigba could step in immediately for the Ravens as a starting slot receiver, and be another consistent option for Lamar Jackson.
Burton transferred from Georgia to Alabama and is a player many expect to take a significant step this year playing with Bryce Young. Admittedly, he’s a projection player at this point but Burton displays plenty of admirable traits that make him potentially one of the top receivers in next year’s draft.
Burton is a classic number two receiver displaying a violent release and great concentration skills through the catch point. If the Ravens miss out on the top options mentioned above, Burton could make for a nice consolation prize.
Every year the Maryland Terrapins boast a star wide receiver, the expectation is that player will become a Baltimore Raven. Rakim Jarrett is that player this year for Maryland after breaking out in 2022 with over 800 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Jarrett is already viewed as a top 50 prospect and it’s not hard to see why. Jarrett has great speed which he uses to win on screen passes and make an impact after the catch. He has incredible concentration and body control skills, proving he can easily contort his body to off-target passes.
Similarly to Maryland, the Baltimore Ravens have a history with Oklahoma receivers with the most recent example being 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown. Marvin Mims doesn’t quickly have the fanfare surrounding his game as his predecessors but has plenty of intriguing skills all on his own.
Mims has plenty of explosiveness out of his stance and does a great job using his speed to get behind the backend of defenses. Mims could be a consistent deep threat for Jackson and potentially replace what was lost in the Brown trade.
Honorable Mentions For The Ravens To Consider Next Year
Downs is viewed as a potential first-round pick but still could be an enticing option for the Ravens at the backend of the first round or early second round. Downs is similar to Duvernay but is a more dynamic athlete that can get involved in the screen game while seeing time on jet motions. Downs is a viable slot option that is a surprisingly impressive route runner.
Harrell joined his new teammate Burton at Alabama and is a potential breakout player for the Crimson Tide this season. Harrell’s calling card is speed, and can easily stack corners to leverage down-the-field separation for big touchdowns. If he proves himself in 2022, Harrell could be an ideal fit with the Ravens as their go-to deep threat.
Tillman is a big possession threat for the Volunteers who had a breakout season in 2021. In a similar vein to drafting Johnston, Tillman has a good catch radius that can box out defenders along the sideline, making him an easy security blanket for Hendon Hooker. Although Tillman is not as athletically impressive as Johnston, his speed and route running are solid, making him a suitable target for the Ravens on late day two.