Ravens could target wideout with first-round pick in 2024 NFL Draft

OWINGS MILLS — When Eric DeCosta took over as the Ravens’ general manager in 2019, he said the team needed to take “more swings” at wide receiver in the NFL Draft, meaning he was going to select more players at that position.

DeCosta has taken a wideout in the first round in three of the last five years. Overall, the Ravens have selected a wide receiver seven times over that span.

This year might be no different, even though the Ravens have needs on the offensive line, secondary, and outside linebacker.

“That’s a critical position; the data supports that,” DeCosta said at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine. “And that’s a position, too, where some of these guys are like race cars; they break down at times. And so, having depth at that position is critical, [and] we saw that this year. We think we built the room out pretty well this year and were able to sustain some injuries along the way.

“So, we will look at that. I think it’s a very, very deep year in the draft. This draft class is pretty impressive from a receiver standpoint. We’ll assess that talent and see what kind of falls our way and then look at the free agency crop, as well.” 

Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Nelson Agholor will be back in the lineup next year, but DeCosta is always looking to provide more talent for quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens could use a big-bodied, physical wide receiver to add support to the other speedy players on the roster.

DeCosta and the Ravens’ staff will keep a close eye on the wide receivers at the combine.

“I think with Zay Flowers, I think he is going to be a No. 1 if he isn’t a No. 1 already,” said NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah. “That would be the person I would be looking to complement. I’m going to go look for some size.”

Odell Beckham Jr., Devin Duvernay and Laquon Treadwell are eligible for free agency, so the Ravens need to add depth, perhaps on day one or day two of this year’s draft.

Jeremiah cited three players the Ravens could target:

  • Adonai Mitchell, Texas — The 6-foot-4, 196-pound playmaker was the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year, establishing career highs with 55 receptions, 845 yards, and 11 receiving touchdowns, which tied for fifth-most in a season in program history. He has the height and speed to make an immediate impact.
  • Troy Franklin, Oregon — At 6-foot-3, 187 pounds, Oregon has the athleticism to create matchup problems with opposing cornerbacks. He also has the speed to create separation and could be another downfield target for Jackson. Last season, he caught 81 passes for 1,383 yards with 14 touchdowns over 13 games.
  • Keon Coleman, Florida State — The 6-foot-4, 215-pound wideout scored 11 touchdowns inside the red zone, and he would fit perfectly into the Ravens, who like to aggressively push the ball downfield. Coleman is also a physical player who could add more swagger to the offense.

“Those three guys would kind of fill out that basketball team, so to speak, for the Ravens,” Jeremiah said.

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