Lamar Jackson likes to provide input on wide receivers in NFL draft

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson often provides feedback to general manager Eric DeCosta about players he likes in the NFL draft.

Last season, Jackson lobbied for the team to select Zay Flowers from Boston College in the first round. That proved to be a wise move because Flowers led the wide receivers in receptions (77), yards (858) and touchdowns (5).

The Ravens will look to get Jackson’s input again this year before the draft, which starts a week from Thursday.

“We talked right at the beginning of the offseason and right up to the season about the type of guy or type of role that he felt like would fit,” DeCosta said. “We were all on the same page with that part of it, in terms of our roster, kind of what would be comfortable, and who we’re looking for style-wise. But it doesn’t always work out that way. So, Lamar [Jackson], he’s been tasked over the text world with a couple of assignments.

“So, we’ll see who he likes, and he looks at guys on tape, and he’s never been shy about giving his opinion on free agents or the draft.”

DeCosta likes the depth at wide receiver in this year’s draft. He could be tempted to select a wideout with the 30th overall pick if a talented player falls lower in the draft.

Some notable wide receivers in the draft who could interest the Ravens include Keon Coleman (Florida State), Ladd McConkey (Georgia), Troy Franklin (Oregon) and Xavier Worthy (Texas).

Since taking over for Hall-of-Famer Ozzie Newsome as the Ravens’ general manager, 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.

“That’s a critical position; the data supports that,” DeCosta said. “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 [receivers] 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.”

Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Nelson Agholor will be back next year, but DeCosta wants to provide Jackson with more playmakers. The Ravens could use a big, physical wide receiver — like former Raven Anquan Boldin — to complement the speedy players on the roster.

“This draft class is pretty impressive from a receiver standpoint,” DeCosta said. “We’ll assess that talent and see what kind of falls our way and then look at the free agency crop, as well.”


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