This is a good year to need a wide receiver.
The Ravens want to add a pass catcher this offseason, and the 2014 draft class is loaded with talent.
“This is the best wide receiver draft I’ve seen in years,” NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said during a national conference call Tuesday.
Mayock expects several receivers to get drafted in the first round this year, and he thinks the Ravens will have a chance to get a dangerous weapon if they decide to take a receiver with their top pick.
Mayock recently released his list of top-five receiver prospects, and all but one of them could be available for Baltimore at No. 16 or 17. The Ravens’ exact draft pick will be determined this week after a coin flip with the Dallas Cowboys at the combine.
The top-five receivers for Mayock are:
- Sammy Watkins, Clemson
- Marqise Lee, USC
- Mike Evans, Texas A&M
- Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
- Jarvis Landry, LSU
The only member of that group who will definitely be off the table is Watkins, who could be a top-five pick.
“Watkins will be long gone, and then you start to get into what flavor do you like?” Mayock said. “Marqise Lee is a completely different receiver than Mike Evans or Kelvin Benjamin. I really believe when the Ravens get on the clock at No. 16 that probably one, if not two of them will be available. They bring different things to the table.”
The biggest difference between those receivers is that Lee (6-foot-0, 197 pounds) is a smaller, faster target than Evans (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and Benjamin (6-foot-5, 242 pounds).
“Lee can play inside or outside, and he’s a dangerous kickoff return guy,” Mayock said. “Evans and Benjamin are kind of today’s flavor in the NFL – those 6-foot-5, 230-pound wide receivers with the back shoulder throws , outside the numbers in the red zone.”
All three targets put up big numbers in college.
Lee had a down season in 2013, putting up 57 catches for 791 yards and four touchdowns, but he had a huge season in 2012 when he racked up 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 scores.
Evans had 69 catches for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and Benjamin had 54 catches for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“If you’re a Ravens fan, you’re going to know that at least one, if not two of those three guys will be available in that slot,” Mayock said.
Beyond the wide receivers, Mayock also views this year’s overall draft class as one of the best he has ever seen. He also pointed to offensive tackle as a deep position, and he expects the Ravens to have multiple options to get a starter in the first round.
“This is the deepest and best draft I’ve seen in the last 10 years, and that’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I’ve talked to throughout the league,” Mayock said. “I had one GM tell me the other day that having a top 20 pick this year is very similar to having a top 10 pick last year. … There is going to be somebody that gets to [the Ravens] that you say, ‘Wow, that’s a great football player.’”