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What Really Matters In Ravens' Next Receiver

Posted Jan 23, 2014

Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz says to forget size and speed. One quality supersedes all the rest.

At the Ravens’ season-ending press conference, General Manager Ozzie Newsome said they needed a wide receiver or tight end who “can make a third-and-7 or third-and-8 catch and run some after the catch.”

He said he is sure the Ravens can get him, whether in the draft or free agency. But Newsome didn’t share more about what type of player that exactly is.

Is he big? Is he small? Is he a burner? What is he?

Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz elaborated a little bit while at the Senior Bowl.

“Forget about his size, forget about his speed,” Hortiz said. “Can he make the play?”

The Ravens lost a playmaker in wide receiver Anquan Bodlin last offseason. He wasn’t the fastest guy, but he knew how to get open and make tough plays when Baltimore needed them, time and time again. As Head Coach John Harbaugh said, they were never able to replace Boldin.

Baltimore also missed tight end Dennis Pitta, a reliable third-down target, for much of the season due to his hip injury. Now Pitta is an unrestricted free agent.

So the Ravens may need to find one, or possibly two, players to help quarterback Joe Flacco in the passing game.

“We want the guy that can make the play on third down, that understands how to get open against zone, who understands gaps in the zone, can settle in it and influence guys,” Hortiz said. “If it’s man, he can win in one-on-one situations. If somebody presses him, it’s going to be a risk.

“In football, it’s about gaining that initial separation, especially in those situations in third-and-7 because you’re shooting for the first down and not the end zone. They need to be able to get separation to give Joe a window to throw to. He can be eight yards away or a half-yard away, but he has to create a window for Joe and makes the play.”

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