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Expect Ravens To Draft A Receiver

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In each of the last two years, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome has called out a certain position that he expects to pick in the draft.

He said the Ravens would draft a center two years ago, and they took Gino Gradkowski in the fourth round. He expected the Ravens to draft a safety last year and they took Florida's Matt Elam with their first-round pick.

This year Newsome says the Ravens will bring a receiver to Baltimore.


"I would say based on the depth of the receivers in the draft, the number of guys that we have draftable, I think that over the eight picks it would be hard pressed for us to draft a receiver with one of those picks," Newsome said.

Adding a receiver isn't as pressing of a need as it was at the start of the offseason. The Ravens addressed the area by adding veteran Steve Smith, Sr. after he was released by the Panthers, and he is expected to start opposite Torrey Smith. Jacoby Jones also re-signed with the team after testing free agency.

But this year's draft features one of the deepest groups of receivers in recent memory, and the Ravens want to get one of those playmakers. 

"This is a receiver draft that has a lot of depth, and if that opportunity shows for us within the first four or five picks, then we would probably add," Newsome said.

"If you need a receiver, this is your year," Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta added. "You can get one receiver, two receivers, three receivers in this draft and they're all probably going to be pretty good."

While the Ravens signed Smith to a three-year contract this offseason, he is still a relatively short-term solution. Smith is on the back end of his career, and bringing in another wideout would give the Ravens a chance to groom him under the 35-year-old veteran.

Also, the Ravens want to develop second-year receivers Marlon Brown and Aaron Melllete. Brown caught 49 passes for 524 yards and seven touchdowns last year, and Melllette went on injured reserve after initially making the 53-man roster out of training camp.

"We got Marlon, and we're going to have to see how he's going to progress this year. We also have Aaron Mellette," Newsome said. "So we have two young guys, and if they were in this draft they would be somebody that we would be looking for between the third to fifth round."

It's unknown whether the Ravens will go after a pass catcher early, but the Ravens front office expects to get a quality receiver even if they wait until the third day of the draft. "I would say that's a position where you could probably draft a player in any of the seven rounds, and I think our board stacks that way," Newsome said. "If there is an opportunity for us to add another receiver, we will definitely do it based on the way our board is stacked right now."

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