One of Lamar Jackson’s favorite college targets would love a reunion in the NFL.
Wide receiver Jaylen Smith and Jackson were a dynamic combination at Louisville, combining for 13 touchdowns over the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
The Ravens are looking to put weapons around Jackson this offseason, and Smith is a potential Day 3 draft pick who put his talents on display for Ravens scouts and coaches last week at the Senior Bowl.
Asked whether it would be exciting to play on the same team as Jackson once again, Smith said, “Absolutely!”
“That’s my boy! We’ve been boys since before we went together,” Smith said.
Smith is a 6-foot-4, 223-pound receiver who had his best years with Jackson throwing to him. In 2017, he posted 60 catches for 980 yards and seven touchdowns.
Smith debated declaring for the draft as a junior after that breakout season, but opted to return. That didn’t work out so well.
A preseason emergency appendectomy kept him off the field for a month and not at full strength when the season started. Then Louisville’s quarterbacks struggled, and rotated throughout the season, which hurt the connection with the team’s wide receivers.
Smith posted just 36 catches for 550 yards and one score as senior. After hoping to push himself into the first two rounds, Smith’s stock likely dropped, but that could present a bargain opportunity.
“I’m open to any and every team that’s willing to give me a chance. I’m not here to pick-and-choose teams; I know it doesn’t work like that,” Smith said. “If given the opportunity, teams are going to get a hard-working receiver.”
With the futures of John Brown and Michael Crabtree in doubt, the Ravens may be re-tooling their wide receiver corps for a second straight year, and they’ll obviously be looking for fits with Jackson.
They could look more toward the draft, as it remains to be seen how much desire free agent wide receivers will have to come play in Baltimore, which will have an offense based more heavily than other teams around the run. Receivers want to catch the ball, first and foremost.
On the flip side, Jackson has magnetic talent and personality, and players at all positions want to pair up with other talented players. On Friday, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he thinks Jackson will help bring in free agents.
“I think a lot of players are going to want to play with a quarterback like Lamar,” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to seeing if it helps us. I know the guys that are here do. I know the guys that are here, the guys that are pending free agents and restricted free agents and those guys, they want to stay.”
Richie Bradshaw contributed to this story.