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Late for Work 2/27: Must Ravens Draft a Wide Receiver in the First Round?


Is It a Must That Ravens Draft a Wide Receiver in First Round?

With Michael Crabtree being released earlier this week and John Brown an impending free agent, the Ravens are in rebuilding mode at the wide receiver position – again. Now the question becomes how the team addresses the situation.

Adam Bonaccorsi of Russell Street Report doesn't see a good fit for the Ravens in free agency and believes the team has pigeonholed itself into having to select a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. The Ravens have the No. 22 pick, and then don't pick again until the third round.

"I'm not saying it's an awful situation, but having such a dire need with absolutely no alternative in place is going to create issues," Bonaccorsi wrote. "Should other teams notice the need and have a similar need at wideout? We'll start seeing teams jump Baltimore to take the coveted receivers, possibly pushing Baltimore down to a lesser receiver at 22 than they could've had with a better core in place prior to the draft.

"It also means the Ravens have gone from a position of being able to trade down and add more draft capital in a year they have a slew of needs … to being stuck at 22 or risking giving their second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson a group of wideouts that's arguably worse than we've seen since the pre-[John Harbaugh] days in Baltimore – or at least since 2013."

Bonaccorsi doesn't think that trading back to gain picks and select a receiver in the second round is the answer.

"At that point, you're likely looking at taking WR5-7 if you go this route," he wrote. "D.K. Metcalf is gone. N'Keal Harry is gone. Kelvin Harmon is gone. A.J. Brown is gone. The Ravens would likely be banking on Hollywood Brown coming off an injury, Riley Ridley, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. … Nothing about their games screams 'sure-shot starter' for me, and all come with a certain level of inherent risk."

Luke Jones of WNST also believes the Ravens need to make wide receiver a priority in the draft.

"While they've found some success — and duds — signing past-their-prime receivers at a discount, this new era for the organization signals the need for a long-term answer or two," he wrote.

Jones said there's no better way for Eric DeCosta to make his mark as the new general manager than by putting an end to the team's well-documented lack of draft success at wide receiver.

Given the fact that DeCosta worked closely with previous General Manager Ozzie Newsome for years and was largely in charge of setting the Ravens' draft board as his assistant general manager from 2012-2018, however, Jones wonders if the team's approach will actually change.

"DeCosta surely didn't agree with every move made by [Newsome] over the years, but it would be just as naive to assume he was opposed to every misstep ultimately taken at the wide receiver position," Jones wrote. "Considering the Ravens have selected just one wide receiver — Breshad Perriman — in the first three rounds of the last seven drafts despite the position being an annual concern, how do you explain away DeCosta's responsibility knowing the draft has long been his baby?"

If the Ravens are looking for a little outside consultation, former Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. listed 10 receivers he's most excited to watch at this week's Combine. They aren't necessarily his favorite wideouts in the draft, but ones that have "piqued my interest."

Ravens Reportedly Interested in Bringing Back Suggs, But Could He Go to New England?

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs will play this year in what would be his 17th NFL season, and the team is interested in bringing him back, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

That Suggs is returning is expected, as he said in January that he would play somewhere in 2019. He also made it clear that he wants to remain in Baltimore.

"I would love to be a Raven for life," he said last month. "I'm healthy. I feel like I've still got some juice in the tank. It's up to them. We'll have to see what happens. It's a long time between here and March. Hopefully we can work it out, but if not, I'm going to be lining up for somebody next year."

It will be a weird sight for Ravens fans if Suggs ends up wearing another team's jersey next season, but weird wouldn't begin to cover it if the jersey is nautical blue. During the "Around The NFL" podcast earlier this week, co-host Gregg Rosenthal said that "T-Sizzle" would be a good fit for the New England Patriots.

"I could see him being on the Patriots," said Rosenthal, who ranks Suggs at No. 48 on his list of the NFL's top 101 free agents. "He's exactly the type of guy the Patriots would go get for one more year."

Suggs and longtime rival Tom Brady on the same side? I suppose stranger things have happened. It's just that I can't think of any at the moment.

A Tale of Two Game Show Appearances

The recent news that Lamar Jackson will appear on an episode of "Celebrity Family Feud" on ABC this summer gives us an excuse to revisit some past game show appearance by Ravens figures.

In 2015, Suggs appeared on "Celebrity Family Feud" and put on an All-Pro performance to help the AFC defeat the NFC. He beat then-San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis to the buzzer -- hitting the buzzer so hard that he nearly destroyed it -- and gave the No. 1 answer (son) to the question, "Something a man might name after himself."

Suggs also excelled in the fast money round, teaming with New York Jets center Nick Mangold to earn $25,000 for the Players Assistance Foundation.

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick didn't fare nearly as well in his now legendary appearance as a contestant on "Match Game PM" in 1977.

Sporting a full head of hair and a snazzy brown leather jacket, Billick was just beginning his coaching career as an assistant with the University of Redlands. Not only was he defeated, he didn't get a single match with the panel of celebrities that included Brett Somers (who openly flirted with the 23-year-old Billick), Charles Nelson Reilly and Fannie Flagg.

In other words, survey says: Suggs balled so hard on "Celebrity Family Feud," but Billick blanked so hard on "Match Game."

Quick Hits

  • NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah feels strongly that the Ravens will trade down from No. 22, but if they don't, he thinks Michigan linebacker Devin Bush would be a good fit for them, "particularly if the club loses C.J. Mosley in free agency."
  • The Cincinnati Bengals are shopping wide receiver John Ross after just two seasons with the team, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Drafted ninth overall in 2017 after recording a record-breaking 4.22 40-yard-dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ross missed all but three games in his rookie season due to injury and did not have a reception. He had 21 catches for 210 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games last season.

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