Will Third Season Be the Charm for Miles Boykin?
As noted in yesterday’s Late for Work, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown's response when asked if the Ravens need to pursue a No. 1 receiver this offseason was that he was confident in every receiver the team already has.
One of them is Miles Boykin, who, like Brown, is entering his third season. Could Boykin make a big leap in 2021 and become a key contributor as the Ravens look to improve the passing attack?
Ebony Bird’s Darin McCann contends that the possibility shouldn't be dismissed despite Boykin's modest statistics his first two seasons (32 catches for 464 yards and seven touchdowns).
"We all have seen his effort in blocking, as well as the videos of his offseason work last season, so we can safely assume (as much as one can from the outside looking in) that he's a hard worker," McCann wrote. "Throw in what we believe will be a 'normal' offseason this year, and there is reason for some optimism."
McCann noted that NFL wide receivers often make significant gains in production in their third season. One such example is Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen, who had a combined 20 catches for 281 yards and one touchdown in his first two seasons before jumping to 69 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns the following year.
McCann said the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Boykin has the athleticism and skills to follow a similar path.
Things didn't start to click for Boykin at Notre Dame until his third season, when he had 59 catches for 872 yards and eight touchdowns after combining for 18 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns his first two seasons.
McCann wrote that the Ravens acquiring a "star receiver" would be nice, but it's not a necessity if players such as Boykin step up.
"What if the Ravens already have a talented guy who can fill that position, and focusing on his development could allow them to fix and strengthen the offensive line (a gigantic priority), while adding pass-rush help and other, maybe less-significant, contributors?" McCann wrote.
"If the Ravens are in love with a receiver in the draft who falls to them, then by all means sweep him up without thinking. The same goes for a free agent they believe can truly change their fortunes. But let's not throw out a talented, hard-working Miles Boykin because he hasn't taken the league by storm in his first two years in the league."
Another young receiver who could be more of a factor this season is Devin Duvernay, a third-round pick last year.
"He obviously flashed at times as a rookie, and a normal offseason should help in a lot of ways," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens were generally pleased with what they got from him even though he seemed to hit a wall in the second half of the season, and that probably affected his playing time.
"As the Ravens have acknowledged many times, playing wide receiver for them isn't easy. It's a big-time adjustment for the younger guys. Duvernay will be one of the guys who I'd predict to take a significant step forward next season."
Todd McShay Mocks LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr. to Ravens
LSU wide receiver prospect Terrace Marshall Jr. is becoming a popular pick for the Ravens by prominent draft experts.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Ravens selecting Marshall with the 27th-overall pick in his latest mock draft. His colleague, Mel Kiper, sent Marshall to the Ravens in both of his mock drafts thus far.
"Adding a guy like Marshall, who can make catches in traffic and create after the catch, might help quarterback Lamar Jackson return to MVP form and balance an offense that was the only one in the NFL to run more than it passed in 2020," McShay wrote.
Marshall had 48 catches for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games for LSU last season. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Marshall would complement the speedy Brown and give Jackson a big target on the outside.
Tyreek Hill Goes to Ravens in NFL.com's 2016 Re-Draft
The Kansas City Chiefs ended up getting a steal when they drafted wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the fifth round in 2016. He went much higher in NFL.com’s Adam Rank’s 2016 re-draft: to the Ravens with the sixth-overall pick.
"The Ravens originally nabbed Ronnie Stanley at No. 6. And he's turned out to be a really good pro player, earning All-Pro honors in 2019. I wouldn't even mind if Baltimore used this pick on Stanley again," Rank wrote. "The Ravens always seem to lack an abundance of playmakers, though. Yes, they had future Hall of Famer Steve Smith in 2016, but he was in the final year of his career. I think selfishly I just want to see those two receivers paired together to see what they could do."
The Ravens know firsthand what the speedy Hill can do. In two games against the Ravens, Hill had 13 catches for 246 yards and a touchdown, including an unforgettable reception on an incredible throw by Patrick Mahomes on fourth-and-9 in the final 90 seconds of regulation in a game the Chiefs won in overtime.
In Rank's do-over, Stanley went to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7 overall, while outside linebacker Matthew Judon, who the Ravens selected in the fifth round, went to Kansas City with the 28th-overall pick.
On a sidenote, Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner identified every team's best draft decision in the past five years. If you guessed he went with the obvious choice of the Ravens selecting Jackson with the 32nd-overall pick, you'd be correct.
"While the Ravens were technically one of the teams that passed on him, Jackson's fall on draft day was the hot topic of conversation until the Ravens leapt back up to secure him with the last pick in the first round," Renner wrote. "The rest is history, with Jackson taking home MVP honors in Year 2."
- Free-agent wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. is a good fit for the Ravens, NFL.com’s Marc Sessler wrote.