Who Will Be a Better NFL Receiver: Calvin Ridley or D.J. Moore?
Ooooooh, this is close.
It won't make Maryland fans happy, but the short answer is Alabama's Calvin Ridley still edges out D.J. Moore as the top-ranked receiver in the draft, even after the Terrapin's stock exploded with an outstanding NFL Scouting Combine performance.
Moore didn't make Jeremiah's top-50 draft prospect rankings before the Combine, but now he's No. 46. That makes Moore the analyst's third-ranked receiver, sitting only behind Texas A&M's Christian Kirk (No. 29) and Ridley (No. 22).
Meanwhile, Brugler already had Moore on his pre-Combine top-50 list at No. 30 because of his impressive tape, and now he's moved up to No. 23. Moore was Brugler's second-ranked wide receiver before the Combine and still remains there with Ridley listed at No. 11 overall.
Here's the thing though: there's so little discernable difference between these top receivers that Jeremiah concedes Ridley's top spot is precarious.
"I won't be surprised if Moore ends up being the best receiver in this draft class," Jeremiah wrote.
6-foot-1, 189 pounds
6-foot-0, 210 pounds
Thick, muscled up
Ability to separate with exceptional route-running and play speed; stretches field; experience in pro-style offense
Ability to pick up yards after catch by breaking tackles and with elusiveness; competiviness and toughness; size-speed combination
Lack of build and body strength; easily impeded by contact from press corners; age (23)
Size limitations; production based on simple throws and routes at Maryland; route-running not polished
Praised by coaches for preparation, mentality and energy
Universally praised by coaches and teammates; strong work ethic
45.1-yard average on deep catches; averaged 6.2 YAC per reception
Forced 39 missed tackles on 146 receptions
Steve Smith Sr.
Late first round/early second round
The bottom line is either would be a welcomed addition to the Ravens offense. The expectation for both would be to become an immediate complementary piece. Per scouting reports, the projected ceiling for both Ridley and Moore is to be a high-end No. 2 NFL wide receiver.
The more popular notion among fans is for the Ravens to trade back to stockpile picks and select Moore in the 20s for better value. Ridley likely won't last that long, and Moore isn't expected to make it to Baltimore at No. 52 in Round 2. However, trading is easier said than done, as we explored yesterday.
So, would No. 16 be too high for Moore?
Ravens Continue to Show Interest in Jarvis Landry … What's With the 'Just a Slot Receiver' Talk?
Our daily Jarvis Landry watch continues.
It appears the Ravens' interest in the uber-productive and ultra-durable receiver hasn't subsided.
Landry officially signed his $15.8 million franchise tag Thursday, a formality that now allows the Miami Dolphins to trade him. Landry's contract puts Miami $19 million over the cap limit, which they will have to balance in the next six days before the new league year starts on March 14.
"It is believed that the Dolphins are targeting a trade that would equate to the value of a second-round draft pick," wrote the Sun Sentinal's Omar Kelly. The Dolphins probably could've gotten a compensatory third-rounder by letting Landry walk via free agency.
"The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears are two teams that have reportedly expressed interest in trading for Landry," Kelly added. "However, the Ravens lack the cap space (a little under $5 million) to make a deal unless it also involves other players."
Landry is said to want a contract in the neighborhood of the four-year, $58 million deal that the Green Bay Packers gave Davante Adams last December. It paid Adams an $18 million signing bonus and will give him $32 million in the deal's first two seasons, which is spread over the lifetime of the contract. Adams' $14.5 million average annual salary will make him the fourth-highest paid receiver this season.
It's fair to not want to spend so much money on Landry, but the knock for being "just a slot receiver" is a bit overblown.
Landry isn't only a slot receiver, although it's true that more than half of his receptions (68 of 112) came from that alignment last year, according to PFF. He also scored five of his nine touchdowns from the slot.
But what does it matter whether he scored touchdowns (his nine tied for third among all NFL receivers) from the inside or outside? Do they count any less? Production is production.
"It used to be a knock on a wide receiver," wrote PFF's Steve Palazzolo. "Putting him in the slot was like saying he was not good enough to beat the best cornerbacks in the league. …Times have changed in the NFL and the slot has evolved into a premium position."
"The slot receiver position has never been a bigger part of the game than it is in today's NFL," added PFF's Bryson Vesnaver. "Gone are the days of strictly two-receiver sets with a tight end who was there to block more than to catch passes. With offenses as spread out as they are today, quarterbacks need that reliable slot receiver who they know is going to work the middle of the field and pick up the tough yards. It's rare to find a successful passing offense today without a solid slot receiver involved."
Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins Are Candidates to Sign One-Year 'Prove-It' Deals
In a free agency "mega guide," ESPN's Kevin Seifert and Dan Graziano pegged the Jacksonville Jaguars' Allen Robinson and L.A. Rams' Sammy Watkins as some of the most likely players to get one-year "prove-it" deals.
That might sound unusual because they are two of the highest-rated receivers scheduled to hit the market, but it makes sense when you consider what wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey and the Philadelphia Eagles did last year.
Jeffrey wasn't getting the long-term deal he desired after putting up a little over 800 yards in both 2015 and 16, so he signed a one-year deal worth up to $14 million with the Eagles. But $4.5 million of that was incentives that, if met, didn't count against the cap until the next year.
"[Robinson's] résumé makes him one of the top two wideouts on the market, but he's coming off a season lost to a Week 1 torn ACL," Graziano wrote. "Robinson could find himself following the 2017 Alshon Jeffery model. [Jeffrey] got his extension from Philly late in the season, and obviously things worked out well there for everyone.
"[Watson is the] same case as Robinson, but probably at a higher number. Watkins didn't put up big numbers in the Rams offense but is still viewed by many as a top talent."
If the Ravens are interested in Robinson or Watkins, would they be able to create enough room for a one-year deal that could cost up to $9.5 million against the cap? With long-term deals, they can backload cap hits.
What's up With Darren Waller?
Fans are asking about the status of tight end Darren Waller, who was suspended the entire 2018 season for his second violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy in as many years.
"The drug program is confidential per the collective bargaining agreement, so I don't have a lot of answers," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "However, I do know the situation isn't really in the Ravens' hands. Waller will have to apply for reinstatement by an undisclosed date and the league will then decide whether it will reinstate him."
The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Georgia Tech product converted from wide receiver to tight end, and showed potential at the new position. But the Ravens were forced to move forward with Benjamin Watson, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle last year, and Baltimore is expected to be active in the tight end free agent market and draft.
"Essentially, the team is in wait-and-see mode," wrote Zrebiec. "The Ravens are not counting on him at all, but if Waller was reinstated, it seems like they'd be inclined to at least give him a look over the summer."
Brent Urban Contract $1 Million Base Salary
The numbers came in for defensive end Brent Urban's contact, and he will count $1.1 million against the cap this season with a $1 million base salary and a $100,000 signing bonus, according to Zrebiec.
Urban can add more than another $1 million by meeting unspecified incentives, as the contract is worth up to $2.35 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Those are very good cap numbers for a player that could be the Ravens' starting defensive end if he stays healthy this season. That's something he hasn't accomplished in three of his four NFL years.
"Assuming he's ready for the start of training camp in July, Urban will be the favorite to be the Ravens' starting defensive end," wrote Zrebiec.
- Running back Le'Veon Bell on whether he will sit out the season if he can't strike a long-term deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers after receiving the franchise tag: "Honestly, no, I'm not going to sit out. I'm going to be in the facility Week 1. It's going to be a rerun of last year. I'm not going to [training] camp. I'm not doing nothing else extra, OTAs, none of that. ... I'm going to strictly go to what I have to go to. I want to win every game. I want to have the best statistical career that I possibly can, so I want to play in every game that I can possibly play." [ESPN]