Chris Simms: 'There's Enough Talent' at Receiver for Ravens
In yesterday’s Late for Work, Eric DeCosta's comments defending the Ravens' wide receivers sparked plenty of talk among national media.
Pundits such as ESPN's Dan Orlovsky and Mina Kimes argued the position needs to be upgraded for Baltimore to be successful.
NBC Sports' Chris Simms chimed in with a different angle, suggesting the issues aren't a lack of talent at receiver, but rather a need for collective growth in the passing game.
"I don't look at [the receivers] and go, 'Oh man, there's just such issues there. They don't have any talented guys,'" Simms said. "I think it's more as a whole all together. It's not just about lack of talent at this one position.
"... They're a running football team. That's the way they're built. They have a quarterback that has a special pair of legs, that can run around just about anyone in football. … But the passing game, forget the receivers, all of it is unproven. There's no proven commodity at all in any aspect of the passing game. That's the big thing. … All of it has to grow to make that position better."
"They do have players who are capable of playing at a high level," Mike Florio added. "But if you're not throwing them the football … because you're running the ball so effectively. You've got one ball. You've got 11 guys on the field. You've got to figure out how to get the most out of it."
Simms pointed to the potential of young receivers Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay. He also mentioned that Lamar Jackson's improvement as a thrower is a reason to believe the passing attack could improve.
It can be a complicated conversation.
"I think the big thing with Baltimore is we haven't seen them come through with the passing game in a big moment quite yet," Simms said. "That's the biggest question. I think once they start to do that a few times, that'll silence a lot of the talk around their passing game."
Trade Scenario Sends Orlando Brown Jr. to Colts
DeCosta declined talking about any ongoing discussions regarding a potential Orlando Brown Jr. trade, but that hasn't stopped pundits from speculating.
With just over a week until draft night, The Washington Post’s John Clayton looked at some potential trades that would make sense. Among them is a scenario where the Indianapolis Colts trade a second-round pick for Brown.
"This year's draft is so different, with more uncertainty among prospects because of the shortened college season and scouting process, that teams could be more likely to trade away this year's choices for picks in next year's draft," Clayton wrote. "That has been true with a few trades already.
"If Indianapolis doesn't draft a tackle and instead takes an edge rusher in the first round, it could trade for Brown, who has told the Ravens he wants to play left tackle — a job that in Baltimore belongs to Ronnie Stanley. Brown could be worth a second-round choice, which the Ravens could use to draft his replacement."
The Colts are in the market for a left tackle after long-time starter Anthony Castonzo announced his retirement. The need grew more urgent when Indianapolis traded for Carson Wentz this offseason.
Draft analysts have said this is a deep offensive tackle class, but do the Colts want to take their chances on a rookie? Brown is a proven commodity who has shown the ability to play at a high level protecting the blind side. The Colts currently have the 21st- and 54th-overall picks.
But aside from a report back in March that six teams have shown interest in Brown, it's all speculation to this point.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, who called the situation "complicated," said a team trading for Brown would have to be willing to give him a new deal. That's if they can agree on compensation in the first place.
While there's a chance Brown could be lining up at tackle for the Ravens this season, Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed believes the Ravens have some kind of contingency plan if Brown is traded.
"If they lose a Pro Bowl right tackle that can also play left tackle at a high level like Brown has proven he can do, even in a deeper than usual draft class at tackle, getting one capable of replacing a player of his caliber is going to skyrocket up their list of needs," Reed wrote. "Even for team like the Ravens who have a rich history of unearthing and developing players at every position on the offensive line, finding an immediate replacement that will have little to no drop off is easier said than done.
"It will likely require a swing at the position one day one or two whereas if Brown were to stay put, they could possibly wait until day three and take a developmental prospect that could essentially red shirt for year and be ready to start by 2022."
Three-Round Mock Draft Fills Ravens Top Needs
ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay alternated picks on a three-round mock for every team, and the Ravens saw their top needs filled.
Kiper chose the same player in the first round that he has in every mock draft this offseason, LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.
ESPN gives Marshall an 84.4 percent chance of being available at 27.
"I'm staying consistent here -- I've had Marshall to the Ravens in each of my four mock drafts -- because Jackson needs an outside threat," Kiper wrote. "Marshall was overshadowed a bit at LSU, but he can run every route."
If not receiver, edge rusher is the next biggest need for the Ravens this offseason after losing Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. McShay didn't waste any time addressing that need, mocking Wake Forest defensive end Carlos Basham Jr. to Baltimore in the second round.
Basham racked up 15 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss in his final two seasons at Wake Forest. McShay also pointed to Basham's versatility to play on the edge or interior.
To cap off the mock, McShay picked Ohio State center Josh Myers in the third round at pick 104. The Ravens have a strong track record of producing quality starting linemen in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.
"Myers would provide depth on the inside at both center and guard for an offensive line that is key to the Ravens' juggernaut running game," McShay wrote. "But like many late-Day 2 picks, he is a developmental prospect."
- Jackson was ranked as one of the best first-round picks at No. 26 or later in the last decade.