Mailbag: Could the Wide Receivers Take on More From Tight Ends?

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Left: WR Devin Duvernay; Right: WR James Proche

Downing: This is an interesting possibility for 2020. The Ravens used three tights ends more than any team in the NFL last season, but that could change after trading Hayden Hurst to Atlanta. The third tight end spot is up for grabs, and the Ravens recently signed Jerell Adams to compete with Charles Scarff and the undrafted rookie Eli Wolf and Charles Scarff for the job. Depending on what happens with the tight end competition, the Ravens may decide to lean more heavily on the young receiving corps to play a larger role.

The team has big expectations for second-year targets Hollywood Brown and Miles Boykin, and the rookies Devin Duvernay and James Proche have strong potential. Lamar Jackson has already said he expects to run less this year, so that could mean the Ravens throw the ball more and shift to more three-receiver sets. I don't expect the identity of the offense to change too much (let's not forget that the Raven has the NFL's best offense last season) but using three-receiver sets is certainly more of a possibility.

Mink: After De'Anthony Thomas opted out for this season, it's Proche's spot to lose at punt returner. The only two return specialists on the roster are Chris Moore and Willie Snead IV and I don't see either of them taking that job unless in a pinch. Moore will be among the competitors at kick returner, but I could also see that going to somebody like running back Justice Hill, who has the speed and could see a larger role on special teams given the depth at his position. Duvernay, another speedster with toughness and college experience, will also probably get a long look at kick returner. He averaged 21.1 yards per kick return at Texas.

Downing: Stone's path to the field this season is most likely as a special teamer. The Ravens have their starting safeties set with Earl Thomas III and Chuck Clark, and the defensive backfield is probably the deepest position group on the roster. Stone would really have to impress the coaches this summer to crack a defensive back rotation that includes veterans like Jimmy Smith and Anthony Levine Sr. Stone could turn out to be a really good player – Daniel Jeremiah labeled him as the best value pick of the seventh round – but he'll likely need to first carve out a role on special teams. Stone could look to follow Clark's path. Clark started as a special teamer before ultimately earning a starting job and then cashing in with a big payday this offseason.

Mink: Wolf and Adams are the top contenders for the third tight end spot. I do expect Baltimore to keep three tight ends, not including Patrick Ricard. As stated above, yes, the Ravens could rely a little more on their wide receivers but I still think they will use three tight ends. I love Ricard, and love when they throw him the ball, but I don't think he's suited to filling a Hurst-like role. I don't think Jaleel Scott is built for the blocking aspect of a tight end role. He's a leaner wide receiver.

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