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Mailbag: Should the Ravens Add a Veteran Wide Receiver?

Free agent Will Fuller
Free agent Will Fuller

Mink: I don't think there's a huge need at wide receiver. For the past two years, I've been banging the drum to see more of Devin Duvernay. Whenever the guy has gotten opportunities, he's made the most of them. So if the Ravens go out and grab one of the top free agents available, that's taking snaps off Duvernay's plate – snaps I think he's earned at this point. I feel the same way about James Proche, who also began to emerge last season. We can't keep saying the Ravens don't draft and develop wide receivers well if we don't let them develop.

On the other hand, more insurance is always a good thing and Baltimore could use another speedster to help stretch the field and offset the loss of Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. If the Ravens can add a moderately-priced veteran threat, whether that be via free agency or trading a Day 3 pick next year, I'd be interested. That way, it's not a high-volume veteran coming in to take a ton of snaps off Duvernay, Proche and Tylan Wallace's plate, but more of a complimentary weapon who is capable of more in case of injury. Free agent Will Fuller, who has been injury prone but productive when on the field, would be an interesting target. He can fly.

Downing: The Ravens will be creative with how they deploy Hamilton on this defense. Safety wasn't an immediate need going into the draft, but Hamilton was just too good of a player to pass up at No. 14. His size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) gives him the ability to play down at the line of scrimmage to help shut down the run game, in addition to his ability as a ball hawk over the middle of the field. The Ravens already used three safeties at times last year with Brandon Stephens in a rover-type role, and now they can do even more of that with Hamilton, Chuck Clark and Marcus Williams. Head Coach John Harbaugh even said during Hamilton's introductory press conference they may find a way to get four safeties on the field at once. "We can play the extra safety at nickel, we can play safety at dime. We can play them at MIKE. All of those guys are going to be on the field, for sure," he said.

The Ravens find ways to get their best players on the field and build the scheme to fit them. That's what new Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald did during his time at Michigan. He helped David Ojabo and Aiden Hutchinson blossom last year by building the scheme to fit their strengths, and he'll do the same thing in Baltimore with Hamilton and the secondary. Part of the attraction with Hamilton is that he can move all around the defense. The Ravens can use that to their advantage, especially considering they already have Williams and Clark as veterans on the back end. Much of today's game is predicated on position-less football, and Hamilton is the ideal player for that type of game.

Mink: Tough call because there were a lot of steals. Getting Hamilton at No. 14 despite him being a top-five talent is obviously a coup, but I'm going to go with defensive tackle Travis Jones in the third round. This is a player that some insiders thought could sneak into the end of the first round. I thought for sure he would go in the second, and probably wouldn't last until the Ravens' 45th pick then.

The Ravens drafted Brandon Williams in the third round in 2013. He played nine seasons in Baltimore with eight as a starter. If Jones, who might have even more pass-rush potential than Williams, can carve out that kind of career with the Ravens, he's a huge steal.

Downing: Sure, that is certainly a factor. Sam Koch has been a great punter and holder throughout his career, and Justin Tucker would be the first to say that Koch has been instrumental in his success. Koch could snag a snap in rain, snow or wind, and he made the job look easy. The chemistry he has with Tucker is also impossible to replicate, as the two are good friends on and off the field.

But this is similar to what the Ravens did last season with long snapper Morgan Cox. He was also an integral piece of the kicking game and a respected player in the locker room, but the Ravens opted to pass the torch to Nick Moore. Cox signed with the Tennessee Titans and showed he could still snap at a high level, and Moore stepped right in for the Ravens without issue. It's always difficult to part ways with a longtime player who is so respected, and Koch absolutely can still punt in the NFL. Koch could retire or follow a similar path to Cox and go punt at a high level for another team. But the Ravens are confident in Jordan Stout. He was the highest-rated punter on their board and they didn't want to risk losing him. They would not have used a fourth-round pick on a punter if they didn't think he could handle the holding responsibilities, and the hope is that it will be a seamless transition as he steps into the role.

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