Fans clamoring for the Ravens to use another first-round pick on a wide receiver probably won't like this, but Mel Kiper Jr. believes quality talent can be found in later rounds.
Kiper's latest projection has LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. coming to Baltimore with pick No. 27 overall. But the ESPN draft analyst believes the Ravens could also wait to find wide receiver help because the talent at the position is so deep.
"There's a lot of good receivers in this draft, all the way around," Kiper said Monday during a conference call. "I like the wide receiver position a lot. It's the strongest position, overall, in this draft."
The Ravens have selected six wide receivers in the past three NFL drafts. That's the second-most of any team in the NFL over that span.
Under General Manager Eric DeCosta, the Ravens have taken more swings in earlier rounds. The past two years, the Ravens have used three picks in the first three rounds, including one first-rounder (Marquise Brown). Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay were both third-round picks.
Baltimore will surely add to its wide receiver corps again this offseason. The question is how many resources, in either free agency or the draft, they will commit to it.
If the Ravens don't take a wide receiver in the first round, Kiper believes they could find value on Day 2 or later to complement their young wideout corps. Here are some of the players he pointed out:
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Bateman is a big-bodied (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) wideout who consistently wins contested catches. He's had big-time production over his career, including 1,219 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore. NFL Network's Bucky Brooks said Bateman reminds him of Michael Thomas or A.J. Brown, yet Bateman is often projected as a late-first or early-second-round pick.
Josh Palmer, Tennessee
Palmer is another 6-foot-2, 210-pound wideout but didn't put up the numbers of some of his peers. He didn't top 500 yards in any of his four seasons. Part of that was because of inconsistent quarterback play. Kiper still likes his potential and named his as a potential third-round pick.
Dez Fitzpatrick, Louisville
Fitzpatrick certainly has a leg up when it comes to familiarity. As a freshman in 2017, he caught passes from Lamar Jackson and had a strong season with 45 grabs for 699 yards and nine touchdowns. After Jackson's departure, Fitzpatrick's stats dipped the following three years but were still consistently good. He has the size at 6-foot-2 and just over 200 pounds. While he probably won't be a workout champion, he's known for being a technician as a route-runner, physical as both a receiver and blocker and having great ball skills in contested situations. Fitzpatrick is considered a mid-round prospect.
Seth Williams, Auburn
He stands in at 6-foot-3, 211 pounds and posted more than 1,500 receiving yards over the past two seasons. Williams has ideal size, hands and toughness to play outside and be a problem for cornerbacks in the red zone – as his 17 touchdowns in 33 career college games indicates.
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Wallace has some of the best production numbers of any wide receiver in the class, as he averaged more than 1,100 receiving yards and scored 26 touchdowns over the past three seasons. He's 6-foot-0, 190 pounds and excelled at winning 50-50 balls in a deep passing attack. He reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at a recent EXOS pro day.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
A five-star recruit and the top-ranked player out of California in the 2018 recruiting cycle, St. Brown delivered for the Trojans. He posted 750 receiving yards as a freshman, then followed it up by topping 1,000 yards and scoring seven total touchdowns as a sophomore. He had seven touchdowns in just six games last season. His brother, Equanimeous, plays for the Green Bay Packers. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, St. Brown has good size and is very smooth with his routes, has great ball skills and can line up in a variety of different spots.
Marquez Stevenson, Houston
Stevenson is in a different mold at 5-foot-10, 182 pounds, but he's a big-time playmaker. He posted 75 catches for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. Still, his game seems to compare more to Brown's as a speed vertical threat, whereas Baltimore would seemingly look for more of a complementary piece. Kiper projected Stevenson as a third-round pick.
Kiper also mentioned South Carolina's Shi Smith, Auburn's Anthony Schwartz, Florida's Trevon Grimes, UCF's Jacob Harris and South Dakota State's Cade Johnson as mid- or late-round wide receiver prospects that he likes.