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Ozzie Newsome Excited To See Wide Receiver Competition Unfold


The Ravens have a wide open competition on offense and are looking for a wide receiver to step up.

With Anquan Boldin gone, Baltimore will look to young players on the roster like Deonte Thompson, David Reed, LaQuan Williams, Tommy Streeter and Tori Gurley to make up for the lost production.

And General Manager Ozzie Newsome is excited to see the competition unfold.

"I can't wait to see when those four or five guys that I just named get their chances to play in the preseason," Newsome said.

Thompson, Reed, Williams, Streeter and Gurley will compete with Tandon Doss and Jacoby Jones for reps opposite Torrey Smith.

All of those players have been given limited opportunities in game action, but they've shown potential in practice and the preseason to give the Ravens confidence that they can step into larger roles.  

"Those young players get an opportunity to get on the field to see if they can give us the type of production that we need," Newsome said. "I like all of them. I like all of their chances of playing this year."

That confidence in the young receivers gives the Ravens flexibility heading into the draft. Rather than feeling like they have to add a wide receiver in the first few rounds, they can wait and see if a player falls to them, and then possibly address another area with their first couple picks.

"Just as in any position, could we come away with a receiver [in the draft]? We probably could," Newsome said.

Doss, Reed and Williams have the most experience out of the young receivers fighting for a spot. Doss alternated with Jones as the No. 3 wideout last year and finished the season with seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Reed had six catches for 66 yards and Williams did not record a catch last year, but hauled in four passes during his rookie season in 2011. 

Reed is a player that the coaching staff has spoken highly of on numerous occasions, and the Ravens re-signed him to a two-year deal this offseason. He was limited last season because he was recovering from a torn ACL, but the Ravens have high hopes for what he can do once he gets on the field.

"When he got the opportunity to play some more offense, he showed some quickness, he showed the ability to get open, and he made the catch when that opportunity was presented," Newsome said. "So, if he could just stay healthy and get through this offseason program, get into training camp, then I think we're all looking to see what David can do for us this year."

Thompson made the team as an undrafted free agent last season, and ended up spending the entire year on the 53-man roster. He showed big-play ability in the preseason and during training camp, which earned him a spot on the team.

Streeter, last year's sixth-round pick, is a big receiver (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) with breakaway speed. He spent last year on injured reserve following a foot injury at the end of the preseason, but the coaches liked the way he developed over the course of the season.

Gurley was signed by the Ravens in January after bouncing around between practice squads for the Packers, Vikings, Raiders, Buccaneers and Chargers over the last couple of seasons.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said that replacing Boldin will likely be a committee approach, at least initially.

And with a number of players fighting for the opportunity to stand out from that committee, the wide receiver spot is likely going to be one of the most tightly contested positions battles of training camp.

"I like competition," Harbaugh said. "As many jobs that are up for grabs, that's better for our football team. That will make us better."

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