Ravens Decision Makers Break Down Wide Receivers in Draft

Left: TCU WR Quentin Johnston/Center: Boston College WR Zay Flowers/Right: Southern California WR Jordan Addison

If the Ravens target a wide receiver with their first pick in the draft, Quentin Johnston of TCU, Zay Flowers of Boston College and Jordan Addison of USC are all possible choices.

All three have been linked to the Ravens in multiple mock drafts. General Manager Eric DeCosta, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz gave more insight into all three prospects during Wednesday's pre-draft press conference.

Flowers is the fastest of the group, with breakaway speed comparable to former Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown. Perhaps the biggest concern with Flowers is his 5-foot-9 stature, but Hortiz said Flowers has the versatility to play both outside and in the slot.

"Zay, he plays inside and out for B.C., and you see the same ability coming up to this level," Hortiz said. "He's strong, even though he's not big, and certainly, he can fly. He can put pressure on a defense quickly. And he's got outstanding hands and [trackability], so he plays bigger than his size overall, I'd say."

Harbaugh said Flowers plays bigger than his size suggests.

"Zay may be kind of short, but he's not small. He's not a little guy, plus he can accelerate," Harbaugh said.

Johnston is on the other end of the spectrum. At 6-foot-3, 216 pounds, he would give the Ravens a big-body target to step into their wide receiver rotation. However, drops were an issue for Johnston in college – something he would need to address to reach his full potential in the NFL.

Hortiz said Johnston's ability and production as a receiver justifies his first-round grade, despite his drops in college.

"When you see a receiver drop balls, you see how they're doing it," Hortiz said. "Is it tracking? Is it a hand placement issue? Is it just bad hands? Sometimes it's just [that] he's got his hands in the wrong spot? You just watch him make outstanding catches on film. You see his ability to adjust, go up and high point the ball, but he does drop some balls. 

"Most receivers do drop a ball or two, though, But he's a big, fast, physical guy. Obviously, [he] has playmaking ability outside."

Addison's 40-yard dash (4.49) at the NFL Combine wasn't overly impressive, but his route running his superb and he pulled away from cornerbacks consistently during games. In Addison, Harbaugh sees a wide receiver who plays as fast as he needs to.

"Addison at USC, you watch his stride, his ability to control his body, his balance," Harbaugh said. "What's their super-power? If your super-power's not size, there has to be one or two super powers that are going to help you be successful in this league. I don't think, Zay or Addison are off our board as quote, unquoted, undersized guys. They've got super-powers that are going to help make them successful. It's just a question of what's the best fit in our offense, are they there, and who else is there at that time." 

Holding the No. 22, the Ravens have an excellent chance to find a quality wide receiver in this year's draft should they decide to take one. If they opt to wait until the later rounds, the Ravens also like the options on the second or third day.

"I think the fans will be happy that it's a strong receiver class," DeCosta said. "We see a multitude of guys that could go in the first couple rounds. It's a great opportunity for us."

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