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Ravens Not Done Adding Players To Address Remaining Needs


After going through draft weekend without selecting an offensive skill player, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome fielded several questions from reporters about how he planned to address needs remaining on the roster.

That's when he reminded media and fans of what he often says at* *this time of the year: "We are not done acquiring players."

The Ravens shored up holes at cornerback, pass rusher and on the offensive line, but they still have needs at wide receiver and inside linebacker, and Newsome believes the Ravens will be able to fill those before opening the season in Cincinnati Sept. 10.

"You know there are going to be players that are going to be released after the draft," Newsome said. "There are going to be players that are going to be released in training camp. We are not done. The draft is a big part of it, and we are not done with the 53-man squad that we are going to play with when we open up against Cincinnati."

Newsome has a strong track record of finding good players at a discount late in the process.

Players like left tackle Bryant McKinnie, linebacker Daryl Smith and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh were all signed well after the draft and ended up playing significant roles in that season. Even last year, the Ravens signed offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse a month into the season and he went on to start the final eight games.

The most glaring need is at wide receiver, as the Ravens must replace Steve Smith Sr. after his retirement this offseason. They also lost Kamar Aiken in free agency, who led the team in receiving yards two years ago.

Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are in line to be the team's starters, but the Ravens are still in the market for the "complementary receiver" that Newsome has said he wants to add this offseason.

"Am I going to be spending between now and up until we play Cincinnati to continue to improve the football team and try to get an additional wide receiver? Yes," Newsome said. "We will continue to work to get that done."

The most popular suggestion for addressing wide receiver is to sign veteran Anquan Boldin. The former Raven has said he wants to play his 15th NFL season, and Head Coach John Harbaugh said in March that "of course" he is open to a reunion.

Boldin spent last season with the Detroit Lions, catching 67 passes for 584 yards and eight touchdowns. The veteran receiver played a massive role in Baltimore's run to Super Bowl XLVII, and he would give the Ravens another element to their offense. He's a sure-handed target who can move the chains by making contested catches, which would complement the speedsters Wallace and Perriman.

It's unknown whether Boldin would be open to re-joining the Ravens, or what kind of salary he will command. If the Ravens were to sign Boldin, or any other unrestricted free agent receiver, that move likely won't happen until after May 9 when it no longer counts against the compensatory pick formula.

Newsome also said that the player he's trying to find could already be on the roster. He pointed to the way Zachary Orr stepped up at inside linebacker last year as an example of how teams don't always need to look outside to fill holes on the roster.

"We have got to give our own players every opportunity," Newsome said. "That is what John and his staff do: give them every opportunity to compete and win jobs before we just start scouring the waiver wire or do things."

The Ravens have young receivers like Michael Campanaro and last year's fourth-round pick Chris Moore, and they could develop into quality targets for quarterback Joe Flacco. Campanaro has proven to be a threat when he's on the field and the Ravens were very high on Moore coming out of college.

The coaches will get a chance to see them on the field during offseason practices over the next six weeks, and that will give them a better idea of what they have in-house, and whether they need to turn to the free-agent market.

"Hey, guys make a jump from Year One to Year Two, so some of our skill people may be able to do that," Newsome said. "But, like I said before, we're still out there hunting. As a group, we're still hunting."

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