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Mailbag: How Will Ravens Address Wide Receiver in the Draft Now?

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. runs after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. runs after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif.

Mink: A lot of questions this week about how the Odell Beckham Jr. addition impacts the Ravens' draft strategy at wide receiver.

I do not believe that it eliminates the possibility of a first-round wide receiver. It's a one-year deal for Beckham. Devin Duvernay is entering the final year of his contract. If projecting the roster out to 2024, the Ravens could still be very much in need of a wide receiver. Plus, I think they are very dedicated to upgrading the wide receiver room in a major way this offseason. They've already done that with the veteran additions of Beckham and Nelson Agholor, and a first-round rookie would put it over the top. With veteran starters already on the team, that player could be an X-factor wrinkle in the offense, and not come in with too much weight on their shoulders immediately. Then they could step into a starting role next year.

However, as it stands now, the addition of OBJ does move cornerback clearly ahead of wide receiver on my biggest Ravens needs list. Maybe the Ravens sign a veteran or bring back Marcus Peters before the draft to give them even more draft flexibility, but as it stands now, they clearly need to add a significant piece at that position, which makes a first-round corner seem even more likely.

I absolutely still expect that the Ravens will draft a wide receiver at some point. I think a third- or fourth-round pick (if they don't take one with their first pick) is the sweet spot. Baltimore likes this receiver class and wants to keep restocking the room with young talent. I do not expect that the Ravens will double up at wide receiver anymore. At some point, you hit your max and four spots are already locked up.

Mink: I don't think the Ravens will trade up this year. They don't have much ammunition and there's a cluster of wideouts and cornerbacks that should be available late in the first round. I think they can afford to be patient.

Now that they have OBJ, the Ravens are in an even better position trade back if they find a partner. General Manager Eric DeCosta made it known that he would love to add more picks. Still, it takes two to tango, and Baltimore will be ready to pick at 22.

If the Ravens do trade back, they could probably still grab a wide receiver or cornerback they like. Or they could address another position with a best-player-available mantra, such as a defensive lineman.

Downing: The reality is that we don't know exactly what Lamar Jackson is thinking and how the addition of Beckham impacts his desire to stay in Baltimore. But we all saw his response on social media soon after the move was announced, and it sure looks like Jacksonendorsed the move. Jackson took to Instagram to share photos of a Facetime call with Beckham, and Beckham announced the move on Instagram with a photo of his son in Jackson's jersey. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also reported this week that Jackson helped recruit Beckham to Baltimore, with the expectation that they would be teaming up together this season. Jackson and Beckham have spoken highly of each other over the years, so there is a clear respect and admiration between the two.

Downing: I don't see the Ravens making a move for running back Ezekiel Elliott. He's a been a great player in his career, but his production has declined over the last three seasons and he's coming off a career-low 876 rushing yards in 2022. The Ravens already have J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, who are both a year removed from their knee injuries and should be in store for big seasons. They also re-signed Justice Hill, who is now a year removed from his torn Achilles and provides a nice change-of-pace out of the backfield. 

The Ravens already have a crowded backfield with quality players. In looking at their current roster, it's one of the strongest and deepest positions on the team. They don't need to add a veteran like Elliott to the equation. If an injury occurred and the Ravens found themselves in need of a proven starter, then the Ravens may find themselves looking to add a veteran like they did with Kenyan Drake last season. But as of now, the running back group seems mostly set in my mind.

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