Steve Bisciotti Downplays Wide Receiver Need

Ravens fans are once again clamoring for a first-round wide receiver.

In a poll conducted during Wednesday night's conference call with PSL owners, wide receiver/tight end was the most popular pick among approximately 5,000 callers.

But Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti tossed a cold bucket of water on those embers, downplaying his team's need at wide receiver.

"We absolutely need a tight end. We do not absolutely need a wide receiver," Bisciotti said.

The Ravens owner seemed to put cornerback, pass rusher and tight end all ahead of wide receiver on the team's priority list.

Baltimore lost starter Torrey Smith in free agency to the San Francisco 49ers, but Bisciotti is confident the Ravens have possession-type receivers that can step into his starting role, and can find a similar burner in the middle rounds of the draft.

"I've got my guys very high on our wide receivers," Bisciotti said.

When the Ravens needed Marlon Brown to start as an undrafted rookie in 2013, he stepped up and played well. In 12 starts, Brown caught 50 passes for 524 yards and a rookie franchise record-tying seven touchdowns.

Brown simply fell down the wide receiver depth chart when Steve Smith Sr. was signed last year. But he still can be very productive, and showed that especially near the final stretch of last season. Brown finished with 24 catches for 255 yards and no touchdowns.

Bisciotti also said the Ravens have "a lot of confidence" that rising seventh-round sophomore Michael Campanaro can "take the next step." The slot receiver showed flashes of his knack for getting open and making tough catches.

However, groin and hamstring injuries limited him to four games, seven catches for 102 yards and one touchdown last season. Staying healthy will be of upmost importance for Campanaro this season.

Bisciotti pointed to Kamar Aiken, another strong-handed possession receiver. Aiken was on the roster bubble last summer and "got better every single practice," according to Head Coach John Harbaugh. He delivered with 24 catches for 267 yards and three touchdowns in limited playing time.

Bisciotti said he envisions Campanaro and Aiken competing with Brown to get on the field during three-wide receiver sets.

The Ravens owner did say, however, that the Ravens need "maybe one more receiver." It is a long-term need with Smith set to turn 36 years old in May. And Baltimore could use a speed merchant after Smith and Jacoby Jones departed.

For that, Bisciotti sees the third or fourth rounds as a good place to strike in this year's deep and talented wide receiver draft class. And he's taking a page from the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers have struck gold with mid-round speedy receivers in recent years. They took Mike Wallace in the third round (2009), Emmanuel Sanders in the third round (2010), Antonio Brown in the sixth round (2010), Markus Wheaton in the third round (2013) and Martavis Bryant in the fourth round (2014). All five picks were hits.

"You look at Pittsburgh that has had some wonderful success in the last five, six years in the third round down," Bisciotti said. "They might not be perfectly well-rounded wide receivers, but you can get some fliers in the third round, guys that can take the top off a defense.

"We've got a lot of really good possession receivers in Camp, Steve Smith, Aiken and Marlon. So I'm not desperate for a wideout."

Some possible second-to-fourth round speedsters in this year's draft include Ohio State's Devin Smith, USC's Nelson Agholor, Miami's Phillip Dorsett, Kansas State's Tyler Lockett, Auburn's Sammie Coates, Georgia's Chris Conley and William & Mary's Tre McBride.

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