Monday, January 26, 2009

Ravens can't get it right in draft at WR

It’s been suggested on these pages and written about over and over on blogs and message boards throughout the internet – tag Terrell Suggs and trade him for Anquan Boldin.

While the Ravens covet Boldin, they do not see him on equal footing with Terrell Suggs. The Ravens’ front office believes that Suggs is a bigger difference maker than Boldin and that Boldin benefits greatly from playing opposite Larry Fitzgerald and to some extent No. 3 receiver Steve Breaston. Plus Boldin’s 4.7 speed doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of defenders and the Ravens prefer to find a No. 1 who can stretch the field.

The Ravens haven’t exactly set the standard for finding talent at WR in the draft. If anything they are closer to setting the standard for how not to find talent at the position. Since the team’s inception in 1996, the Ravens have drafted 14 wide receivers. Lamont Brightful and Derek Abney were drafted as wide receivers but were drafted primarily as return specialists and are not among these 14. Brightful played more defensive back than he played receiver and never caught a pass in the NFL as a member of the Ravens. Abney was cut during training camp the same year he was drafted (2004).

The 14 who were selected to play wide receiver (I’ve included Yamon Figurs in the 14) were chosen on average with the 117th overall draft pick – a mid-fourth round selection. The total number of catches by all 14 as members of the Ravens is 797. Comparatively speaking Marvin Harrison (selected in 1996) has 1,102 receptions, Terrell Owens (1996) has 951 and Hines Ward (1998) has 800. Harrison was a first round pick while Owens and Ward were third round choices. The Ravens in 1998 drafted Patrick Johnson in the second round with the 42nd overall pick – fifty slots ahead of Ward. PJ had 60 career catches over the course of 5 seasons with the Ravens.

Needless to say, the results are embarrassingly abysmal. The Ravens believe that their difficulties in drafting a quality wide receiver who can become a prototypical No. 1 are directly tied to the position of quarterback. Their research suggests that the high number of draft busts at the position for all teams is directly correlated to the team’s competency at the position of quarterback. Put another way, a fourth round WR going to the Colts has a much better chance of success than even an earlier WR pick going to the Chiefs.


Anonymous said...

It is the hardest position to draft for every team. It is a coin flip even on top 10 picks, and you can get a much safer player to build around most of the time.

Almost all of the top Wrs in the NFL right now were drafted in the top 3 rounds. Only a handfull of starters are second day guys, and only 30% of of 3rd rounders start eventually.

I do not think the Ravens will get a Wr who demands predictable double coverage unless they draft and develop one. They never seem to hit free agency, and trading for a guy requires the other team wants to give them up, and then you have to compensate both the team and the player. Drafting is a gamble, but the odds are right. If you hit on a big time Wr at the bottom half of the first round or 2nd, you will have much more value than if you paid top dollar for a free agent or traded away multiple picks to pay a guy who is about to become a free agent.

I also think there is too much expectations put on rookie WRs. it does not matter if you are a rookie or Marvin Harrison, Ocho Stinko or Steve Smith, stuff can happen and mess up your stats even if you have all the talent. WRs are difference makers, but are totally dependant.

I like DHB from MD, and Nicks from UNC, or someone I do not know about who is over 6 feet 2, 210 pounds, 4.4 and 40 inch vertical. A guy could come in off the street or the olympics and get drafted in the 1st round if they have the rare athletic abilty needed to become an elite WR.

Anonymous said...

it's hard to draft a wo when you haven't had a qb. it's akin to drafting a stud corner when you generate no pass is often complementary. players greatly affect each other. let's see how the ravens receivers develop now that they have joe. there are many examples of receivers who started their careers slow because of poor qb play. imo, corner and ot are much bigger concerns....anyone want to read a great article, check out "what keeps Bill Parcellls awake at night"'s on-line.

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 Jan 28
...If we cannot get the CARDS togive up Larry Fitsgerald. FUGGEDABOUDIT!
Seriously.. I would NOT go for BOULDIN! The Ravens always have "CHARTACTER PLAYERS" on our team, and recent events tell me that "Q" is not one of them.