Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Ravens struggle mightily drafting receivers
By James Walker
Consider it one of the biggest draft mysteries in the AFC North.
The Baltimore Ravens deservedly have a reputation as one of the NFL's top drafting teams. But they also may be the league's worst at drafting wide receivers.
How bad is Baltimore's track record at the position?
Consider this: Since the beginning of the franchise in 1996, the Ravens have selected 16 wide receivers and none have had a 1,000-yard season in Baltimore. Only Brandon Stokley, a former fourth-round pick of the Ravens in 1999, had a 1,000-yard season in his career with the Indianapolis Colts in 2004.
For every draft success like linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, the Ravens also have busts at receiver like Travis Taylor and Mark Clayton. Receivers Yamon Figurs, Demetrius Williams, Devard Darling and Pat Johnson were all drafted by Baltimore with high hopes but flamed out. The most successful receivers in Baltimore have been veteran free agents such as Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin.
It's baffling how mightily Baltimore struggles drafting receivers, especially since the team is so good at finding talent at other positions. Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, one of the best in the business, has drafted Pro Bowlers at running back, tight end, linebacker, safety, cornerback and the offensive and defensive lines. Yet, somehow, Baltimore continues to strike out at receiver.
With the Ravens searching for a speedy deep threat to complement Mason and Boldin, can they finally hit a home run in this year's draft?