The biggest question mark remaining for the Baltimore Ravens this off-season is where the production at wide receiver will come from in 2013 with the departure of Anquan Boldin. Let's examine the current receivers on the roster and where the production could come from.
First, we will get the obvious out of the way as Torrey Smith will be the undisputed number one receiver for the Ravens in 2013 and he could be set up to have his first 1,000 yard season. Smith is likely to be the most targeted receiver, and is going to get more chances than in year's past. In order for Smith to become more of a target, he will need to refine his route running and become more than just a deep threat for Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense, but obviously he is going to be the number one.
It seems like it has become a given that Jacoby Jones is going to be the number two receiver, despite just catching 30 balls last regular season for 406 yards and one touchdown and never really being a starter in his career. We saw some promise from Jones in the postseason as he had several key catches, including the Miracle at Mile High and two touchdown grabs in the Super Bowl. Jones is going to get an opportunity he has never really had in his career as a starting wide receiver, so only time will tell if he can turn into a 60 catch, 700 yard receiver, but the Ravens seem confident he can do just that.
Now the third spot, and it is going to be one of the more wide open position battles on the entire Ravens team and has no real favorite. Earlier in the week, I wrote that TE Dennis Pitta may end up being their best option for the third spot, which is normally your slot receiver, and you can read that article by clicking here. Pitta may still end up being the third receiver, which will give TE Ed Dickson a more frequent role at tight end and recently drafted Kyle Juszczyk could fill the role voided by Dickson as the number two tight end.
There is a lot of talk of Tandon Doss becoming that receiver who can make a name for himself and make an impact for this team in 2013. Doss reeled in seven grabs for 123 yards and a touchdown in 2012, but we saw him drop a few passes during the course of the season, including two in the endzone. He will certainly have to improve his route running and his hands, but could be the best option for the third spot. If he does not grab that spot, he will still be in four wide formations for Baltimore in 2013.
Aaron Mellette, drafted in the seventh round of this year's NFL Draft, has the make of a guy that could be the slot receiver in this Ravens offense. Mellete had a very impressive career at Elon, and in 45 games during his career, he totaled 304 receptions for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns. He has the ability to go up and grab passes out of the air and his route running is certainly good enough to be in the slot. His 6'2'', 217 pound frame allows him to go over the middle and take a hit, and in fact has no issue imposing a little punishment himself on defenders.
Of course, the other option for the Ravens offense is simply having a rotating door of Doss, Pitta, Mellette, Juszczyk, David Reed and even Tommy Streeter in that third spot until one of them grabs the spot and stakes claim to it. GM Ozzie Newsome could always go out and get a veteran wide receiver over the summer, much like he did with Boldin a few years back, but the time is now for one of these young guys to make a name for himself and grab a hold of a vital role in the Ravens 2013 offense.
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