With the recent acquisition of Willie Snead, the Ravens’ receiving corp can arguably be declared officially “revamped.” The 25 year-old slot specialist will join fellow free agent signings, Michael Crabtree and John Brown, to form one of the best receiving corps the team has seen since the 2012-2013 Superbowl season. Snead is a possession receiver, who’s addition will add a dependable layer to what should be a well-improved offense compared to a year ago. His signing couldn’t have come at a better time for the team.
The 2018 NFL draft starts tomorrow on April 26th, and the addition of Snead fills one of the team’s most glaring holes. That’s not to say that we won’t select any wide receivers in the draft, because I still believe that we will, but it takes us out of desperation mode and gives the front office a lot more flexibility in their selection process. Ozzie and company regularly preach a “best player available” philosophy, and adding Snead to the roster should allow them to better execute that strategy.
Regardless of what was said to the media, the Ravens’ brass had to feel at least a little bit pressured to draft a wide receiver early. If they were to select any other position there would be an outcry from many fans, especially if there was a run on wide receivers before our second pick. Most experts either had the team trading back and hoping for the best, or flat out reaching for whatever wide receiver we deemed worthy of the selection. Now, we’re more of a wild card, and can likely land more value than we could before.
Wide receiver was a glaring need, but it wasn’t the only one. Tight end, center, tackle, and depth/future replacements at linebacker and safety are all still needs. If a guy like Mike McGlinchey, Derwin James, Tremaine Edmunds, or Raquon Smith falls to us at 16, we can safely pull the trigger and know that we’re adding a key contributor to the team without hurting the receiver position.
This signing also allows us to draft a receiver in the later rounds to learn and develop behind the starters we currently have in place. Picking up a talented guy like Michael Gallup in the 3rd (if he falls) could provide tremendous upside without the pressure of immediate results. The transition to the NFL has proven to be difficult for the position, so giving a mid to late round guy a chance to develop over time could do a lot for his confidence and development.
The signing of Willie Snead, on paper, gives the Ravens a potent passing attack and should provide flexibility in the draft. We will no longer be Calvin Ridley/DJ Moore or bust, and have a chance to address other needs on either side of the ball. We currently have three dependable receivers on the roster followed by a bunch of question marks, so it may not be a bad idea to add more pass catchers in the draft, but we’re currently in a good place to truly select the best player available in every round.