It was a move we all saw coming. We all knew one way or another Joe Flacco would be wearing a different uniform in 2019. Some expected the Ravens front office to eventually cut the veteran quarterback, and some figured that some GM would come calling for Joe. And that’s exactly what happened, and that somebody was John Elway. An executive that to put nicely, hasn’t had the best luck with picking QBs.
Following the trade there was a lot of talk of Flacco having underperformed since getting his big contract following Baltimore’s Super Bowl win in New Orleans in 2013. I didn’t see one analyst bring up the front offices failures to put young winnable pieces around Flacco the last five years. Not one. Or the front offices drafting record since 2013. Aside from Steve Smith, who wasn’t young, I have a hard time believing those analysts could name just three skilled positions players that Flacco has had to throw to the last five years. It seems to be a subject that only Ravens fans seem to be aware of. In 2015 the front office passed on Stefon Diggs several times and wound up with Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams. Then in 2016 they passed on Michael Thomas three times, then followed up in 2017 by passing on Juju Smith-Schuster for Tyus Bowser. No one seems to bring up that yes, while Joe Flacco has regressed since getting his contract, he hasn’t been given the pieces to win, either.
As the Ravens front office prepares to give Lamar Jackson the keys to the kingdom, Eric Decosta must learn from Ozzie’s mistakes these last five years. This isn’t the league it was 10 years ago, its not the league it was five years ago when The Ravens beat The 49ers. You can’t win in today’s league with 30-year-old wide receivers and a real stout defense, you need young stars. Going into 2019 they’ll have a starting quarterback on a rookie deal. Something they haven’t had in a real long time. Hopefully they are prepared to take advantage of it.
Now more than ever, they a need young wide receiver with a high strike zone and high catch radius. A target their young quarterback can trust and have faith in when he throws the ball down the field. Something that currently isn’t on the roster. In 2018 the Ravens receivers had a drop rate of 11.4 percent, a stat that led the league this past season. Yet again, the receiving room needs to be redone and remodeled. John Brown will most likely be heading else where in free agency and Michael Crabtree could very likely be the next player the Ravens move on from, as his 2018 season in Baltimore was rather disappointing. Going into free agency there isn’t many marquee wide receiver names for the front office to target. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With the amount of talent coming into the league at wide out the next couple of years there isn’t any reason to spend top dollar at that position.
Looking at the 2019 NFL draft, Eric DeCosta could very well have the chance to do something in his first year that Ozzie Newsome couldn’t do in his entire tenure as Ravens GM, and that’s drafting a home-grown star wide receiver. With the likes of Kelvin Harmon, N’Keal Harry, DK Metcalf and Hakeem Butler all being potential first round receivers, one of them will be available when 22 rolls around when the Ravens are on the clock. There is even a possibility that he could have his choice of the group with the amount of defensive talent being in this year’s draft. And when that happens, we can only hope that he’s learned from Ozzie’s sins the last five years and pulls the trigger on drafting a wide out that the organization so desperately needs.