Throughout Ravens history, drafting well at the wide receiver position has been simultaneously sought after and elusive. For all their success, the Ravens have been unable to consistently draft successful wideouts. This baffling trend goes all the way back to when the franchise began. 

The Baltimore Ravens have been in existence for 27 years, and subsequently, have been involved in 27 NFL Drafts. In those 27 drafts, the club has drafted 32 wide receivers—far and away their most-drafted position. Of those players, who has had the most successful pro career? 

Brandon Stokley. Drafted in 1999 from Louisiana, Stokley ranks 2nd all-time in receptions and receiving yards and 3rd all-time in receiving touchdowns among players drafted by Baltimore. Yes, he didn’t spend his entire career here, but it speaks to the Ravens’ ability to scout players at this position and their longevity. That’s why you draft players—to help you now and in the future. 

Currently, the Ravens hold the No. 22 overall pick in this year’s draft. Five times in the past they’ve spent their first pick on a wide receiver: Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton, Breshad Perriman, Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman. All of those players have had some issue they struggled with that prevented them from realizing their potential in purple and black.  

Due to the current roster need and lack of draft picks, it’s all the more imperative the Ravens take a top wide receiver early and don’t miss. That’s not a secret. What may be up for debate is who the Ravens will take. 

To figure that out, you need to know where they will draft. I can’t see them trading up, as doing so would over-leverage their future draft capital. Staying put may not be the best choice, either. With only five picks this year, they can stay at 22 and trade back later, but earlier picks carry the most enticing draft value for other teams. 

So, in all likelihood, when forecasting who Baltimore could take with their first pick, you’re looking at which wide receiver will available in the early-to-mid-20’s.  

The first name off on my board in this situation is USC’s Jordan Addison. My favorite receiver in this draft is Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but I believe he will be gone before the Ravens are on the clock. Addison, though, is choice 1A. Formerly of Tuscarora High School, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Southern California, Addison makes his case for the NFL after a wildly productive college career. 

In 2021, he caught 100 passes and won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s best receiver. Last season, he caught 59 passes, but sustained a per-catch average (14.8). Altogether, Addison averaged 73 receptions for 1,045 yards (14.3 yards per) and totaled 29 receiving touchdowns in his three collegiate seasons. He also averaged 7.6 yards per rush in that same time. 

To me, his best strength is his route running. He’s dependable, explosive, and competitive; very much what Ravens scouts look for. Adding him to a receiving core that has a healthy Rashod Bateman (who’s also a very good route runner) is something Ravens fans should be excited about. 

Perhaps Addison’s most underrated attribute is his balance. Although he’s not the biggest player on the field, he plays with impressive core strength. 

It’s apparent Addison is a system fit and has a fair chance to be on the board when the Ravens are on the clock. Exactly how he would fit in Todd Monken’s system is not yet known, but I have to think, even in his rookie season, Addison would be a difference-maker in Baltimore. 

The only remaining question, in my opinion, is how many targets Addison would get in a given game. 

Last season, the Ravens threw the ball 48 percent of the time (488 pass attempts). Going by that same amount of total plays, but assuming the play calling is 50-50, that would mean they’d throw 507 passes in 2023. 

After Mark Andrews, the unquestioned leader among Baltimore receivers, the next leader was Demarcus Robinson. He caught 48 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns. Though Bateman is assumed to be returning to full health this season, adding Addison would certainly infuse this passing offense with, if nothing else, confidence. 

Regarding specific stat projections, and assuming Lamar Jackson is the Ravens quarterback, Addison could very well catch 60 passes for 850 yards and 5 touchdowns. Those aren’t exceptional numbers on the surface, but what this passing offense needs after the last two seasons is stability. You can’t call for explosive plays all the time when this offense hasn’t had consistent quarterbacks play in either of the last two seasons. 

The best way to evaluate a wide receiver is to make sure the quarterback position is set. Once that happens, everything else should fall into place. 

Michael Fast
Michael Fast

Born in Baltimore, Mike had long been drawn to sports of all kinds. Growing up watching Cal Ripken play ever day gave him a great example for which to attack every endeavor he undertakes.

When the Ravens came to town, though, that’s when Mike found his passion. Since that time, he’s tried to gain every bit of knowledge he could. Now as a high school coach, Mike is able to take his film study and appreciation of the game to a new level.

To engage with Mike on social media, follow him on Twitter @MikeFastNFL.