Tuesday, July 20, 2010
2010 Baltimore Ravens Wide Receivers
The 2010 Baltimore Ravens wide receiving corps has to be the most complete receiving corps the team has ever had. With the likes of former Arizona Cardinal Anquan Boldin teaming with Derrick Mason and newcomer Donte Stallworth, these receivers make one forget the days of Travis Taylor and Kevin Johnson quickly. Remember those days? They are well in the past. That can only be a good thing.
The Ravens have been trying to assemble a solid receiving corps for the last few years starting with the drafting of Mark Clayton in the 1st round of the 2005 NFL draft. Clayton has not been a bust, but he hasn’t been the number one receiver the Ravens thought they were taking with their first pick either. Instead, Clayton has been a solid third or fourth receiver to go along with other good players like Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap. Clayton will battle Donte Stallworth and Demetrious Williams for time in the slot, while Boldin and Mason will be the starters on the outside as each player has proved they are more than capable of producing at a high level in the NFL.
Boldin was a player coming out of Florida State in 2003 with a reputation for being a bit of a “tweener.” He was injury prone and didn’t run a very fast 40-yard dash. However, as general manager Ozzie Newsome said at Boldin’s introductory news conference in March, "I think I made a mistake in that draft, to worry more about measurables than about the football player. And Anquan is a football player."
Boldin is the physical receiver that can make tough catches over the middle and break tackles that result in a lot of yards after the catch. The Ravens haven’t had a player with Boldin’s combination of size and strength at receiver in a very, very long time.
Mason has been one of the best receivers in franchise history. He continually puts up 1,000 yard receiving seasons and has developed a terrific rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco. Mason is terrific in intermediate routes and has perfected the 10-yard out route. He’s also tough as nails as he played the last half of the 2008 season with a torn labrum. Mason has hinted that 2010 could be his last season.
Battling for the last two spots on the depth chart will be Williams, Clayton, and rookie David Reed. Reed is a 4th round pick in this years draft and is said to be like a little Mason. He has terrific hands and is a solid return man, and he will make the roster because of his abilities on special teams. This means that Clayton and Williams will be fighting for the final spot on the chart. It should make for a terrific camp storyline. If I had to make a prediction, I would be that Williams makes it over Clayton because Clayton makes more money and is in the same mold as Mason. Williams brings a little more playmaking ability to the table.
The 2010 receiving corps should bring a great amount of excitement to Baltimore this season. They haven’t had much depth at receiver in the last 10 years, and this year if somebody gets hurt or isn’t playing well there isn’t as much pressure to produce as there was before. Boldin and Mason by themselves could carry this team for a while. Throw in Stallworth and his 4.3 speed going down the field to open things up and you have an aerial attack not seen since the days of Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry in the 1950’s and 60’s.