Will Ravens’ league-leading offense go after another wide receiver in NFL draft?

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The Baltimore Ravens’ 2019 offense delivered the most rushing yards in NFL history, the most points in the league this past season and the unanimous selection at Most Valuable Player in quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The next step for Jackson and this young offense is finding consistent production at wide receiver. That’s why it is the position to watch at this week’s NFL combine.nfl jerseys cheap nike

Despite Marquise Brown, last year’s first-round draft pick, flashing speed downfield, Baltimore’s wideouts totaled 1,419 yards last season, the fewest for that position since the 2011 Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens’ wide receivers managed 12 receptions of 25 or more yards, which was tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the fewest in the NFL this season.

If there was a weakness in the Ravens’ offense, it was the threat of someone lining up wide and beating defensive backs time and time again, whether it was going deep or running after the catch.1

Now, the Ravens have the No. 28 overall pick in a draft that has one of the deepest wide receiver classes ever.

At the combine, Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta expressed interest in this year’s wide receivers but didn’t sound like someone who had the urge to bite on such a selection in the first round.

“There’s a lot of volume at the position,” DeCosta said. “There are some really talented guys. Obviously, the guys at the top. But also, when you look at the second and third rounds, you’ll see some guys who can come in and impact teams very quickly.”

The Ravens have never taken a wide receiver in the first round in consecutive drafts, and there have only been six teams that have done so in the 84-year history of the draft. It hasn’t happened in 15 years, when the Detroit Lions (2003-05), Atlanta Falcons (2004-05) and Jaguars (2004-05) all chose wide receivers in the first round in back-to-back seasons.

The expectation heading into the combine was that the run on wide receivers would occur in the middle of the first round. Many mock drafts have Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III and Clemson’s Tee Higgins going after the 10th overall pick and before Baltimore is on the clock at No. 28.

The top wideout prospects at that point for the Ravens are:

Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado: This is the choice if you’re looking for the best athlete. Shenault has speed to beat defensive backs deep and the strength to break tackles after the catch. Durability is an issue. Last season, he missed one game and parts of four others because of injuries, but he still was named Colorado’s MVP for the second straight year.