With Lamar Jackson in the lineup, Baltimore had the league's worst passing game a year ago. He'll be their quarterback this year, though, so they evidently think there's some chance he'll improve. But they're replacing most of their top wideouts from last season, so one of their two rookies will need to pick up all those targets. Or maybe a holdover, lightly regarded Willie Snead.
First-rounder Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is the high-profile addition, the first wide receiver drafted, in the first round. Baltimore then added Miles Boykin in the third round. But those guys aren't practicing: Brown is coming off a lisfranc injury and has missed all of minicamps and OTAs. Boykin is sitting out OTAs with a hamstring injury. Season is more than three months away so it's not panic time, but they're rookies, and it's hard enough to make an impact right away without also missing a bunch of practice time.
Baltimore will certainly throw to its tight ends plenty, Mark Andrews and probably Hayden Hurst. For wideouts, the holdovers are Willie Snead and Chris Moore. For what it's worth (maybe not much), Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti thinks Moore might be a breakout candidate. Granted, that also is a reminder that he hasn't done much to this point.
Which brings us to Snead. If you're handicapping this team right now, with both rookies sidelined and Snead and Moore the veteran wideouts, is it crazy to call Snead the No. 1 wideout?
Unappealing, perhaps, but not crazy. With Michael Crabtree and John Brown gone, Snead might be the guy. Would have been nice if he'd done much last season, but you can't have everything.
Rather quietly last season, Snead caught 62 passes. Those went for just 651 yards, and came on 95 targets. His average of 6.9 yards per target was one of the lower rates in the league among 50-catch receivers.
|WR YARDS PER TARGET, 2018 (50 REC)|
|Mike Evans, T.B.||86||1524||8||138||62.3||11.0|
|Tyreek Hill, K.C.||87||1479||12||137||63.5||10.8|
|T.Y. Hilton, Ind.||76||1270||6||120||63.3||10.6|
|Brandin Cooks, LAR||80||1204||5||117||68.4||10.3|
|Julio Jones, Atl.||113||1677||8||170||66.5||9.9|
|DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.||115||1572||11||163||70.6||9.6|
|DJ Moore, Car.||55||788||2||82||67.1||9.6|
|Michael Thomas, N.O.||125||1405||9||147||85.0||9.6|
|Tyler Boyd, Cin.||76||1028||7||108||70.4||9.5|
|Amari Cooper, 2 tms||75||1005||7||107||70.1||9.4|
|Robert Woods, LAR||86||1219||6||130||66.2||9.4|
|Alshon Jeffery, Phil.||65||843||6||92||70.7||9.2|
|Adam Thielen, Min.||113||1373||9||153||73.9||9.0|
|Kenny Golladay, Det.||70||1063||5||119||58.8||8.9|
|Calvin Ridley, Atl.||64||821||10||92||69.6||8.9|
|Mohamed Sanu, Atl.||66||838||4||94||70.2||8.9|
|Chris Godwin, T.B.||59||842||7||95||62.1||8.9|
|Emmanuel Sanders, Den.||71||868||4||98||72.4||8.9|
|Keenan Allen, LAC||97||1196||6||136||71.3||8.8|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.||111||1426||7||166||66.9||8.6|
|Odell Beckham, NYG||77||1052||6||124||62.1||8.5|
|Jordy Nelson, Oak.||63||739||3||88||71.6||8.4|
|Davante Adams, G.B.||111||1386||13||169||65.7||8.2|
|Sterling Shepard, NYG||66||872||4||107||61.7||8.1|
|Allen Robinson, Chi.||55||754||4||94||58.5||8.0|
|Robby Anderson, NYJ||50||752||6||94||53.2||8.0|
|Corey Davis, Ten.||65||891||4||112||58.0||8.0|
|Julian Edelman, N.E.||74||850||6||108||68.5||7.9|
|Adam Humphries, T.B.||76||816||5||105||72.4||7.8|
|Cole Beasley, Dall.||65||672||3||87||74.7||7.7|
|Antonio Brown, Pitt.||104||1297||15||168||61.9||7.7|
|Demaryius Thomas, 2 tms||59||677||5||89||66.3||7.6|
|Nelson Agholor, Phil.||64||736||4||97||66.0||7.6|
|Taylor Gabriel, Chi.||67||688||2||93||72.0||7.4|
|Dede Westbrook, Jac.||66||717||5||101||65.3||7.1|
|Golden Tate, 2 tms||74||795||4||113||65.5||7.0|
|Willie Snead, Balt.||62||651||1||95||65.3||6.9|
|Stefon Diggs, Min.||102||1021||9||149||68.5||6.9|
|Larry Fitzgerald, Ariz.||69||734||6||112||61.6||6.6|
|Jarvis Landry, Cle.||81||976||4||149||54.4||6.6|
|Zay Jones, Buff.||56||652||7||102||54.9||6.4|
|Michael Crabtree, Balt.||54||607||3||100||54.0||6.1|
A common thread with most of the poorer performers in this area is that they were either running exclusively shorter routes (Tate, Landry) or working with scattershot rookie quarterbacks (Fitzgerald, Zay Jones and the two Baltimore wideouts). It doesn't make them bad receivers -- Stefon Diggs certainly isn't.
But with a lot of the guys down near the bottom likely on their way out of the league (Crabtree, Fitzgerald, Tate), I look at Snead and think, well, no one is talking much about him for a reason. Being Baltimore's nominal No. 1 receiver at the moment just highlights why they drafted two wideouts in the first three rounds and why their tight ends and running backs will probably be busy pass catchers. Probably safe not to spend a draft pick on Snead.