Joe Flacco didn’t have enough dependable weapons last season, especially after Steve Smith Sr. went down with an Achilles injury. The Ravens believe they have given their starting quarterback far more to work with this year.
Here are four players who didn’t catch a single pass from Flacco last season who should be targets in 2016:
Chris Moore, 4th-round draft pick, WR
Why he’s important: If nothing else, Moore is a deep threat who should help the Ravens’ vertical game. Even if he struggles with some of his routes as a rookie, Moore can run a straight line, and Flacco has the arm to take advantage of Moore’s speed. When Moore is on field, defensive backs must respect his speed, which could open up opportunities underneath for other players.
Breshad Perriman, 2015 draft pick, WR
Why he’s important: Nobody doubts Perriman has the talent to contribute if he stays healthy. Missing his entire rookie season with a knee injury makes Perriman almost like a rookie again. But unlike last season, when Perriman was being counted on right away, the Ravens have more quality depth at wide receiver. The Ravens hope this will take some pressure off Perriman, and his size (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) makes him more than just a speed guy. If healthy, Perriman should help the Ravens convert on third downs and in the red zone.
Mike Wallace, eighth NFL season, WR
Why he’s important: Another speed guy, Wallace has something to prove, and more experience than Perriman or Moore. Remember the big plays Jacoby Jones made during the Ravens’ last Super Bowl year? The Ravens envision Wallace having that kind of impact. While his production was a disappointment with both the Dolphins and Vikings, it should be noted that Wallace still had 10 touchdown catches for the Dolphins in 2014. Wallace will turn just 30 years old in August. His legs still have some juice.
Ben Watson, 13th NFL season, TE
Why he’s important: Acquiring Watson during free agency gives the Ravens a veteran tight end presence, regardless of what happens with Dennis Pitta’s comeback attempt from hip surgery. Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams will also get reps in the tight end rotation, but Watson equaled his career-high last season with six touchdown catches for the Saints. Watson built a red zone rapport with Saints quarterback Drew Bress, and the Ravens believe he will build the same connection with Flacco.