Here’s one of the important questions facing the Ravens heading into training camp. Who will emerge as Joe Flacco’s go-to targets after Steve Smith?
Smith led the Ravens in catches (79) and receiving yards (1,065) last season, at age 35. Nobody else on the team caught 50 passes, and the Ravens lost both wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Owen Daniels in free agency.
Smith shows no sign of slowing down at age 36, but other targets will need to step up for the Ravens to have a potent passing attack. That’s why the wide receiver competition in camp will be both interesting and important. Who will win the starting job opposite Smith? Will it be first-round pick Breshad Perriman? Marlon Brown? Kamar Aiken? And will any of them establish themselves consistently as third-down and red zone targets?
The same question can be asked at tight end, where Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmoer will try to build more chemistry with Flacco during camp. Flacco loves throwing to tight ends, but with veteran Dennis Pitta on the PUP list, there is a need for a tight end to emerge in the passing game.
I think Perriman will emerge as the No. 2 receiver, but I also think running back Justin Forsett will catch more passes this year. New offensive coordinator Marc Trestman loved throwing to running back Matt Forte in Chicago, and I think Forsett will be used in a similar manner.
The Ravens may not have a 1,000-yard receiver if Smith doesn’t reach that mark. However, they should have enough weapons for a consistent passing attack.