Having skills as a returner could give wide receiver DeAndre Carter a better chance to stick with the Ravens.
Carter is an undrafted rookie from Sacramento St. hoping to make the roster. His college numbers were certainly impressive. Carter led the Football Championship Subdivision last season with 99 catches for 1,321 receiving yards.
However, Carter’s ticket to the NFL may be his ability to return punts and kicks. The Ravens cut Jacoby Jones, who had been their primary returner for several seasons. Lardarius Webb and Michael Campanaro are candidates to replace Jones. But Webb is a starting cornerback who the Ravens want to protect from injury. Campanaro has already had trouble staying healthy, out until training camp with a quadriceps injury.
That leaves a potential opening for Carter, who had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown at Sacramento St. last season. The biggest knock on Carter as a receiver has been his size (5-foot-8), but that would not stop Carter from being an effective returner if he showed ability in that role.
During OTA’s, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has already been impressed with Carter as a receiver.
“I like (that) he’s hungry,” Smith said. “I’m biased – he’s a West Coast guy. I just love his attitude. I see a young (Packers receiver) Randall Cobb in him, but I think he can play inside or outside. I’m excited to watch him play.”
The Ravens have had recent success with undrafted rookies, including wide receiver Marlon Brown and kicker Justin Tucker. Carter is another to keep an eye on.