Months remain between now and Week 1, but the draft is over, and so is rookie minicamp. Ahead of minicamps and training camp, I’ll take a very-early look at the most intriguing position battles on the Ravens’ depth chart. Here’s the outlook at wide receiver:
Receivers on the roster:
Kamar Aiken, Daniel Brown, Marlon Brown, Jeremy Butler, Michael Campanaro, Kaelin Clay, Chris Matthews, Chris Moore, Breshad Perriman, Keenan Reynolds, Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace
The battle for roster spots and roles will be intense. With 12 receivers on the roster, the Ravens must decide whether to keep six or seven receivers heading into Week 1.
How well Smith recovers from Achilles surgery will be crucial. But at least the Ravens have built a receiving corps that looks more talented, more diverse, and less reliant on Smith than last season.
Wallace, Perriman, and Moore all have the speed to dramatically improve the deep passing game. However, Aiken is coming off his best season, and in my view, he’s still a starter until someone proves he shouldn’t be. Moore made some nice catches in rookie camp over the weekend, and looked as fast as advertised.
Reynolds is a feel-good story to make the roster, but if he’s not one of the top six or seven receivers, will the Ravens keep him simply for his ability to return punts? Can Campanaro stay healthy? Can Perriman finally stay on the field and contribute? Will vets looking to hang on like Butler and Marlon Brown do enough on special teams and in the preseason to secure a roster spot? Plenty of questions to answer, and watching it unfold will be fascinating.
I expect the Ravens to keep seven receivers. We know Smith will start if healthy, and Aiken has the early inside track to start, with Wallace and Perriman getting plenty of snaps. I anticipate Perriman’s role growing as the season progresses, if he stays healthy. I see Moore, Reynolds, and Campanaro making the team. That would leave Daniel Brown, Marlon Brown, Butler, Clay, and Matthews on the outside looking in.