Three Under the Radar Offensive Free Agents The Baltimore Ravens Should Target
After a disappointing 2017 season, it’s no secret that the Ravens are looking to make a play in free agency in order to upgrade an offense lacking playmakers. Personally, I believe the lack of offense over the years has less to do with playmakers and more to do with coaching and offensive schemes. That’s a discussion to be had at another time. For now, lets focus on the 2018 free agency and a few under the radar players the Ravens should target.
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During Steve Biscotti’s press conference, he made it known that the Ravens wanted to make a “splash” during free agency. Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, and Jimmy Graham all come to mind. However, we all know these guys will be highly sought after and the Ravens don’t currently have the cap room to splurge.
Honestly, this year’s wide receiver and tight end free agency group isn’t anything to write home about, but below I highlight a few players who I believe can help improve a lackluster offense.
Burton a 6’ 3” undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida has found himself atop the free agent market after his role with the Eagles has expanded throughout the years. Although he’s not a household name, Burton may have the most upside of any skilled positioned players in this year’s free agency group.
He’s been stuck behind Zach Ertz the past two seasons and has only five career starts under his belt, however he’s coming off a 2017 campaign in which he scored a career-high five touchdowns, three of those touchdowns coming in two games which Zach Ertz was unable to suit up.
Described as a great route runner with great instincts and a good mix of size and speed by his former offensive coordinator and now the Indianapolis Colts head coach, Frank Reich.
Pro Football Focus gave Burton a 75.6 overall grade for the 2018 season that was good for 13th overall at the tight end position. Take it for what you want, but as a former PFF employee I for one respect and understand the work they do, although I understand not everyone does.
Is 75.6 great? No, it’s average, however he wasn’t in a starting role and was taking limited snaps. I believe this guy has the ability to be a great weapon over the middle of the field and one of Flacco’s favorite weapons.
Despite not being a household name, at only 26 years old, Burton is going to land a starting spot this offseason and may command more money than the Ravens have the ability to offer. I hope that’s not the case, as I’d really enjoy seeing this guy in a Ravens jersey next season.
Austin Seferian Jenkins
Unlike Burton, Jenkins has been given his opportunities over the years, only to continue having problems on and off the field. This past season though he was able to put together a decent showing catching 50 passes and three touchdowns, while also celebrating one year of sobriety. Jenkins is only 25 years old and at 6’ 5” is a huge target for Flacco to hit inside the numbers. He isn’t going to command as much money as Burton and can likely be had for a cap friendly price. At his age, size, and potential, he is worth bringing in.
He’s not a number one receiver but again there aren’t many number one receivers available in this year’s free agency. Wilson caught 42 receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns in 2017 on just 56 targets! He’s coming off a career year, a year in which he had a WR rating of 123.7 when targeted according to PFF.
He also has a great ability to make players miss, forcing 15 missed tackles on receptions during the regular season, third among all wide receivers according to PFF. That’s only two less than Jarvis Landry who forced 17 missed tackles. Keep in mind Wilson had 42 receptions compared to Landry’s 112 receptions.
At only 25 years old and big play ability, Wilson would be a nice option to have in the slot and again he won’t be an expensive addition.
All of these guys have a few things in common. They’re all young, have great upside, and mostly operate through the middle of the field – an area Flacco typically seems to favor.