There’s no doubt that the Baltimore Ravens will miss veteran receiver Anquan Boldin in the upcoming season. His reliability on third-down and his ability to use his body to shield off defenders and make crucial catches is a difficult thing to replace. An unheralded member of the roster may be ready to step up to the plate this year as Tandon Doss looks to make his mark on the receiving corps in 2013.
Drafted in the same year as Torrey Smith, Doss has been mostly relegated to the bench during his two seasons in Baltimore to date. If his performance in the opening preseason game was any indication, however, the Ravens might have something in the 6-foot-2, 207 pound former Indiana Hoosier.
Both Doss and Deonte Thompson are vying for the No. 3 receiver role behind Smith and Jacoby Jones this season, and both players saw some time with the first-team offense in the preseason opener. What helped Doss stand above Thompson in this competition, however, was the fact that he saw the work on third-downs with the Ravens. This suggests some serious trust from the coaching staff in the developing target to get the job done and be a reliable target for quarterback Joe Flacco in crucial situations.
What really gives Doss the inside track to land the third receiver gig is the fact that he basically job shadowed Boldin during the past two seasons. All of that veteran knowledge had to seep into the way the youngster models his game and goes about his business in practice. Boldin has always been one of the toughest receivers in the NFL, and Doss will have to embody that same mentality if he is going to cut it as a third-down target.
While the team’s recent addition of veteran Brandon Stokley suggests that they may not be entirely settled at the wide out spot just yet, that move could just be to continue pushing Doss in practice to become the best player he can be. Stokley has thrived in the league with savvy route-running throughout his career, and combining that with the knowledge Doss absorbed from Boldin could provide a deadly combination for the still 23 year-old target.
With the injuries at tight end and departures in the offseason, there’s no doubt the Ravens will need some previously unknown targets to step up this season. Doss is in a great position to step up in this Ravens attack and aid their push for a repeat.