5 Underrated Free Agents the Baltimore Ravens Should Target This Offseason
Ravens Need Wide Receivers
The Baltimore Ravens faced a rebuilding year in 2013. After Baltimore won the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, the Ravens were forced to part with some very talented players.
Ray Lewis was the undeniable leader of the Ravens, and the type of leadership that he provided was very difficult to replace. Lewis started his career with the Ravens in 1996, so not only did the Ravens have to fill a leadership position, but the team had to fill a linebacker vacancy for the 2013 season as well.
Even with the loss of Lewis, the Ravens finished the season with very respectable defensive numbers. The tandem of Terrell Suggs, Matt Elam, Elvis Dumervil, Daryl Smith and Haloti Ngata helped the Baltimore defense rank 12th against the pass and 11th against the run. Replacing the aging Suggs will be a key issue that needs to be addressed, but the defensive unit appears to be heading in the right direction.
The offense was the unit that really struggled in the 2013 season for the Ravens. Analysts could not quite figure out if Ray Rice was struggling from his hip injury or if the offensive line was unable to make room for him and Bernard Pierce, but the running game was completely ineffective in 2013. Besides the lack of a running attack, the absence of Anquan Boldin was clearly noted. While Boldin was not known for being a touchdown machine, he was a key player that Joe Flacco targeted in tough situations. Torrey Smith caught 273 more receiving yards in 2013 than 2012, but Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones were unable to fill the void left by Boldin.
The Ravens will be able to continue to improve on defense with the draft. The offense, however, will need to find a strong wide receiver in free agency to help Flacco. The Ravens do not want to be in a position to wait on a rookie wide receiver to develop, and Flacco really needs an experienced player to help make room down the field for Smith.
The biggest need for the Ravens right now is a wide receiver, and I will showcase free agent wide receivers who can help Baltimore in 2014. Without further ado, here are five underrated free agents the Baltimore Ravens should target this offseason.
Dexter McCluster would be a huge offensive weapon for the Ravens. McCluster would not only be able to lineup at receiver, but he would be able to return kickoffs and rush the ball as well. McCluster would bring a much needed spark to the Baltimore offense.
Hakeem Nicks is the physical wide receiver that the Ravens need. Nicks has never played a full season, but he is always a threat when he is out on the field.
The Ravens would most likely be able to sign Jeremy Maclin without breaking the bank. Like Nicks, Maclin can have a hard time staying healthy. Even with his injury history, Maclin would create headaches for defenses trying to cover him and Torrey Smith.
Kenny Britt almost has the same exact physical stats as Anquan Boldin. With a steady quarterback and a chance to actually be out on the field, Britt would be a great addition to the Ravens. The 6-foot-3 wide receiver would provide Flacco with a great target to help move the chains.