20 days away before the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway in Nashville, the Baltimore Ravens added a new target for Lamar Jackson in the form of wide receiver Seth Roberts, who the team signed to a one-year deal.
Roberts, who went undrafted in 2014 out of Western Alabama, has played in 62 NFL games, starting 25. Since 2015 he owns 158 receptions for 1,826 yards and 13 touchdowns. 2018 marked Roberts’ best season as he ended the year with 45 receptions for 494 yards and two touchdowns.
Roberts represents the latest veteran wideout the Ravens are bringing in on a cheap one-year “prove it” deal. Last year the Ravens inked John Brown to a one-year contract. Brown looked like he was on his way to a career season before Jackson took over at quarterback. With Brown signing a three-year deal with the Bills and the Ravens deciding to part ways with Michael Crabtree, Baltinore only carried one receiver on their roster, Willie Snead, who’s started more than four games in the NFL.
The Ravens did not attain a dangerous number one receiver by signing Roberts. During his time in Oakland Roberts held a role as low as the number four receiver and as high as the number two. He’s a complementary player who gives Jackson the ability to stretch the field. He’s not a burner, but he makes plays on the outside. Roberts has also shown the ability to block, an attribute that both Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh said they want their receivers to excel at this season.
Roberts isn’t going to blow the roof off a defense, but he’s an addition that the Ravens needed to make before the draft takes place. The Ravens were never going to land a top receiver in the free agent market, especially when their offense is known for running the football. The Ravens needed a receiver that has starting experience, which is something that Moore has very little of and Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley have not accomplished yet.
There’s still a lot of work that the Ravens have in front of them at wide receiver this offseason. Roberts and Willie Snead don’t make up a respectable starting receiver duo. The Ravens need to take multiple receivers in this draft, and they need to do it early. It appears that this could be the case. According to DraftAnalyst.com‘s Tony Pauline, the Ravens “hope to come away with two receivers by the time the third round is completed.”
Simply put, signing Roberts cushions the glaring need the Ravens have at receiver, but it remains one of the thinnest positions on the roster. Assuming that Pauline’s report comes to fruition, the Ravens will have two rookies, veterans Roberts, Snead, and Moore at receiver. Scott and Lasley figure to improve in their second seasons, but the Ravens should not bank on that happening.
If at least two rookies join this receiver group during the draft, it will look a lot better than it did at the start of the offseason. However, everyone knows that first round rookies don’t’ always pan out. That’s why it would not be shocking at all if the additions at receiver stretch into the summer.
Image Credit: Kirby Lee / USA Today