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Monday, June 5, 2023

Can DeSean Jackson Help Ravens WR Room?

The Baltimore Ravens have made a habit out of sorting through veteran wide receiver options over the years. Some have been successful, such as Steve Smith and Anquan Bolden, while others didn’t quite work out.

Speedster DeSean Jackson is the latest veteran to join the Ravens, albeit as a member of the practice squad. Jackson signed with the Ravens last week, so he’s had some time to get acclimated. The extended time off after Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will give Jackson a great opportunity to work one on one with wide receivers coach Tee Martin.

Jackson was not on an NFL roster this season. His last action came in 2021. Jackson signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. In the 2021 season, Jackson had 20 receptions for 454 yards and two touchdowns.  At 35 years old, Jackson doesn’t have the trademark deep speed that once made defensive coordinators stay up at night, but he is still capable of being an occasional threat in the vertical passing game. In Week 12 last season with the Raiders, Jackson had three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown in the 36–33 victory against the Dallas Cowboys.

Lamar Jackson’s deep passing ability should allow for a bomb or two being thrown to the newly acquired speedster.

“I’ve been keeping my eye on Lamar for a little while now,” Jackson said, via the team’s website. “I see a lot of characteristics similar to Michael Vick. He beat some of his records so obviously he’s the new era of Michael Vick. Being able to play with Michael Vick, being able to come and play with Lamar, it’s a blessing for me. I’m very excited about that.”

Jackson posted 2,717 receiving yards in three seasons with Vick as his quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  Pairing Jackson with third year receiver Devin Duvernay will put plenty of speed on the field. Although Duvernay hasn’t had much of an impact with 20 receptions for 282 yards and three touchdowns.  The Ravens had high hopes for 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman, but he hasn’t delivered so far. Injuries and inconsistent play have been Bateman’s issue. There have been flashes though. Up to this point, tight end Mark Andrews has been the primary receiving option for Jackson. Andrews has 39 receptions for 455 yards and five touchdowns on the season so far.  

The Ravens need help in the pass catching department as they push for a return to the postseason, after missing last year. They can’t continue to rely on their tight end to be the only player that teams fear in the passing game. Jackson isn’t necessarily the main answer, but he should help open things up with his big play ability.

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