Ravens have few reliable WR options with Steve Smith out
Despite winning their second game of the season, the Baltimore Ravens lost in a big way: top wide receiver Steve Smith suffered a season-ending tear to his Achilles tendon.
In August, Smith announced that this season would be his last, with plans to retire following Baltimore’s final 2015 game. Before the injury, the Ravens’ target sealed his place amongst the top 10 all-time receivers in terms of yardage, with 13,907 yards in his 15 NFL seasons.
Smith will be almost impossible for Baltimore to replace. He was having his best season since 2008, ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 receiver, behind only Julio Jones and Antonio Brown.
Smith is also the league’s second-ranked receiver in yards per route run (2.87), behind only Brown.
At 36, he’s still an excellent run blocker, too, entering Week 8 as the top-ranked run blocking receiver at 85.5.
The Ravens will likely turn to fifth-year WR Kamar Aiken (71.7 overall grade entering Week 8) as the new No. 1 option. The undrafted free agent from Central Florida enjoyed a breakout performance in the Ravens’ first win of the season in Week 4 at Pittsburgh for his career-best game grade (+2.7).
Brown is a third-year free agent from Georgia. He actually started showing promise late in his rookie season, and all of last season, with a +8.5 grade over the 20-game span. Unfortunately, Brown has been a big disappointment so far in 2015, and if he doesn’t turn it around fast, QB Joe Flacco and the entire offense will be searching further down the depth chart for possible solutions.
Maybe, just maybe, the Ravens’ first-round pick from this year’s draft, WR Breshad Perriman, will finally turn out to be that solution. Perriman sustained a knee injury on the first day of training camp, and has yet to make his rookie debut.
If he’s healthy and ready to contribute, Ravens’ fans would welcome him with open arms. Because even after a win, they can use all the good news and optimism they can find.