QBs and Running Backs, Dev's third article in his pre-camp series looks at the receivers.

Subscibers can also check out Aaron Wilson's positional breakdowns posted here over the past few days (with more to come).

"> QBs and Running Backs, Dev's third article in his pre-camp series looks at the receivers.

Subscibers can also check out Aaron Wilson's positional breakdowns posted here over the past few days (with more to come).

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Dev's Position Analysis: Receivers

After covering <A HREF= "http://ravens.theinsiders.com/2/273771.html">QBs</A> and <A HREF="http://ravens.theinsiders.com/2/274196.html">Running Backs</A>, Dev's third article in his pre-camp series looks at the receivers. <br><br>Subscibers can also check out Aaron Wilson's positional breakdowns posted here over the past few days (with more to come).<br><br>

Receivers: Travis Taylor, Kevin Johnson, Devard Darling, Randy Hymes, Ron Johnson, Clarence Moore, Derek Abney.

Tight Ends: Todd Heap, Terry Jones, Trent Smith, Daniel Wilcox.

Starter(s): After failing to land Terrell Owens in the offseason, the go-to receiver on the team will remain two-time Pro Bowl performer Todd Heap. Heap, who is perhaps the top pass-catching tight end in the game, has a tremendous combination of size, speed and athleticism. The former Arizona State standout is especially dangerous on fly patterns because he has the strength to gain positioning in front of defensive backs, and the anticipation and concentration to out-leap them for the football. 

Over the last couple of years, Heap has also developed into a respectable run blocker. Look for the offensive coaches to motion Heap around more so than before in order to create favorable matchups by lining him up in different spots (FB, normal set TE, WR), and to get the defense to declare its coverage against him before the ball is snapped. 

The key for wideouts Kevin Johnson and Travis Taylor is to take advantage of the man-to-man coverage they are sure to see more of, as Heap consistently draws a double team. 

In Johnson, the Ravens have a solid possession receiver who is quick, runs clean routes and has perhaps the softest hands of any receiver in the NFL. That said; there are legitimate concerns about Johnson's skills as a blocker, and his willingness to be a team player. 

Taylor will man the split end position opposite of Johnson, and he provides some explosiveness to complement Johnson's intermediate game. This is truly Taylor's last opportunity to prove that he can function as a reliable starter in the offense. Not only is the former top 10 pick a free-agent after the end of this season, but the Ravens have other receivers on the roster with upside to push him or replace him if he can't get the job done. 

If Taylor is to finally break through, he is going to need to display better concentration and toughness as a receiver. 

Backups: Backing up Johnson and Taylor are a host of young receivers that all bring certain attributes to the table. Devard Darling, who was the Ravens' third-round pick from this year's draft, seems to have the best opportunity to man the slot position. Darling is a strong, physical player that has the speed to gain separation down the field. He lacks the polish to be much of a contributor as a possession receiver.

Randy Hymes remains an intriguing prospect because he has good hands, size and body control. However, Hymes is coming off of an ACL injury, and the recovery process usually isn't kind to wide receivers. 

With Hymes' health being in limbo, that could allow Ron Johnson to move up on the depth chart. Johnson has always been able to get open, but he drops too many passes, and his work ethic has been questioned. If Derrick Abney makes the team, he will make it as a kick/punt return ace. Abney has great speed, and was a decent receiver in college, but he lacks the strength to log too much playing time. 

If the Ravens do keep a sixth receiver, Clarence Moore seems to be the best person in position to win that job. Moore is the tallest receiver on the team (6'6), and has the skills to be a dangerous deep threat, but he needs to get stronger. 

At tight end, Terry Jones will reprise his role as Heap's main backup. In fact, given the amount of snaps that Jones logged last year in the Ravens' two-tight end sets, Jones should be considered a starter. The team relies on his blocking prowess. Jones can also make plays as a pass-catcher. 

After losing John Jones in the offseason, the third tight end spot is wide open. Trent Smith seems to be in the best position to earn that job. Nevertheless, he will need to prove that he is fully recovered from the broken leg injury that he suffered a year ago, and that he can be of use as a special teams player. 

Grade: C


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