OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens’ hopes of unleashing a more balanced offense don’t merely hinge on the development of star quarterback Lamar Jackson. The effectiveness of new wide receiver Sammy Watkins will have plenty to do with how much this passing game evolves, as well. That’s a topic that tends to get lost in all the talk about Jackson’s current issues with COVID-19: This is the year when the people around him ultimately determine whether he becomes a Super Bowl champion.
As much as the Ravens have tried to help Jackson — who is supposed to return to practice by Friday or Saturday after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list — the reality is, he’s never had a bigger group of weapons around him than the collection general manager Eric DeCosta has currently assembled. The team has used first-round picks on wide receivers in two of the last three drafts (Marquise Brown was taken 25th overall in 2019 and Rashod Bateman was selected 27th overall this year). They’ve amassed targets who possess breathtaking speed, reliable hands and the ability to separate through crisp route-running.