Predicting Who Will Win the Baltimore Ravens' No. 2 WR Battle

Mike FastContributor IMay 29, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Free safety Reggie Nelson #20 of the Cincinnati Bengals is stiff armed by wide receiver Deonte Thompson #83 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on September 10, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Besides Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda and Joe Flacco, most offensive players in Ravens history have, at some point, had to beat someone out to win their spot on the field.

And when it comes to receivers, the title of "No. 1" hasn't stuck to anyone who's played in Baltimore.

That also depends how you define a No. 1 receiver. Is it determined by their NFL tenure? Perhaps their skill set?

For example, Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin were definitely No. 1 receivers for Baltimore in terms of their savvy and remarkable dependability. However, they couldn't physically do what other younger receivers like Torrey Smith could.

Speaking of Smith, no wide receiver on Baltimore's roster has more career receptions than he does (99). He's also third on the franchise's active receptions list, behind Dennis Pitta (102) and Ray Rice (311).

In terms of the wide receiver position, Smith is the man. Pitta and Rice may line up as wide receivers on certain plays, but that won't be the norm.

So who's next? A question that coaches frequently ask themselves and their players, especially in preseason camps.

Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams and Tommy Streeter and the main candidates. Besides Smith, they are the only wide receivers on the roster who aren't rookies or return specialists.

The four have a combined 16 career receptions.

The good news is these young wide receivers won't have to carry the offense, at least not for awhile.

Last season, 55.4 percent of the Ravens' 778 offensive plays (rush attempts and completed passes) were ran through three players: Rice (40.9 percent), Pitta (7.8 percent) and Smith (6.7 percent).

The Ravens will look to Rice first, and then to either Pitta or Smith. If they need a lot of yardage, they'll glance in Smith's direction. If they're in the red zone, they'll probably go to Pitta.

So the question of who will be the Ravens' No. 2 receiver is really a question that doesn't have an answer right now.

The best all-around prospect of the group is probably Thompson. Williams is the best special teams player, while Doss has the most in-game experience. Streeter has the highest "ceiling" with his size and athleticism: 6'5", 220 pounds, with a 4.37 second 40-yard dash.

Baltimore's coaching staff might not even know who the "No. 2 guy" will be. Fortunately for them, their first regular-season game is 14 weeks away, so they'll at least have plenty of time to figure out who their fourth offensive option will be.