The Ravens' search for a first-round receiver: A look at the team's top draft picks, including Breshad Perriman and Zay Flowers

2PW4DCM Kansas City, United States. 27th Apr, 2023. Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers holds a ceremonial first round draft selection jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL Draft 2023 Thursday Day 1 on April 27, 2023 at Union Station in Kansas City, MO. (Max Siker/Image of Sport) Photo via Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News

• A new approach: Over the last five years, the Baltimore Ravens have spent three first-round draft picks on wide receivers — something they did just twice between 1996 and 2018.

• Good while it lasted: Across his three years in Baltimore, Marquise Brown racked up 740 yards on passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield and forced 21 missed tackles on 195 regular-season receptions.

Zay Flowers‘ time: Flowers finished the 2022 season with 500 yards from passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield. Like Brown, he can be tough to bring down in open space, as he forced 40 missed tackles on 199 receptions at Boston College.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


Over the last five years, the Baltimore Ravens have spent three first-round draft picks on wide receivers — something they did just twice between 1996 and 2018.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t resulted in the success the team would have wanted so far. Here, we’ll look at what has gone right and wrong and look to the future with Rashod Bateman and Zay Flowers.

Mark Clayton

Pick 22, 2005

While we don’t have PFF grades for Clayton’s rookie year in 2005, his 2006 season saw him set a career-high 74.0 PFF receiving grade and average 2.06 yards per route run, the only time in his career he finished north of 2.00.

He had his moments in his five-year career in Baltimore but never developed into a true No. 1 receiver, with injuries hindering his progress along the way.


Breshad Perriman

Pick 26, 2015

Perriman missed his entire rookie season through injury, and when he finally got onto the field in his second season in the league, he struggled to hold onto the ball. He dropped five of his 38 catchable targets in 2016 before dropping four of 14 in 2017. After that, the Ravens decided to move on.

Perriman has stuck around in the league and had a pair of solid seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and 2019, posting PFF receiving grades of 76.0 and 72.3, respectively. Like Clayton, he just didn’t work out in Baltimore.


Marquise Brown

Pick 25, 2019

The best of the five, Marquise Brown quickly became Lamar Jackson’s favorite target at the position and earned PFF receiving grades between 68.7 and 74.6 in his first three seasons in the league.

Across those three years, he racked up 740 yards on passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield and forced 21 missed tackles on 195 regular-season receptions.

The team then traded him to the Arizona Cardinals during the 2022 NFL Draft. While he didn’t develop into the true No. 1 receiver Baltimore would have been hoping for when they drafted him, he was missed in 2022, with the team lacking his shiftiness and downfield presence.


Rashod Bateman

Pick 27, 2021

Bateman’s career in Baltimore has been stalled by injuries, robbing him of previous development time early in his career.

There were flashes in his rookie campaign, as he surpassed 80 receiving yards in three of the final 11 games of the year. His second season started brightly — despite dropping four of the 15 catchable passes thrown his way in the first four weeks of the season — highlighted by a 75-yard score on a slant route against the Miami Dolphins.

He would see just six targets the rest of the season, though, as he was sidelined from Week 8. This coming season will be a crucial year in his development if he is to garner a second contract in Baltimore.


Zay Flowers

Pick 22, 2023

The latest swing at the position from the Ravens, there’s also a hint here that they perhaps realize what they lost in trading away Brown.

While he isn’t an exact replica of Lamar’s favorite WR target, he offers a downfield threat they have lacked since the trade. He finished the 2022 season with 500 yards from passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield. Like Brown, he can be tough to bring down in open space, as he forced 40 missed tackles on 199 receptions at Boston College.

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