Ravens' position analysis: Wide receivers

For the next two weeks, let's a take a position-by-position review of the Baltimore Ravens' 2013 season and give a sneak peek of what lies ahead:


Under contract (2014 salary-cap number): Torrey Smith ($1.078 million), Marlon Brown ($496,666), Deonte Thompson ($571,334), Aaron Mellette ($506,474), Gerrard Shepard (future-reserve contract), Kamar Aiken (future-reserve).

2014 free agents: Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley (expected to retire), Tandon Doss (restricted).

The good: Smith emerged as Joe Flacco's top target with 1,128 yards receiving, which fell 73 yards short of the single-season franchise mark. His 17.4 yards per catch ranked fifth in the NFL. An undrafted rookie, Brown was the most pleasant surprise on offense this year. His seven touchdown catches -- all in the red zone -- tied Smith's rookie record. Jones was a factor in the Ravens' four-game winning streak in the second half of the season, averaging 68.2 yards receiving during that stretch.

The bad: The wide receivers disappeared in the second half of the season, which increases the urgency to upgrade his position. In the final eight games, Smith was targeted 69 times but only 42 percent of those passes were completed. Jones' inconsistency showed up in the final two games. He had one catch each game and didn't have a reception longer than 11 yards. And, while Brown made an impact in the red zone, his 10.7-yard average is pedestrian. Stokley was banged up for most of the season, and Thompson needs to fight for the ball in order to be active on game days.

The money: The tough decision is Jones, who is an unrestricted free agent. He's a dangerous returner, but the Ravens can't pay him a $4 million salary again for being a third-down receiver. The Ravens may approach Smith about a contract extension at some point this offseason. He's entering the final year of his rookie deal.

Draft priority: High. At the "State of the Ravens" press conference, general manager Ozzie Newsome said it was a priority to get a wide receiver who can pick up third downs and run after the catch. First-round prospects such as Texas A&M's Mike Evans, USC's Marqise Lee and Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin have been linked to the Ravens.