Ravens not wary to draft WR in first round despite NFL's worst track record

Clemson's Mike Williams would certainly fill the Ravens' needs at receiver. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was asked whether taking Breshad Perriman in 2015 would influence whether he drafts a wide receiver in the first round this year.

"No, that would have none," Newsome said. "If we feel like the best player is at [No.] 16 and he's a wide receiver, and we feel like he's going to come in and help Joe [Flacco] and help the other guys, then we'll turn that card in in a hurry."

While Perriman hasn't made the expected immediate impact, Baltimore's struggles with drafting wide receivers goes beyond that. Bad luck, bad decisions and overall bad play has resulted in the worst track record in the NFL when it comes to selecting wide receiver prospects.

Out of the 23 wide receivers drafted by the Ravens since their inaugural 1996 season, there have been no Pro Bowl players and one 1,000-yard receiving season (Torrey Smith in 2013). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only team that comes close to that futility is the Jacksonville Jaguars, whose drafted receivers have produced one Pro Bowl appearance and one 1,000-yard season over that same period.

This is one of those head-scratching peculiarities for a franchise that is often lauded for its drafting under Newsome, who has selected 18 Pro Bowl players in 21 drafts.

"Are receivers the only position where I haven't drafted a guy that's been in the Pro Bowl? Is that true?," Newsome asked. "I guess it is, so does that drive me to want to draft a receiver and have him go to the Pro Bowl? Would that be the last hoorah [and] once I do that I can ride off into the sunset and life would be good?"

The Ravens might attempt to find that elusive Pro Bowl wide receiver in the first round again this year. The draft's top three wide receivers -- Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis and Washington's John Ross -- are all candidates for Baltimore's No. 16 overall pick.

Wide receiver is among Baltimore's biggest draft needs. The Ravens have yet to add a wide receiver after Steve Smith Sr. retired and Kamar Aiken signed with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency.

The only receivers currently on the roster who totaled more than 10 passes last season were Perriman and Mike Wallace. The Ravens' other wide receivers -- Chris Moore, Michael Campanaro, Chris Matthews, Keenan Reynolds, Vince Mayle, and Kenny Bell -- have combined for 197 yards receiving.

But quarterback Flacco doesn't believe the Ravens need another wider receiver.

"I think we have a lot of young, talented guys -- guys that are ready to make a name for themselves and are going to work really hard this offseason to get that done," Flacco said. "Whenever you have guys that are working really hard and you have that camaraderie out here and everyone is looking to get better, you are just developing relationships. I think that is all going to help when we get to the field. It is nice to have guys that are here and want to work that we are going to develop here as Baltimore Ravens."