The addition of veteran wide receiver Lee Evans late last week means the Ravens won’t have to rush one of their rookie receivers, Torrey Smith or Tandon Doss, into the starting lineup alongsideAnquan Boldin.
As likely the third and fourth receivers on the depth chart, Smith and Doss will still play significant roles in the team’s revamped offense this season -- especially if Boldin or Evans suffers an injury -- but now there is less pressure for them to get up to speed by the time the Steelers come to town in Week 1. The Ravens can ease Smith, a second-round pick, and Doss, a fourth-rounder, into the offense at each player’s own pace.
"It kind of takes the pressure off the young guys a little bit," Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters over the weekend. "It allows them to grow at the pace that you want them to grow. Developing players is really important, and there's a certain pace that you would like to adhere to if you could."
Torrey Smith did not record a catch in Thursday’s preseason loss to the Eagles, and he and rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor got mixed up on a first-half interception. Doss had three catches for 26 yards.
Evans gives the Ravens a proven deep threat, an element Smith was drafted to provide, but having two guys who can blow the top off the coverage isn’t a bad thing. Smith’s vertical speed will get him on the field in passing situations right away, and the team may try to get him the ball on end-arounds and reverses, too.
But out of the two players, Doss might be the most pro-ready. He runs crisp routes and catches pretty much everything he can get two hands on, something that makes him very valuable in tight spaces.
Quarterback Joe Flacco has to be pleased with the upgrades the Ravens have made in the offseason, bringing in Evans to help him out now and drafting Smith and Doss to be his targets of the future.
But in 2011, which rookie will have a better rapport with Flacco?
Your turn: Out of Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss, which player will have a bigger impact for the Ravens this season?