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Ravens GM Eric DeCosta on criticism of wide receiver room: ‘It’s insulting to these guys’

Sports columnist Mike Preston and Ravens beat writer Jonas Shaffer discuss Ravens free agency and possible picks in the 2021 draft.

The Ravens’ top decision-makers aren’t denying that an addition to the team’s wide receiver room could be made by the end of the NFL draft, which is set to take place in Cleveland from April 29 to May 1.

While they continue to do their due diligence on pass-catching prospects with the draft 10 days away, general manager Eric DeCosta remains bullish on the team’s current wideouts, even as many have soured on a group that was one of the least productive in the 2020 season.

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When asked Monday during a virtual predraft news conference about the team’s lackluster history of drafting wide receivers — the Ravens have yet to select a player named to the Pro Bowl as a wideout — DeCosta said he was “aware that there’s some fan discontent with our wide receiver and our drafting and all that.”

“But, in general, I look at our record and how we win games and how we play football and I’m proud of the team,” he said. “I know coach [John Harbaugh] is proud, I know [director of player personnel] Joe [Hortiz] is proud. So, we’ve got some really good young receivers. It’s insulting to these guys when they hear that we don’t have any receivers. It’s quite insulting. I’m insulted by it, too, to be honest. So, I think we’ve got some guys that want to show everybody what they can do.”

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Criticism of the Ravens’ passing game and their personnel, which finished last in receiving yards this past season, was rejuvenated after the team’s season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round.

Willie Snead IV signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason and Dez Bryant is not expected to rejoin the Ravens, leaving the team with young returning players such as Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II. The Ravens signed veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million but have remained linked to several receivers in first-round mock drafts, including LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr. and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman.

“I think we’ve had a lot of good receivers over the years that have won big games for us,” DeCosta said. “I know this, I think [quarterback] Lamar [Jackson] likes our receivers. I think our coaches like our receivers. I think the teammates, the guys on this team, like our receivers.”

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