As the Ravens continue their predraft search for upgrades at wide receiver, one member of their most recent receiving corps is exploring a free-agent opportunity elsewhere. According to sources, wide receiver-punt returner Michael Campanaro (River Hill) is expected to meet Thursday with Tennessee Titans officials to continue discussions about a possible deal.
Campanaro’s agent has been in talks with the Titans for the past couple of weeks as Tennessee is looking to add to its receiving group. The 27-year-old spent parts of the past four seasons with the Ravens, catching 19 balls for 173 yards and one touchdown in 13 games last season. He also led the AFC in punt-return average (10.8) and scored a return touchdown against the Chicago Bears.
Campanaro has attracted some free-agent interest as a slot receiver and as a return man. The Ravens have remained in contract with Campanaro about a potential return even as they’ve overhauled their receiving group this offseason. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome wasn’t specifically asked about Campanaro during Wednesday’s predraft news conference. However, he did say the team continues to look at adding to its receiving group before the draft.
This offseason, the Ravens lost Mike Wallace to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency and released Jeremy Maclin. They signed veteran receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown and also orally agreed to a deal with former Washington Redskins receiver Ryan Grant before they backed out of it because of concerns with his physical examination.
The Ravens also recently hosted two restricted free agents — the Bears’ Cameron Meredith and the New Orleans Saints’ Willie Snead — on free-agent visits, but they didn’t immediately sign either to an offer sheet.
“We are constantly working to try to improve the roster, and there is potential that we could add another receiver before we get to the draft.”
Asked specifically about the possibility of signing Meredith or Snead, Newsome said: “We're in the market to acquire players in every aspect. We're in the market.”
Playing it close to the vest
The team’s top decision-makers don’t traditionally give out a lot of information about their draft plans, and Wednesday’s news conference stayed true to form.
“You might be surprised at who we pick at 16 this year, if we pick at 16,” Newsome said of the team’s first-round pick.
There’s a perception the Ravens’ draft positioning in the first round doesn’t match up with their biggest needs, which are wide receiver, tight end and offensive tackle. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta downplayed that notion, saying, “I think there’s a strong chance that if we do pick at 16, we’ll find a guy that fills a specific need for this team that helps us win games early on.”
High on top receivers
Most pundits consider Alabama’s Calvin Ridley and Maryland’s DJ Moore to be the two top wide receivers in the 2018 draft class. DeCosta and Joe Hortiz, the Ravens director of college scouting, praised both players Wednesday.
“He’s an explosive, vertical guy,” DeCosta said of Ridley. “He’s a home-run hitter. He runs outstanding routes. He’s a big-play receiver. He’s an excellent prospect. He’s a first-round receiver, lots of upside, lots of potential. I think he’s going to be one of the best receivers in the draft.”
As for Moore, Hortiz said the former Terp is “holding his water [and] doing a good job at each level, in terms of getting ready for the draft.”
“We had the opportunity to see him play a lot down here, being close by. It’s an impressive year this [past] year, knowing he’s played with three different quarterbacks,” Hortiz said. “That’s a difficult thing to adjust to, and he was productive throughout the season and was consistent and was helping those guys out.”
Bowanko finds new home
Another of the Ravens’ unrestricted free agents headed elsewhere as guard-center Luke Bowanko agreed to a free-agent deal with the New England Patriots.
Acquired by the Ravens from the Jacksonville Jaguars after last preseason for a 2019 seventh-round pick, Bowanko played in every game last season. He started at guard in the victory over the Green Bay Packers.
The list of 2017 Ravens who are free agents and still looking for teams includes quarterback Ryan Mallett, running back Terrance West (Towson University, Northwestern High), Maclin, offensive linemen Austin Howard and Crockett Gillmore, linebacker Steven Johnson and defensive back Lardarius Webb.
DeCosta called the number of scouting departures in recent years from the Ravens “a credit to Ozzie. … It shows me that we’re doing something the right way.” … Asked whether he’s engaged in trade discussions with the New York Giants on star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or with the Patriots on tight end Rob Gronkowski, Newsome said, “I don’t think in 22 years, I’ve ever announced whether I’ve reached out to someone about some player, and I don’t think I’m starting today.”