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Preston: In Willie Snead, the Ravens stand to gain a young possession-type slot receiver

The Ravens are pursuing New Orleans’ Willie Snead and if he ends up in Baltimore he would probably become the slot receiver. Ideally, it sounds as if the Ravens want him in the role they envisioned for veteran Jeremy Maclin last season.

Maclin turned out to be a disappointment, and the Ravens parted ways with him after the season. Snead is only 25 and has shown potential in the past, even though he had a poor season a year ago in which he caught only eight passes for 92 yards in 11 games.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Snead was suspended for the first three games for a reported DUI and then was slowed by a hamstring injury. But in the previous two seasons he caught a total of 141 passes for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns.

It would be great if he produced similar numbers with the Ravens, but in New Orleans Snead had Drew Brees as the quarterback and coach Sean Payton was dialing up the plays. Snead won’t be surrounded with that type of talent in Baltimore.

But here is the skinny on Snead: He is an upright runner who is more of a threat on crossing routes and comebacks than sheer downfield speed. He has adequate speed, good hands and excellent concentration. He can catch the ball in a crowd and he can return punts. He’s not very big and will struggle getting off the line of scrimmage in press coverage — that’s why he has to play in the slot. He is a possession-type receiver.

That means the Ravens are still in the market for a dependable speed receiver on the outside. They have Breshad Perriman and John Brown, but neither has proved he can catch the ball consistently.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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