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ChatRewind: Can Ravens develop WRs?

9/20/2013

If you want a full transcript of our weekly Baltimore Ravens chat, you can click right here. If you want some highlights, you've come to the right place ...

Steve (Sydney): The Ravens defense looked much improved against Cleveland although safety Matt Elam looked like a rookie in coverage on the first play of the game and the near miss for the TD. Thoughts on Jimmy Smith? First time he looked like a first rounder to me - albeit against a weak WR corps.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): You're exactly right about Jimmy Smith. He has to do it against the top competition and the challenge will be much greater against the Texans on Sunday. That said, Smith actually turned and looked for the ball, which is a big improvement. He even got his hand on a couple of passes. It's definitely progress.

Ryan (Nashville): How would you grade Gino Gradkowski so far?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): A grade of C. The Ravens aren't happy about his play but he isn't making the mistakes that get you pulled. You hear rumblings that Ryan Jensen, who has been inactive because of foot surgery, could get a look at center when he returns this season.

Peter (New Orleans): Torrey Smith is supposed to be our No. 1 receiver, but how can he actually play that role when he's always super covered? What needs to happen for him to be able to actually have the success he's capable of?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Not sure how to answer this one. Torrey Smith is tied for the team lead with 11 receptions. He leads the team in receiving yards (177) and tops the Ravens' WRs with 16.1-yard average. Smith looks like a No. 1 WR.

Rod (Baltimore): Of all the great things Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office has done, why has it been so hard for this team to develop wide receivers? Torrey Smith is the exception. First, I thought it was Brian Billick and his staff. But John Harbaugh has been here for five-plus years now. So what is it??

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): That has been the position that's been the toughest to figure out for the Ravens. But the Ravens haven't really used a high pick on wide receivers recently. Since 2008, the only WR taken in the first three rounds has been Torrey Smith. The Ravens struck out bigger with Mark Clayton (first round), Travis Taylor (first round) and Patrick Johnson (second round). The Ravens have been trying to find hidden WR gems in the fourth round but it hasn't worked out.