Even with consecutive drafts loaded at wideout, many teams are still hungry at the position, including the Kansas City Chiefs. Top free agents like Torrey Smith have to be at least be considered given the lack of any field-stretching options on the offense. Unfortunately it's likely going to require significant cash to get him.
The Ravens have publicly said they'd love to have him back at the right price, so the market will determine whether or not the team that drafted him stays involved in the bidding. For a team dependent on veteran Steve Smith at WR, it would be a noticeable dropoff to lose one Smith and see the other decline, so expect the Ravens to stay in the hunt as long as possible.
So what exactly does Torrey Smith bring to the table? We recently asked Matthew Stevens of Baltimore Beatdown about the potential of the 26-year-old receiver.
What will fans love about Smith?
Stevens: Torrey Smith is a guy with freak athletic talent. At a time when we are paying so much attention to the Combine, it is important to note that Smith ran a 4.43 40-yard time and unlike so many other athletes that see that speed never translate to the football field, Smith's average reception is an astounding 16.9 yards per reception with the 2013 season seeing him ranked fifth overall in yards per reception.
On the flip side...?
Stevens: The same things that haunted him coming into the draft are the same things that haunt him and the Ravens to this day. An average route runner with (at best) inconsistent hands means that the speedster has yet to live up to the potential that he has. That was never more noticeable than in 2014 when the addition of Steve Smith saw an immediate decrease in production from Torrey Smith. Simply put, if quarterback Joe Flacco has more consistent options on the field, he'll throw there. Number one receivers don't see that type of production dip due to the addition of a 35-year-old receiver.
Is Smith a number one wideout?
Stevens: If Ravens fans are honest with themselves, Torrey Smith is not a number one receiver and will likely never develop into one. He's a deep threat almost solely and while the Ravens have the quarterback to take advantage of that, it isn't something that I can see a cash-strapped Ravens team spending a lot of money on. There are guys in this draft that are faster, have more consistent hands and can run routes. In fact, there are quite a few guys out there that can do all of those things, including some that might be in the Ravens' range for the first round.
The intangible things that Torrey Smith does for the Ravens is what gives him a better chance of remaining a Raven. Between grabbing interference calls and being a huge presence in both the locker room and in the community, the Ravens would love to keep Smith in Baltimore as a rock of what the Ravens truly represent.
So what will Smith bring on the open market?
Stevens: I personally look towards a guy like Mike Wallace as an indicator since Smith and Wallace were in similar roles for their offense. While Wallace certainly has the stats on his side, and everyone can agree that his deal was a mistake for the Dolphins, it doesn't really excuse that this deal will be a few years after Wallace's and that there is always a team out there looking to make a big splash on a receiver with the physical tools and the tons of potential that Smith possesses.
It could be a team like the Oakland Raiders that jump on the bidding bandwagon or it could be a more established team that thinks adding a deep threat could "put them over the top", but there is almost always one team out there that overvalues a Ravens bit player. Just look at guys like Paul Kruger and Michael Oher for recent examples of guys getting contracts worth far more than they should have and then either being cut almost immediately or finding themselves with a second stringer's production.
So will Smith end up staying or leaving?
Stevens: In the end, I just don't think the Ravens have the cap space available to drop big money on Smith and I think that some other team will come knocking on the door with a blank check. Torrey Smith could stick around if the Ravens don't let him get to the free agency period and are able to convince him that Baltimore is his home and that he could be a part of bigger things here than elsewhere. The Ravens love using the 80/20 rule (80% of the production for 20% of the cost) and if they feel like they could get a receiver in this draft class that could provide what Smith provides, I doubt that he sticks around without taking a major hit to his potential paycheck.