Will the Ravens pursue Devin Hester in Free Agency?Posted on March 05, 2014 by Slater Jackson
With free agency just around the corner there is much speculation as to who the Ravens will target. Historically Baltimore has not made big splashes during this period, rather waiting for value to shake loose later on in the process. But one consistent trend is that Baltimore has always brought in quality special teams players who can also contribute as role players on either offense or defense. Past players such as Corey Graham and Jacoby jones were brought in primarily for their special team’s ability but worked their way into playing time on their respective units. Head coach John Harbaugh likes difference makers on special teams and in this year’s free agent class the greatest returner in NFL history is out there in Devin Hester.
Hester is a remarkable athlete and has ripped off some highlight reel returns since entering the league in 2006. With 5 kick return and 13 punts returned for touchdowns, Hester is undeniably a weapon on special teams who can flip the script at any point of a game. With 8 of those returns being made taken over 80 yards to the house, Hester is Houdini in the backfield as he creates space out of nowhere. Such is Hester’s returning prowess that teams have stopped kicking the ball to him of late but even when the rare slice finds its way into the field of play he can make a move and gain big yards.
The knock on Hester is his lack of ability in the receiving game, as he has not produced to his potential on offense. Averaging 31 receptions and 400 yards per season since entering the league he is not a no.1 receiver or even a no.2. His best work has been done whilst in the slot working in screen type plays that give him a lot of room to move and hit the open field. Showing flashes of potential to line up and make plays his route running is adequate, but he makes more plays beating coverage with speed than savvy.
If the Ravens were to bring in Hester it would be for his return skills and as a role player on offense. Baltimore will likely bring in through free agency or the draft another quality outside receiver and Hester would be a part time receiver on offense. With the Ravens main returner Jacoby Jones set to hit the free agent market, it makes sense for Baltimore to upgrade at the position with the best to ever do it.