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The addition of Torrey Smith with the 58th-overall selection has General Manager Ozzie Newsome dreaming big about the Ravens’ offense.
Throwing the speedy University of Maryland alumnus in with a sure-handed group of receivers that includes Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason should allow quarterback Joe Flacco to fully utilize his talents.
Torrey Smith Speaks with Baltimore Media Right Click for Full Screen Option
“When you add Torrey to the mix, as one of our scouts said, he can peel the top off a defense,” Newsome said shortly after making the pick. “We think we have very athletic tight ends and we know what Mason, Anquan, David Reed and those guys can do. He brings that added dimension to our pass game.
“Joe has the ability to throw the deep ball, so now we’re giving Joe an additional weapon. I think that just opens up our passing game, which makes our running game – which John [Harbaugh, Head Coach] said is going to be good this year – that much better.”
If Smith can fly past cornerbacks and safeties, the other Ravens targets will have an opportunity to focus on what they do best.
Boldin is known for being a terror over the middle, while Mason and Flacco have one of the best connections on out routes in the league. Meanwhile, Reed showed flashes of stellar speed last year, and the Ravens’ trio of tight ends (Todd Heap, Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta) are all versatile pass-catchers.
“You saw the celebration when they had Torrey on TV? I want you to know there was a better celebration in our draft room when we got this player,” Harbaugh told reporters. “This is a guy from the beginning, when we saw this guy on tape, he fits us.”
Lauding Smith’s speed is not a hyperbole.
The former Terrapin ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and consistently showed an ability to get behind the secondary during his three-year stint in College Park.
Smith caught 152 total passes for 2,215 yards and 19 touchdowns, marking an impressive 14.5 –yard average per catch.
Give Smith a seam on a kickoff return, and the Virginia native has the ability to blaze past the coverage, as his school-record three career kickoff return touchdowns and 24.3-yard average can attest.
Smith wants to contribute to both aspects of the game – offense and special teams – at the next level.
“I feel like I can contribute on special teams and as a receiver in general, not just a deep threat,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to learning from guys like Anquan and Mason and trying to take my game to the next level.”
Newsome believes Smith’s penchant for the end zone will lighten up the workload for Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff.
“With everything we already have, we just added the ‘three-point shooter’ I guess you could say,” Newsome said. “At any point, if the ball gets in his hands, Billy’s coming out to kick an extra point.”
Newsome offered a slight comparison in wideout Patrick Johnson, a second-round pick in 1999. Johnson never put up incredible statistics, but his track-star wheels helped Baltimore’s Super Bowl XXXV-winning squad by forcing opponents to respect the deep ball.
Smith will need to adjust to the speed of the professional game, but the Ravens are confident he can do it – and do it fast.
“Now, you add this element to it that strikes fear,” Newsome said. “I don’t like to talk much about history, but Pat Johnson did more for that 2000 team than any of the others.
“People were just so afraid of him getting behind them that he opened up a lot of areas. I think Torrey will be able to do this for our offense.”