Brandon Marshall should be Ravens #1 target

February 22, 2010 | Peter Dilutis

The word from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King today, is that Brandon Marshall could very well be had for a 2nd round pick.

There has been a lot of talk around here about some combination of Marshall, Terrell Owens, Malcolm Floyd, Anquan Boldin, a 1st or 2nd round draft pick, and so on.

Previously, the argument for trading for Boldin, or for signing TO, was that it would not cost the team a 1st round pick. With Ozzie’s history in the first round, it can be argued that a first rounder means more to the Ravens than most other teams.

While I would trade a first rounder for Marshall if need be, I can certainly understand the other side of the argument.

That being said, if the Ravens can get Brandon Marshall for a 2nd round pick, there is no reason for Marshall not to then be their #1 target of the offseason.

Brandon Marshall is a multi-dimensional receiver. He is a top deep threat, and is a perfect WR to run a go route down the sideline, and  either get past the defense for a TD, or fight for a jump ball. He is a guy who in Denver’s offense routinely would get a screen pass and run for a solid gain. Marshall is also a very solid blocker for a WR.

This guy can do it all. He is a young, big, fast target.

He will be 26 years old for the duration of the 2010-2011 season. For the past 3 years, Marshall has put up over 1100 yards.

Marshall is a guy who will be covered by the #1 cornerback a great majority of the time, but he also will require a double team in many situations throughout the course of a game.

Imagine what Ray Rice could do running against a 7 man front, following his performance last year against a stacked box throughout the majority of games.

If the Ravens can acquire Marshall, all they would need to do is bring back Mason, and they are set for the season at the WR position.

They would have a multi-dimensional, legitimate #1 in Marshall on the outside. They would have the option of having Mason, perhaps the top possession WR, and one of the best #2 WR’s  in the league, either lined on the other side, or in the slot. Then, you have the added dimension of Stallworth, who can stretch the field, and who routinely puts up some of the best YAC numbers in the league.

Marshall, Mason, Stallworth, and Clayton represents a complex, highly talented group of WR’s.

That is the kind of receiving core that Joe Flacco needs to have at his disposal, if he is going to develop and reach his full potential.

That is the kind or receiving core that can win a shootout. With those WR’s on the field, you will not see the Ravens go through games, such as Pittsburgh in the 2009 playoffs, and Indy in the 2010 playoffs, with literally no WR option downfield due to a lack of separation.

Marshall is a guy who is always going to be an option on every single play. With the ability of Marshall to stretch the field and take multiple defenders with him, all of a sudden Derrick Mason has some daylight to work with. Similar to the space Ray Rice will see, imagine how Mason will do up against the 2nd or 3rd CB, after going up against the top corner each and every game the past 2 years.

Many fans may point to the potential roadblock being Marshall’s off the field behavior or distractions.

A week ago, I would have disagreed with the theory that those potential distractions should stop the Ravens from going after Marshall, but I would have acknowledged that they very well could be an issue.

That being said, the Ravens signed a guy in Donte Stallworth, whose actions resulted in a death. Now, I do not think Stallworth is a bad guy, for doing what he did. It was an accident. Stallworth did the same thing in getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink, that millions of people do each and every night, and unfortunately was very unlucky.

As unlucky as Stallworth was, and as good of a guy he may be, the bottom line is that many people look at him as a murderer, and will continue to view him as such. The questions will be there all season. There will be chants of murderer, drunk, and so on, around the team for the duration of the season.

All of that is the result of signing a guy in Stallworth, who certainly offers the opportunity for reward, but whose highest potential reward pales in comparison to what Marshall can provide, both presently and long-term. If the Ravens were fine with taking a chance on Stallworth, I see no reason why they would not and should not take the same “chance” on Brandon Marshall, who represents a huge reward, and who has never been convicted of a crime.

Another point to make, is with his age, Marshall is only 4 years older than some draft picks. I am not someone who likes to play fantasy football in real life, similar to the Redskins recent style, of trading draft picks for expensive stars year after year. But Marshall is not a 30 year old player. He is a guy who can be around, and be in his peak years, for as long as a potential draft pick. Yes, he will be more expensive, but he also will be contributing right away for a Super Bowl caliber team.

The chances of the Ravens making the Super Bowl would increase dramatically with the addition of Brandon Marshall, and I do not see how that point can really be disputed.

Certainly, there will be much talk in the coming weeks regarding all of the WR options out there. There are many pros and many cons for each possible move, and each possible combination.

Marshall represents the best talent of all the potential options.

If any team ever is going to be one player improved from the previous year away from the Super Bowl, I feel that the 2010 Ravens (and the 2009 Ravens for that matter) have to be in the discussion to be that team.

That one player  is a legitimate, #1 WR. Brandon Marshall is that type of a player.

Getting that player, and becoming a legitimate Super Bowl contender with no obvious holes on the roster, for a 2nd round pick, should be a no brainer.