The Ravens are hoping for more of the same from Steve L Smith in 2015. In fact, they aren’t just hoping – they’re counting on it.
In one sense, that’s a bit of a dice roll. As ESPN’s Jamison Hensley pointed out Monday, the last 36-year-old NFL receiver to surpass 1,000 yards in a season was Joey Galloway in 2007. It’s only happened five times in league history. There does seem to be a ceiling of sorts for receivers his age.
But if anyone is going to become the next guy to do it, it’s probably Smith. Last season, he made more receptions for Baltimore at age 35 than he did for Carolina at age 30 in 2009. He caught 41 passes in the first half of the season and 38 in the second half, so he didn’t wear down. His eight playoff catches included one for a touchdown against Darrelle Revis.
Now the issue becomes how to get the same production from him in 2015. It’s crucial to the Ravens’ prospects, given the relative inexperience of their other receivers.
Smith was the #20 WR in standard formats and #18 in PPR, but he did most of his damage in the first six weeks of the season when he was the #3 and #4 overall receiver, respectively. He was a fantasy WR4 the rest of the way, though he did have his moments. The Ravens can’t afford to put Smith out to pasture because they let Torrey Smith walk in free agency and the team’s receiver corps is severely lacking experience. Smith has some upside given his ADP (8th/9th round) and the arrival of pass-happy OC Marc Trestman, who should be able to figure out how to best utilize Smith’s skill set.