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Harbaugh on Ravens receivers: 'We want tough guys'

The Baltimore Ravens plan to be the most run-heavy offense in the NFL in 2019 with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Coach John Harbaugh understands that ground-ground-ground game-plan might turn off some receiving targets from signing in Baltimore.

"You're not going to be a certain type of receiver and want to come play in Baltimore," coach John Harbaugh said at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix this week, via ESPN. "We have not received phone calls from some guys. That's OK. I don't want to hear from those guys. We want rough guys, we want tough guys."

Jackson, who is currently working out with receivers in Florida, preferred targeting tight ends and backs in his rookie campaign. The Ravens' receiving corps went dark after Jackson took over for the final seven games. Of the quarterback's 158 pass attempts after he earned the starting role, wide receivers were targeted an NFL-low 45 times, per ESPN, well under the league average of 80 in that span.

John Brown and Michael Crabtree went from threats to afterthoughts to ex-Ravens in the process.

Baltimore's current collection of receivers is led by Willie Snead and Chris Moore. Neither keeps defensive coordinators up at night. The depth chart is filled out by second-year players Jordan Lasley, Jaleel Scott, and former undrafted wideout Quincy Adeboyejo.

Harbaugh pointed to the draft as a place where Baltimore could bolster its wideout crew. Receiver, however, has been a notoriously difficult position for some rookies to make a big immediate impact. In that vain, Harbaugh said he expects Lasley and Scott to make a leap in their second seasons, saying he has "high expectations" for the green players.

"We may not have household names right now, but they'll be household names soon," Harbaugh said of his receiving corps, per the team's official website.

The coach believes there is an opening in Baltimore for someone to turn heads in 2019.

"The counterargument I would make to the naysayers, because of the offense we're going to run and the skills of the quarterback that we have, you're going to get open. You're going to be more wide open," Harbaugh said. "And if you're the kind of guy that wants to catch a ball and go run for a touchdown, if that's something that appeals to you as a wide receiver, then maybe Baltimore is a place you want to think about. Because you're going to have an opportunity to do that."

The question is whether that argument can entice a player in the third wave of free agency who is looking for a prove-it deal to re-enter the market next offseason after a big 2019 campaign. If not, the Ravens are looking like they'll enter the summer with Willie Snead as the No. 1 wideout.

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