Torrey Smith expected to step up for Ravens

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

With Anquan Boldin gone, can Torrey Smith fill the role of No. 1 receiver? Ray Rice thinks so.

Torrey Smith spent a lot of his first two NFL seasons playing role of deep threat. Now, with Anquan Boldin in San Francisco, Smith has been thrust into the role of No. 1 receiver. Ray Rice, for one, said Smith is prepared to step up and fill Boldin's shoes.

Entering his third season, Smith may be poised for a breakout year. He caught 49 passes for 855 yards last season. One of the most effective deep threats in the league, Smith has averaged 17.1 yards per reception in his career. Rice, however, said Smith has the ability to be more than just a deep threat.

"I've seen Torrey Smith get scouted as a guy that just goes deep," Rice said, via The Baltimore Sun. "That's what the scouting report was: ‘Let's defend the deep ball.' But, then I've seen Torrey Smith run intermediate routes. I've seen Torrey Smith line up in the slot. That's what you call a complete No. 1 receiver."

Baltimore has undergone significant changes this offseason and while the Ravens signed a number of players to fill glaring holes, Baltimore did not add to its receiving group. Instead, the Ravens are counting on Smith and the rest of the current depth chart to pick up the slack left by Boldin's departure.

While there will certainly be more opportunities without Boldin on the roster, Smith may not see a huge increase in passes his way, but will instead see a change in his role. He was targeted 110 times last season, just two less than Boldin's 112 targets. Even if his targets go up, in order to truly fill the role of a No. 1 receiver, Smith will have to do more with the opportunities he's given.

He caught just 44.5 percent of targets in 2012 and his 7.8 yards per target were well below the mark of a No. 1 receiver. Running more intermediate routes should boost his catch rate, but Smith will have to prove he can consistently produce without simply using his speed to run by defenders.

No other Ravens wide receiver was targeted more than 54 times last season, so Baltimore is clearly counting on Smith to lead the way. Barring a late addition in free agency or the draft, Smith will likely serve as the No. 1 option with Jacoby Jones sliding into Smith's role as deep-threat. Tandon Doss, David Reed, Deonte Thompson and Tommy Streeter round out the depth chart.

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