Finding Campanaro's Place in the Ravens' Offense

Stacy Revere

After being selected by the Ravens in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Michael Campanaro has the summer to carve out a place for himself in Baltimore's offense.

Nestled between Baltimore and Washington D.C. sits the affluent suburb of Clarksville, MD. The local high school, River Hill, is just 23 miles from M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens. Growing up so close to the city, Michael Campanaro always dreamed of playing for his hometown team. He got his wish on May 10 when the Ravens traded back into the seventh round of the NFL Draft to select him.

With the draft behind him, Campanaro now has to focus on securing a roster spot, given that late round picks are not always a lock to make the team. Luckily, Baltimore was reportedly impressed by Campanaro's workout, and specifically jumped back into the seventh round to grab him, so his immediate future seems secure.

Ravens' assistant general manager Eric DeCosta went as far as to compare Campanaro to the likes of Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. Even with management's support, he still has to climb a depth chart that right now puts him as at best the fifth wideout. Ahead of him would be starters Torrey Smith and Steve Smith, and backups Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones. This of course doesn't include tight ends Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels, as well as running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.

Taking all of these players into account, that would put Campanaro as the ninth offensive option on a team that is surprisingly deep at the skill positions. It sure seems like the former Demon Deacon star will be relegated to the special teams unit this year. Let's take a look at the Ravens' contract situation at the receiver position to see when Camp will get the chance to pick up some offensive snaps.

2014 Cap Hit 2015 2016 2017
Torrey Smith $1,078,392 UFA - -
Steve Smith $2,166,666 $4,166,666 $4,166,668 UFA
Jacoby Jones $1,875,000 $3,375,000 $3,375,000 $3,375,000
Marlon Brown $406,666 $496,666 $586,668 UFA

All salary data courtesy of spotrac.com

As you can see, the Ravens have a solid receiving corps for a pretty reasonable price; they're paying just over $5.5 million in 2014 for the above quartet. Torrey Smith, playing out the final year of his rookie deal, will be due quite a big raise in the near future. Baltimore is likely going to want to lock him up sooner rather than later.

Steve Smith just inked a three-year contract with Baltimore, but already at age 35, he might not even play out its entirety. Jones signed a four-year contract this offseason and Brown is on a rookie deal after going undrafted out of of Georgia.

So with the exception of Steve Smith, the Ravens' receivers look set for the next few years. The upside for Campanaro is that if Smith goes down with an injury or retires, he could pick up a lot of his snaps in the slot. Expect Smith to play the majority of his snaps there this season, given that Torrey Smith, Jones and Brown all function better spread out wide.

As always, check back with Blogger So Dear for any updates on Michael Campanaro and other Deacons in the NFL.

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