Now that Jeremy Maclin has concluded his brief free agency tour and joined the Baltimore Ravens on a two-year deal, it’s time to project with precision how he’ll fare in Marty Mornhinweg’s system in 2017. Who better to turn to for a perspective on Baltimore’s prospects this season than the team’s second-leading receiver from 2016 and the man whose shoes Maclin will soon fill?

NFL Network’s Steve Smith aided in the recruitment of Maclin to Charm City, posing for a picture and discussing the attributes of the city with the recently released Chiefs wideout last week. So it’s no surprise that the future Hall of Famer thinks Maclin will be a perfect fit with the Ravens.


“I look at it as why it’s a good fit is they obviously have a void that they feel like on paper, as far as losing a guy — myself,” Smith explained on Monday’s edition of Up to the Minute Live.

“They have an elite quarterback [Joe Flacco] — some people may disagree, but very few people win the MVP of the Super Bowl that aren’t elite — so they have that. They have a strong running game. They rebuilt their defense a little bit through free agency but mainly through the draft with some good picks.

“So they felt like the best way to neutralize and combat a good defense is by scoring points, and Jeremy Maclin gives them that opportunity to score a lot of points.”

This isn’t the first time the Ravens have dug into the old wideout well to provide a sure-handed option for Flacco and rejuvenate a receiver’s career; in fact, it’s general manager Ozzie Newsome’s calling card.

Ravens fans are likely agitated that Baltimore has yet to truly draft and develop a great wide receiver, but it can be placated by Newsome’s proficiency in acquiring the right veteran fit. If healthy, Maclin can fulfill that role and immediately fill Smith’s shoes as the X receiver.

As Smith alluded to, Baltimore checked nearly every box this offseason except at wide receiver; the Ravens bolstered the secondary with Tony Jefferson, Brandon Carr and rookie Marlon Humphrey, and added Danny Woodhead to an interesting running back room. With Maclin pacing the wideouts and drawing attention underneath, the Ravens hope the offense can finally open up for Breshad Perriman, who is in desperate need of a breakout season, Mike Wallace and, in turn, Flacco.

If Smith is right, Maclin is the final piece to the puzzle, but it’s up to coach John Harbaugh and Co. to put it all together and take back the AFC North.

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