It seems the injury bug that is ravaging the Baltimore Ravens roster will spare no-one, not even the seemingly durable Joe Flacco.
The Ravens quarterback tore his ACL and MCL during the Ravens' 16-13 win against the St. Louis Rams when team-mate James Hurst rolled up on Flacco's left leg; effectively ending the quarterback's year.
Despite tearing two ligaments in his leg, Flacco continued to play out the drive, to avoid clock management issues, and led the Ravens to the game-winning field goal. It was symbolic of the Ravens' season this year, despite multiple crucial injuries and playoff hopes all but gone, the team continues to battle.
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During the offseason, many, including myself, viewed the Ravens as a team destined to be in contention for the AFC North crown.
But, since the season opener, the Ravens have been dealt body blow after body blow in the form of devastating injuries that the team cannot realistically overcome.
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With the addition of Flacco and running back Justin Forsett - who broke his arm during the game - the Ravens will now have 17 players on season-ending IR.
Some significant names include; linebacker Terrell Suggs, safety Matt Elam, center Jeremy Zuttah, receiver Steve Smith Sr. and rookie receiver Brashad Perriman.
Potential draft picks next season
With this plethora of injuries, the Ravens look to be in prime position for a top five draft pick this upcoming year.
They'll likely use it to aid the relatively weak skill positions, in order to contend with the rival Steelers and Bengals who both boast Pro Bowl talent.
Let's take a quick look at some receiving prospects the Ravens could target in the 2016 draft to help bring some firepower back to their offence:
Michael Thomas - Ohio State - 6' 3", 212 Ibs
Thomas is regarded as the best overall receiver in next years draft. With a great combination of size and speed, he can play as both a possession receiver as well as a deep threat.
Laquon Treadwell - Ole Miss - 6' 2", 229 Ibs
Treadwell is not a deep burner, what he is though is a tough grinder who is great when it comes to contestable catches.
He is tough to bring down with the ball in his hands, and has had great success when playing some of the top college defensive backs.
Another interesting caveat is that he is an incredible blocker as a receiver, a skill that NFL teams love especially run oriented teams like the Ravens.
Tyler Boyd - Pittsburgh - 6' 2", 190 Ibs
As a Pitt Panthers fan, I've seen a lot of Boyd and, in my mind, he is going to be a great NFL receiver.
Boyd has broken most of Larry Fitzgerald's Pittsburgh records and he has done that with a great overall package of skills.
Good route running, great hands, great awareness, physicality to beat receivers on contestable catches, and great acrobatic abilities, make Boyd a splash play waiting to happen.
Corey Coleman - Baylor - 5' 10", 190 Ibs
Coleman is a little smaller and lighter than the other top prospects, but that does not mean he is any less of a playmaker.
He has showcased elite speed that, combined with his route running ability, give him the chance to score on any given play.
Coleman could be targeted by the Ravens purely to get some speed back into their receiving core and to give Flacco a deep threat to work with.
Mike Williams - Clemson - 6' 3", 205 Ibs
Williams had the potential to be the best receiver in the draft, had he not suffered a small neck fracture after running into a goalpost during a touchdown play.
While he might not play again in 2015, the receiver would enter the draft with an incredible combination of size, speed, and acrobatic ability to fight for contestable catches.
Those are some receiving options the Ravens could go after in the first couple of rounds.
Of course, reinforcing the offensive line or adding some talent in the defensive backfield could be on the table also, but judging from this season's performance, the Ravens could use some flash in their offence.
While this season has been a huge disappointment for the Ravens, I don't believe, nor should you believe, that head coach John Harbaugh's job should be in question.
If I see his name mentioned anywhere near the term "hot seat" I will have lost faith in the sport's media, because Harbaugh is still a top five coach in this league - and that's coming from a Steelers fan.
While this season may be lost, having a solid place in next year's draft could provide the Ravens with that key player to help take them back to the post-season, and relinquish this devastating year from everyone's memories.
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