Originally posted on The Football Fan Spot  |  Last updated 8/15/12

The great thing about the NFL is that there are so many positions that every year, there is almost always at least one player who has a breakout year on every team, no matter how good or bad the team is. This is the part in a 32 part segment detailing one potential breakout player for the 2012 NFL season on each NFL team. For the Baltimore Ravens, that player is wide receiver Torrey Smith.

Torrey Smith was excellent as a rookie, catching 50 balls for 841 yards and 7 touchdowns and he was even better in his last 7 games, catching 27 balls for 416 yards and 3 touchdowns. Over 16 games, that’s 62 catches for 951 yards and 7 touchdowns. Keep in mind he played all of last season with a double sports hernia.

This is incredibly impressive for a rookie. Discounting Julio Jones and AJ Green, since the 2005 NFL Draft, 22 receivers have gone in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. In their rookie years, they have averaged 37 catches for 524 yards and 3 touchdowns. The leader in rookie production among those 22, strangely Dwayne Bowe, who caught 70 passes for 995 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2007. And Smith did all that as a 2nd round rookie, dealing with a sports hernia all year, coming off a lockout, and functioning as his team’s secondary receiver (90 targets to Anquan Boldin’s 102).

Now that he’s a year older and Anquan Boldin is a year older on the wrong side of 30, Smith should continue to improve as a receiver and establish himself as Baltimore’s clear #1 receiver. We could even see a Mike Wallace/Hines Ward type situation here. As a rookie, Wallace caught 39 passes for 756 yards and 6 touchdowns, while the veteran Ward caught 95 passes for 1167 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, in Wallace’s 2nd season, the tables turned and Wallace caught 60 passes for 1257 yards and 10 touchdowns, while an aging Ward caught 59 passes for 755 yards and 5 touchdowns. Smith should have his first 1000 yard season and with upside to make his 1st Pro Bowl.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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