By Samuel Njoku
Anquan Boldin WR, #81 WR
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 220 lbs
Hometown: Pahokee, FL
College: Florida State
Experience: 10 years
The Ravens have always had a strong defense. The organization spent years looking for two important pieces to a championship contender: quarterback and a receiver. Baltimore would draft Joe Flacco in the 2008 NFL Draft, but it would take two years for them to find a legitimate threat at the wide receiver position. That would be the day they traded for Anquan Boldin. The physical receiver would fit in quite well in Baltimore. Boldin knew going in that he would be disappointed if he came to Baltimore to chase stats. The player known as “Q” came to Baltimore to chase something way more important.
Anquan Boldin spent his collegiate career as a prominent wide receiver at Florida State. Once Boldin realized he had the talent to pursue a career in the NFL, he declared for the draft. In 2003, Anquan Boldin was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2nd round. It didn’t take long for Boldin to leave his mark on the league. In his 1st year, Boldin broke the record for most receiving yards in a single game by a rookie (217 yards). But the accolades wouldn’t stop there for Boldin. In Arizona, his stats became increasingly glaring. The Cardinals had plenty of faith in his abilities as he became the fastest receiver in NFL history to record 300 receptions. Boldin would finish his rookie season with a Pro Bowl selection and the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Boldin’s career blossomed as the years went on. One of the defining moments in his career can also be described as one of the worst. In 2008, Boldin was the victim of a helmet-to-helmet hit that left him with fractured paranasal sinuses. The Cardinals feared he would be out indefinitely, but in only three weeks, he would return and wouldn’t miss a beat as he recorded two touchdown receptions against the Carolina Panthers. Boldin made a statement that day with how tough and resilient of a player he was. He was the type of player that couldn’t let his teammates down. He was the type of player the Baltimore Ravens had to have.
When Baltimore traded for Boldin, it was with the intention to fill a glaring need at wide receiver. GM Ozzie Newsome feared that leaving Joe Flacco without a big-time receiver could severely stunt the growth of their franchise quarterback. With the signing of Boldin, Baltimore finally has the receiver that can garner attention from opposing defenses. He has not had nearly the amount of accolades he accumulated in Arizona. The Ravens have a very different philosophy than that of the Cardinals. With Ray Rice in the back field, Baltimore centers the offense on him, but that doesn’t concern Boldin. He is primarily concerned with the Ravens winning a Championship. Something he fully expects this season. Even after tough losses on back to back weeks.
“We are alright,” Boldin said. “We’re still in the lead for this division. We’re still going to win this division, so we’re OK. We’re still the defending AFC North division champions from last year, and we still got a lot of football left.”
That type of leadership is extremely important in a locker room full of young talent on the offensive side of the ball. If the Ravens are going to win the division, it’ll be up to Boldin to help lead this team on Sundays. That’s something he is more than capable of.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.