At 31, Anquan Boldin is the elder statesman in the Baltimore Ravens receiving corps.
Some of his fellow receivers were in middle school when he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2003.
The majority of the receiving corps- Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, David Reed, Laquan Williams and rookie Tommy Streeter- don’t have as much combined pro experience as Boldin.
With the signing of Jacoby Jones, he brings experience to the group. Although Jones has five years of NFL experience under his belt, he’ll be learning a whole new offensive system, meaning the 27-year-old will also likely look to Boldin as a mentor throughout the offseason.
When Boldin was acquired by the Ravens during the 2010 offseason, the receivers on the team were older. The team had Derrick Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Boldin was the new face on a roster full of veteran talent.
Last year, however, the team let Mason and Houshmandzadeh go, which made Boldin the senior citizen in a group full of young receivers.
Boldin will have to serve as more than just a mentor and leader this season.
In order for the Ravens offense to continue moving forward, Boldin will have to put up the numbers he’s shown he’s been capable of producing in past seasons.
Despite missing the final two regular season games last year, Boldin was the team’s top receiver with 57 receptions for 887 yards. Moreover, he showed he still had the ability to single-handedly take over games, like he did against the Cardinals when he hauled in seven catches for 145 yards, helping the Ravens rally back from a 21-point deficit.
Furthermore, Boldin’s 15.6 yards per catch average last season was a career-best, better than of his years in Arizona, where he routinely topped 1,000 yards a season.
Boldin, along with several other aging Ravens stars, has defied father time and shows no signs of slowing down in the near future.