Mocking The 53: A Positional Breakdown of Ravens Roster

June 08, 2011 | Glenn Clark

Safeties (4):
Ed Reed
Dawan Landry
Tom Zbikowski
Haruki Nakamura

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Much like Lewis, we must legally include the term “he’s not getting any younger” when we reference Reed. With that said, the All-Pro safety lead the league in interceptions (8) despite playing in just ten games. After dealing with the tragedy of his brother (Kevin Reed)’s sudden death during the postseason, Reed did not decide to retire from the game. That’s good news for everyone in Baltimore.

As a 5th year player, Landry is waiting in anticipation this offseason. If a new CBA is worked out, he will likely become a free agent and could stand to make good money on the open market. While Landry has never been a particularly standout performer, he has always been solid and will benefit from playing for a very good defense. The Ravens probably wouldn’t match the money that could be offered elsewhere to bring him back knowing they have depth at the position. Of course, if the league is forced to play under 2010 rules Landry would not become a free agent and would be back in Baltimore.

Should Landry depart, either Zbikowski (pictured above) or Nakamura could be an option to play his position. Nakamura is the more likely option as Zbikowski is a more natural free safety, but both would likely get the opportunity in whatever form of preseason the league uses. Zbikowski made the wise decision to stop his offseason pro boxing career early, giving him the chance to focus solely on helping his team try to win the AFC North.

Cornerbacks (10):
Jimmy Smith
Domonique Foxworth
Josh Wilson
Lardarius Webb
Chris Carr (UFA)
Cary Williams
Chykie Brown
Fabian Washington (UFA)
Danny Gorrer
Marcus Paschal

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Make no mistake. The Ravens believe Smith (pictured above with Newsome), their first round pick out of Colorado, to be capable of immediately becoming a Number 1 corner in this league. Whether or not the 6’2″ CB will reach the level of Ravens great Chris McAlister (or will be remembered for off the field troubles like McAlister late in his career) will be up to him. The team certainly appears to be willing to make him “the guy” however.

After Smith, the team has a solid group of corners fighting for playing time. Foxworth was the team’s top corner in 2009 but suffered a torn ACL on the first day of Training Camp and missed the entire 2010 season. He’ll likely step back in as a starter, especially considering his hefty (nearly) $8 million annual salary. Fellow former Terrapins corner Wilson came on midway to late during the 2010 season after being acquired in a trade from the Seattle Seahawks. He’s also a potential free agent if a new CBA is put into place and could become a casualty if there is a salary cap in 2011.

Webb bounced back from a torn ACL in 2009 to again become a solid contributor in 2010. He also offered inspired play as a punt returner in 2010, which certainly helps his value. Webb may never be a legitimate starting corner in the NFL, but he’s certainly been capable early in his career.

Carr will be a free agent no matter what happens with the lockout. While he’s been a very good player during his time in Baltimore, he may also be a player the team is forced to allow sign for better money elsewhere as they now have a crowd at the position.

The team liked Williams enough to keep him on the active roster in 2010 despite a suspension to start the season. Williams has decent size (6’1″), but has not found a way to keep himself active. He will likely be battling a Brown for a roster spot this season, as the team has high hopes for their 5th round pick out of Texas.

Gorrer and Paschal are also on the roster. It would be stunning if either was a major part of the discussion as the team works its way back down to 53 players.

-G

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