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As the Ravens regroup from a poor performance by their starting units in the second preseason game against Atlanta, it’s difficult to determine how much has really changed since the last look at the roster following the preseason opener.
The free-agent additions of veterans Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark have altered the landscape of the wide receiver and tight end positions, but coach John Harbaugh insisted no guarantees have been made for either in terms of spots on the 53-man roster and we haven’t seen enough of them to get an accurate read on their current ability level. However, the performance of the other options on the roster would suggest Stokley and Clark are safe bets to make the team.
My current look at the roster suggests 41 healthy players are locks if the deadline to trim the roster to 53 took place today. My rough assessment of the 90 players currently on the roster lists 25 players on the bubble with at least some decent chance of making the final roster. Not all bubble players are on equal footing, with certain positions lacking quality depth and others enjoying an abundance of talent.
Though general manager Ozzie Newsome, Harbaugh, and the remainder of the coaching staff and front office are cognizant of the number of players at each position, trying to pinpoint a specific number of wide receivers or linebackers isn’t the most accurate way of projecting the roster. The Ravens will always look carefully at players’ special-teams abilities in addition to what they bring to their specific positional group.
The Ravens must trim the roster from 90 players to 75 on Aug. 27 and will go down to the regular-season number of 53 on Aug. 31.
The numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of players currently on the roster at that given position. Bubble players’ names that are underlined are currently on my projected 53-man roster as of Aug. 17. Players listed as injured or suspended are not projected to count against the 53-man roster when final cuts are made on Aug. 31.
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
LONG SHOT: Caleb Hanie
Skinny: Nothing to see here other than another solid performance by Taylor in the second preseason game, further strengthening his hold on the backup quarterback spot. Hanie didn’t even play against Atlanta, another indication that his chances of sticking as a third quarterback are remote at best.
RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS (7)
LOCK: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Vonta Leach, Kyle Juszczyk
BUBBLE: Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey
LONG SHOT: Damien Berry
Skinny: Allen is too valuable as a special-teams player and Rainey is too one-dimensional in that capacity because he won’t unseat Jacoby Jones as the return specialist, likely landing him on the practice squad if he’s not claimed by another team.
WIDE RECEIVERS (12)
LOCK: Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss
BUBBLE: Brandon Stokley, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams, David Reed, Aaron Mellette, Marlon Brown
LONG SHOT: Tommy Streeter, Rashaad Carter, Gerrard Sheppard
Skinny: The wide receiver and tight end positions have given everyone headaches trying to project who’s in and out. While the second tier of receivers will jockey for roster spots, Streeter is easily one of this camp’s biggest disappointments as he’s not even receiving many reps with the second-team offense during practices.
TIGHT ENDS (7)
LOCK: Ed Dickson
BUBBLE: Dallas Clark, Visanthe Shiancoe, Matt Furstenburg, Billy Bajema
LONG SHOT: Alex Silvestro
INJURED: Dennis Pitta (will eventually be placed on injured reserve with a chance that he’ll receive the designation to return)
Skinny: Included as a lock in my last projection, Shiancoe can’t feel good about the addition of Clark or his disappointing performance in the first two preseason games, which has put him on the bubble. The Ravens need a tight end with a better ability to block, making Furstenburg the surprising pick here over Shiancoe for now, but much will depend on the status of Dickson when final decisions are made at the end of the month.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (17)
LOCK: Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Bryant McKinnie, Kelechi Osemele, Gino Gradkowski, A.Q. Shipley, Jah Reid
BUBBLE: Ramon Harewood, Rick Wagner
LONG SHOT: Jack Cornell, Antoine McClain, Jordan Devey, Rogers Gaines, David Mims, J.J. Unga, Reggie Stephens
INJURED: Ryan Jensen (will likely be placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken foot in the first week of camp)
Skinny: Gradkowski appeared to take a clear advantage in the center competition after a poor showing from Shipley, who received the start with the first-team offensive line Thursday night. Despite dealing with swelling in his knee, Harewood has performed well this summer to solidify his roster standing.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)