(Editor’s note: A line through a names indicates any player who was removed from the preseason roster on Monday afternoon.)
With three preseason games in the books, the Ravens’ 53-man roster picture continues to take shape with final cuts less than a week away and some questions still remaining.
Depth concerns are apparent along the defensive line and in the secondary, which has almost certainly prompted general manager Ozzie Newsome to look for outside help to enhance the roster between now and the start of the season. Meanwhile, the Ravens appear to have some depth at linebacker that could leave one or two incumbents on the outside looking in by the end of the summer.
My current look at the roster suggests 43 players are locks if the deadline to trim the roster to 53 took place today. My rough assessment of the 90 players on the roster lists 16 players on the bubble with at least a decent chance of making the final roster. Not all bubble players are on equal footing, of course, with certain positions lacking quality depth and others enjoying an abundance of talent.
Though general manager Ozzie Newsome, head coach John 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 the current 90 players to 75 by 4 p.m. Tuesday and must go down to the regular-season number of 53 by Saturday.
Take a look at last week’s roster projection to see whose stock is up and who might have landed on the wrong side of the bubble after the 23-17 win over Washington.
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. 24. Players listed as injured or suspended are not projected to count against the 53-man roster when final cuts are made.
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
BUBBLE: Keith Wenning
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Wenning not playing at all in the third preseason game provides more evidence that the Ravens are hoping to sneak him through waivers to place him on the practice squad. There are too many other needs to use a roster spot on a third-string quarterback.
RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS (8)
LOCK: Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Forsett, Kyle Juszczyk
Cierre Wood, Fitz Toussaint, Shaun Chapas
SUSPENDED: Ray Rice (will be suspended for the first two games of the regular season)
Skinny: Forsett landed himself in the lock category after a good showing against Washington as both a blocker and a rusher. His presence becomes even more important if Pierce takes some time to recover from the concussion he sustained on Saturday night.
WIDE RECEIVERS (11)
LOCK: Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown
BUBBLE: Michael Campanaro, Kamar Aiken, Deonte Thompson
LONG SHOT: Jeremy Butler,
LaQuan Williams, Mike Willie, Jace Davis
Skinny: Aiken saw more playing time than Thompson Saturday, but the latter took advantage of an opportunity for the second straight week by catching a 21-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Thompson’s ability as a backup kick returner gives him the slight edge with Aiken not even catching a pass over the last two games, but this battle isn’t over yet.
TIGHT ENDS (5)
LOCK: Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore
BUBBLE: Owen Daniels, Nathan Overbay
LONG SHOT: Phillip Supernaw
Skinny: Considered a lock throughout the summer, Daniels’ leg fatigue and two-week absence from practice make you wonder if he’s going to be the factor many had assumed when he signed a one-year contract. The 31-year-old’s track record speaks for itself, but Daniels wasn’t exactly impressing on the practice field before his current issues began.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (16)
LOCK: Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah, Marshal Yanda, Rick Wagner, Gino Gradkowski, John Urschel, Jah Reid
BUBBLE: A.Q. Shipley, James Hurst, Ryan Jensen
Will Rackley, Brett Van Sloten, Reggie Stephens, David Mims, Parker Graham
Skinny: If Reid’s concussion sidelines him much longer, Hurst could find himself on the 53-man roster, but Harbaugh already said Reid had earned the third tackle job before he injured his head. Shipley took 18 offensive snaps while Jensen played only eight on Saturday night, leading you to believe that Jensen could be destined for the practice squad.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (12)