Sizing up the 2017 Ravens roster before the second preseason game

August 13, 2017 | Luke Jones

With the preseason opener against Washington in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to examine the Ravens’ 53-man roster for the first time since the end of mandatory minicamp in mid-June.

My current look at the roster suggests 40 players are locks if the deadline to trim the roster to 53 took place today. My assessment of the 90 players currently on the preseason roster lists 21 players on the bubble. Not all bubble players are created equal, however, with certain positions lacking depth and others enjoying more talent.

Though general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh, and the remainder of the coaching staff and front office are cognizant of maintaining a reasonable number of players at every position, trying to boldly designate a specific number of wide receivers or linebackers or safeties isn’t the most accurate way of projecting the roster. In filling out the back end of the roster, the Ravens look carefully at players’ special-teams contributions in addition to what they bring to their respective positions.

Unlike the past few years, teams are no longer required to trim their 90-man roster to 75 prior to the final preseason game. The Ravens must determine their initial 53-man roster by 4 p.m. on Sept. 2, but immediate changes often come in the days leading up to the season opener on Sept. 10.

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 part of the projected 53-man roster as of Aug. 13.

QUARTERBACKS (4)
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: Dustin Vaughan, Josh Woodrum
Skinny: Depending on Flacco’s health, the Ravens could carry three quarterbacks into a season for the first time since 2009, but they would need to upgrade from Vaughan or Woodrum to justify doing so.

RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS (8)
LOCK: Terrance West, Danny Woodhead
BUBBLE: Lorenzo Taliaferro, Buck Allen, Bobby Rainey
LONG SHOT: Ricky Ortiz, Taquan Mizzell
INJURED RESERVE: Kenneth Dixon
Skinny: Finding an upgrade at fullback or another viable running back is certainly a possibility, but Taliaferro provides game-day versatility at either position and Allen has looked better this summer.

WIDE RECEIVERS (12)
LOCK: Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore
BUBBLE: Quincy Adeboyejo, Michael Campanaro, Keenan Reynolds, Chris Matthews
LONG SHOT: Griff Whalen, Kenny Bell, C.J. Board
INJURED RESERVE: Tim White
Skinny: How quickly Perriman recovers from a hamstring injury and Campanaro’s inability to stay healthy are variables that could alter the outlook at this position between now and early September.

TIGHT ENDS (6)
LOCK: Nick Boyle, Benjamin Watson
BUBBLE: Maxx Williams, Vince Mayle, Larry Donnell
LONG SHOT: Ryan Malleck
Skinny: Williams hasn’t moved well and could conceivably wind up on IR if his knee doesn’t hold up, which could open the door for Mayle and even a post-Week 1 addition like Donnell or another veteran.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (16)
LOCK: Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley, Ryan Jensen, James Hurst, Austin Howard, Matt Skura, Jermaine Eluemunor
BUBBLE:  De’Ondre Wesley, Stephane Nembot
LONG SHOT: Jarell Broxton, Jarrod Pughsley, Roubbens Joseph, Maurquice Shakir, Derrick Nelson
INJURED RESERVE: Alex Lewis, Nico Siragusa
Skinny: This group could really use another veteran upgrade or two between now and the start of the season after losing three key interior linemen since the start of training camp.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LOCK: Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Brent Urban, Chris Wormley, Bronson Kaufusi
BUBBLE: Carl Davis, Willie Henry, Patrick Ricard
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: The defensive line is the deepest positional group on either side of the ball, making it a distinct possibility that Newsome attempts to trade from this strength to reinforce another position of need.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (8)
LOCK: C.J. Mosley, Kamalei Correa, Albert McClellan, Patrick Onwuasor
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: Brennen Beyer, Bam Bradley, Donald Payne, Lamar Louis
Skinny: There doesn’t appear to be much drama with this group from a roster standpoint, but don’t sleep on the undersized Onwuasor to push Correa for playing time, especially in the nickel package.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (7)
LOCK: Terrell Suggs, Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams
BUBBLE: Za’Darius Smith
LONG SHOT: Boseko Lokombo, Randy Allen
Skinny: Given the newfound youth at this position and McClellan’s ability to play both outside spots, Smith could be the odd man out or even a candidate to be traded for depth at another position.

CORNERBACKS (11)
LOCK: Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey
BUBBLE: Jaylen Hill, Sheldon Price, Brandon Boykin, Robertson Daniel
LONG SHOT: Trevin Wade, Reggie Porter
INJURED RESERVE: Tavon Young, Maurice Canady (designated to return candidate)
Skinny: The long-term injuries to Young and Canady have put Hill in good roster position, but a vested veteran like Boykin could still be signed after Week 1 when his full 2017 salary isn’t guaranteed.

SAFETIES (6)
LOCK: Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Lardarius Webb, Anthony Levine
BUBBLE: Chuck Clark
LONG SHOT: Otha Foster
Skinny: Clark has been a mainstay on special teams and feels like a solid bet to stick around while Webb and Levine provide much-needed versatility by being able to play the nickel and dime spots.

SPECIALISTS (4)
LOCK: Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: Kenny Allen
Skinny: There’s nothing to ponder here.