LOCK: Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, Arthur Jones, Brandon Williams, Pernell McPhee
BUBBLE: Terrence Cody, DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore (injured reserve candidate), Will Pericak
LONG SHOT: Cody Larsen
Skinny: Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks has plenty of pieces to work with in the trenches, but figuring out where everyone fits will be a compelling story of the preseason. Cody is likely safe as he enters the final year of his rookie contract since the Ravens don’t have many clear candidates to play nose tackle beyond the rookie Williams and Ngata on occasion, but the 2010 second-round pick will need to play catchup after missing OTAs and minicamp while recovering from hip surgery. Pericak received the largest signing bonus of any of the Ravens’ undrafted rookies, so he’ll be one to watch during the preseason.
LOCK: Jameel McClain, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Terrell Suggs, Arthur Brown, Daryl Smith, John Simon, Josh Bynes, Albert McClellan
BUBBLE: Adrian Hamilton, Nigel Carr, Bryan Hall
LONG SHOT: Spencer Adkins, D.J. Bryant, Brandon Copeland, Meshak Williams
Skinny: There doesn’t appear to be too much drama in terms of which linebackers will grab roster spots, but determining who will line up at inside linebacker remains one of the great questions of the preseason as McClain has yet to be officially cleared from a spinal cord contusion suffered last December. The free-agent addition of the veteran Smith knocked Bynes and McClellan down a peg in the hierarchy, but both are strong special-teams players, which helps them maintain “lock” status.
LOCK: Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Corey Graham, Chykie Brown
BUBBLE: Asa Jackson, Marc Anthony, Chris Johnson, Moe Lee
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: The top four are set, but it will be interesting to see who emerges from the bubble group to grab roster spots. Jackson’s ability as a returner should help his cause while Johnson’s veteran savvy would figure to give him a mental edge over the other three young players. The undrafted Lee was praised by secondary coach Teryl Austin during the spring, so he’ll be an underdog to watch during training camp.
LOCK: Michael Huff, Matt Elam, James Ihedigbo
BUBBLE: Omar Brown, Christian Thompson, Anthony Levine
LONG SHOT: Brynden Trawick, Gary Walker
Skinny: Most expect Elam to beat out Ihedigbo for the starting strong safety job before the season begins, but the battle between Brown, Thompson, and Levine for the fourth safety spot should be a good one. A fourth-round pick in 2012, Thompson has been a disappointment to this point and you can look no further than the signings of Huff and Ihedigbo as well as the selection of Elam in the first round in determining there isn’t much faith in him being much more than a special-teams player. The South Carolina State product is also suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, another factor that could send him packing by the end of the summer.
LOCK: Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: The Ravens are likely to add another kicker to the roster to share practice reps with Koch and Tucker in the summer, but this group is as solid as you’ll find anywhere on the field.