(Updated: 2:30 p.m.)
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Needing to trim their 90-man roster down to 80 by Tuesday, the Baltimore Ravens got a head start by cutting nine players on Saturday morning.
The most prominent player to be waived was offensive lineman Oniel Cousins, a third-round selection in the 2008 draft. Maligned for his inability to play tackle, the Ravens shifted Cousins inside to guard where he started in place of the injured Marshal Yanda against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second preseason game. However, newly-signed veteran Mark LeVoir started at guard against Washington on Friday in what appeared to be a bad sign for the UTEP product.
“This decision was made basically last night, so it was thought through,” Harbaugh said. “For him to get a chance now to get out and negotiate his deal and get with a team where he’ll have a chance — personally, I think his future is at guard. I think he can do it, but it’s going to take an opportunity where someone has a need for that guy, and he can get in there and go to work on it. With our situation with Jah [Reid] being young and Mark [LeVoir] coming in, it kind of squeezed him out.”
The second prominent name to be released was receiver Justin Harper, a member of the practice squad the last two seasons. A seventh-round pick from Virginia Tech in 2009, Harper’s 6-foot-3 frame made him an attractive prospect, but his inconsistency catching the football and tendency to try to make one-handed catches frustrated coaches.
Harper dropped a Tyrod Taylor pass at the goal line in the fourth quarter against the Redskins.
The Ravens also waived tight end Jonathan Stupar, offensive lineman Brady Bond, receiver Terrell Zachery, linebacker Anthony Leon, receiver Rodney Bradley, center Ryan Bartholomew, and defensive tackle Cornell Banks.
The timing of the cuts suggests the Ravens wanted to give these nine players an opportunity to catch on with other teams in time to play in the final preseason game and have the opportunity to make another 53-man roster.