Baltimore Ravens: 53-man roster finalized
With Joe Flacco, Breshad Perriman, and Danny Woodhead all returning to practice, the Baltimore Ravens look like a team upward heading into the regular season.
The Baltimore Ravens had to make many cuts, signings for the practice squad, and trades to finalize the roster. The Ravens cut 31 players before the cut deadline on Saturday and put 7 players on injured reserve. They have added 7 players out of 10 total on the practice squad but lost a few players they were hoping for to add to their practice squad.
Baltimore even made two trades for offensive linemen to get better depth and competition. But Baltimore still has time before the opener against the Cincinnati Bengals to set their roster and add to their practice squad. Here is a summary of each position and who was cut, traded for, or added to the practice squad for those positions.
With Joe Flacco back at practice, the Ravens were going to keep 2 quarterbacks. But even though Ryan Mallett’s play in the preseason was underwhelming, the Ravens were going to keep him due to his new one year deal.
But Josh Woodrum had solid play in the preseason and after he was released, the Cleveland Browns claimed him for the practice squad. The Ravens would have kept him if only they did not resign Mallett to his contract extension. Also, the Ravens cut Thaddeus Lewis, who was mostly kept for the preseason/ training camp only.
Running Back Position
The Ravens could make an improvement at this position before the NFL trade deadline; either through free agency or they could trade for a better running back. But as of now, I think they like Terrance West as the starter and Danny Woodhead as the receiving back. It was surprising they kept Javorius “Buck” Allen after last year when he was in John Harbaugh’s doghouse and disappeared with minimal impact on the field. But they gave him a chance after he had a good performance in the preseason and like him as the primary backup. The Ravens cut Bobby Rainey and undrafted rookie Taquan Mizzell out of Virginia. He had good enough games during the preseason running but mostly receiving as a pass catcher. The Ravens most likely wanted him on the practice squad but he was claimed by the Chicago Bears for their practice squad. If Danny Woodhead was an injury concern going into Week 1, the Ravens would have considered keeping Mizzell. The Ravens put Kenneth Dixon on injured reserve who is also suspended. They also added former Seahawks running back Alex Collins, a 5th round pick from Arkansas in the 2016 NFL Draft, to the practice squad.
The Baltimore Ravens are going without a true traditional full back as they cut converting running back Lorenzo Taliaferro and undrafted rookie Ricky Ortiz from Oregon State, who they added to the practice squad. The versatile defensive lineman Patrick Ricard, the undrafted rookie out of Maine, could also play fullback on occasion.
Wide Receiver Position
The Ravens are thin at wide receiver so that is another position they could add to later in the season. They cut undrafted rookie C.J. Board out of Tenn-Chattanooga, Keenan Reynolds, Griff Whalen, Chris Matthews, undrafted Quincy Adeboyejo out of Ole Miss (who they added to practice squad), and undrafted rookie Tim White out of Arizona State (who they put on injured reserve). So far, the Ravens are rolling with Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman on the outside, with Jeremy Maclin in the slot and Michael Campanaro and Chris Moore as the backups. I surprised Keenan Reynolds never got a lot of reps at receiver during the preseason and only as a returner but still struggled. He could be a candidate for the practice squad but the Ravens could be done with him. Chris Matthews could also be resigned if the Ravens need more depth at the position later on.
Tight End Position
The Baltimore Ravens have a lot of tight ends but not the difference maker they need in the middle. With the Darren Waller suspension and Crockett Gilmore on injured reserve, they need guys like Maxx Williams to step into that role. Ben Watson and Nick Boyle could also contribute and Vince Mayle is there for special teams. The Ravens cut Larry Donnell and Ryan Malleck (who they put on the practice squad).
Offensive Line Position
The Ravens recently traded for two center/guard players in Luke Bowanko from the Jaguars and Tony Bergstrom from the Cardinals. They could compete with Ryan Jensen for the starting position but it will be mostly for depth at the center/guard position. The Ravens put rookie Nico Siragusa out of San Diego State, Alex Lewis, and undrafted rookie Brandon Kublanow out of Georgia on injured reserve. They also cut undrafted rookie Marquise Shakir out of Middle Tenn State (who they put on the practice squad), Stephane Nembot, undrafted rookie Joseph Roubbens out of Buffalo, Jarell Broxton, undrafted rookie Derrick Nelson out of Rutgers, Jarrod Pughsley, De’Ondre Wesley, Jeremy Zuttah, and Matt Skura (who is expected to be put on the practice squad). The Ravens are sticking with Ronnie Stanley (LT), Marshal Yanda (LG), and Austin Howard (RT) as the starters with RG and C as open positions. Candidates for RG include rookie Jermaine Eluemenor out of Texas A&M and James Hurst. Candidates for C include Ryan Jensen, Luke Bowanko, and Tony Bergstrom (who could also play OG). The Ravens might make more trades to sure up the guard position if they are not comfortable in starting Hurst or Eluemenor.
Defensive Line Position
The Baltimore Ravens have a plethora of defensive lineman so a trade could be in the works. Michael is starting at nose tackle with Carl Davis and undrafted rookie Patrick Ricard out of Maine as backups. Brandon Williams is starting at defensive tackle with Willie Henry and rookie Chris Wormley out of Michigan as backups. Brendan Urban and Bronson Kaufusi are at the defensive end position. This could be an even stouter run than last season with this group.
Outside/ Sam Linebacker Position
The Ravens added some youth to the outside linebackers. The Ravens drafted both rookie Tyus Bowser at sam linebacker and Tim Williams at outside linebacker to be the future heirs for Terrell Suggs. They cut Boseko Lokombo (who they added to the practice squad), Brennen Beyer, and undrafted rookie Randy Allen out of South Alabama. The Ravens have Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, and Tim Williams at OLB with Matt Judon and Tyus Bowser at SLB. I think the rookie pass rushers could make a big impact in 2017 and Tyus Bowser could start eventually as a hybrid linebacker who also plays some middle linebacker.
Middle/ Inside Linebacker Position
C.J. Mosely is the starter at middle linebacker and is the catalyst for the defense. With Albert McClellan on injured reserve, the Baltimore Ravens kept undrafted rookie out of Pitt Bam Bradley and Patrick Onwuasor at inside linebacker with Kamalei Correa starting. Correa needs to perform or he could be potentially replaced with Onwuasor as he has experience starting from last year. Undrafted rookie Donald Payne out of Stetson was released then claimed to the Jaguars for their practice squad.
This cornerback group is led by veterans but include some talented rookies as well. Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr are starting but rookie Marlon Humphrey out of Alabama and undrafted rookie Jaylen Hill out of Jacksonville State could start if need be. With Ladarius Webb playing well as the hybrid free safety/ nickel corner role, Webb could definitely start there. The Ravens also have Sheldon Price as a backup and have put Brandon Boykin, Tavon Young, and Maurice Canady on injured reserve. They also cut Reggie Porter (who they added on their practice squad), Robertson Daniel, and Trevin Wade. If Brandon Carr does not play well, I could see Humphrey starting in due time. The Ravens added some nice depth at the cornerback position and should be a strength as well if they stay healthy.
The safety position is most likely the strongest position group, with elite safeties in Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle, forming one of the best safety tandems in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens also have some depth in rookie Chuck Clark out of Virgina Tech, Anthony Levine, and Ladarius Webb but they cut Otha Foster. This secondary is much improved from last year at cornerback but especially at safety. With a strong position group at defensive line, linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties with depth; this could be a top 5 defense that can carry a relatively anemic offense into the playoffs in 2017.