Projected Baltimore Ravens Final 53-Man Roster, Training Camp Edition
It may be a little early to determine who will suit up for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. There are so many roster battles that it's impossible to get the final roster perfectly right, but there are still some sure things that you'll be able to see in training camp.
There are a good 40 to 45 guys whose spots are safe. Obviously Ray Rice and Terrell Suggs are going to make the team after all. So going through the roster isn't necessarily a fool's errand, it's just an imperfect science.
Let's take a look at this imperfect science, trying to break down the final 53-man roster.
(2): Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
This position should once again be set between Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor.
Flacco is set to break the Ravens' record for most consecutive starts. He's been incredibly durable and is the keystone for the Ravens franchise.
Taylor hasn't impressed in limited action, but the talent has always been there. One has to wonder if the Ravens would stick with Taylor if Flacco went down for an extended period.
(4): Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen, Kyle Juszczyk
Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and Kyle Juszczyk are guaranteed roster spots. Rice and Pierce will form an elite two-headed monster, while Juszczyk is versatile enough to play both fullback and tight end.
The competition will be tight for that third running back spot, but Anthony Allen's special teams' prowess should earn him the role over Bobby Rainey.
(6): Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss, Aaron Mellette, David Reed
The Ravens have an intense competition going on at receiver, and the only sure thing is that Torrey Smith will be a starter.
Behind him, the second-tier of receivers includes Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson. These are all guys whose roster spots are safe as they fight for a chance to start.
Behind them are guys like Aaron Mellette, David Reed, Tommy Streeter and LaQuan Williams. They won't start, but are trying to either find a spot in the receiving rotation or special teams groups to make it on the roster.
The Ravens don't often cut draft picks, so Mellette should make the squad, while Reed offers the best combination of special teams and offensive prowess.
(3): Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Matt Furstenburg
The Ravens prefer to carry three tight ends. Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson will be the top two, leaving Matt Furstenburg and Billy Bajema to fight for that third spot.
Bajema is the better blocker of the two, but that's not saying much. He is more experienced, having won a ring with the Ravens last season. Furstenburg has a lot of upside as a receiver, and if he doesn't make the team, he'll be on the practice squad. Furstenburg should beat out Bajema, though, as the Ravens are trying to get younger and faster on both sides of the ball.
(4): Bryant McKinnie, Michael Oher, Jah Reid, Ramon Harewood
The Ravens have some nice depth at tackle, with Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher the unquestioned starters. Reid and Harewood are the backups, as the Ravens value their versatility and upside.
(3): Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, Ricky Wagner
Here, too, the Ravens are set, with Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele penciled in as the starters. Ricky Wagner will be a backup, but should a starter go down, it would be Jah Reid or Ramon Harewood that take over.
(3): Gino Gradkowski, A.Q. Shipley, Ryan Jensen
Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley give the Ravens a nice two-deep depth chart at center. Ryan Jensen should make the team behind them, as he can play every position. He has a lot of strength and upside.
(4): Chris Canty, Pernell McPhee, Arthur Jones, DeAngelo Tyson
The Ravens have four guys at this position that could start. Chris Canty, Pernell McPhee and Arthur Jones are excellent players. Canty should start with McPhee being a rushing specialist and Jones playing a versatile role.
Tyson, meanwhile, will be primarily a backup, but he showed he can get it done last season.
It's worth noting that Kapron Lewis-Moore, a sixth-round pick, will be sent to IR after tearing his ACL in the BCS Championship game.
(4): Haloti Ngata, Marcus Spears, Terrence Cody, Brandon Williams
The Ravens are less deep here, but all of these guys can play. Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams look to be the starters, combining to be close to 700 pounds. They should stuff the run well.
Marcus Spears and Terrence Cody will play a role in the rotation, plugging the run and giving the starters a rest. Cody is facing a make-or-break season, as he struggled last year.
(4): Jameel McClain, Daryl Smith, Arthur Brown, Albert McClellan, Bryan Hall
Jameel McClain should see a big role as a guy who will take on blockers and free up Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown to make plays. All three of those guys will play a lot.
Albert McClellan will see time as a run-stuffing specialist. He is a bigger guy who can play every linebacker position, and he is also excellent on special teams.
Bryan Hall lost a lot of weight to transfer from defensive tackle to linebacker. The Ravens' should reward his efforts with a roster spot and some special teams play.
(4): Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, John Simon
Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw and John Simon are all top-tier run defenders who should limit opponents' ability to get outside.
Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, meanwhile, will be the top pass-rushers. Keep an eye on Sugs to see how his Achilles holds up.
Pernell McPhee could play some rush linebacker as well.
(4): Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Corey Graham, Chykie Brown
Because Michael Huff and Matt Elam can play corner, the Ravens will only need to carry four of them this year.
Lardarius Webb will be a guy to watch to see how he's recovering from his torn ACL.
Behind him, Jimmy Smith and Corey Graham are penciled in as the top corners. Their jobs are safe.
Finally, Chykie Brown showed some moxie last season, but he is a little stiff. The upside with Brown is evident in his confidence and size.
(4): Matt Elam, Michael Huff, James Ihedigbo, Omar Brown
Matt Elam, Michael Huff and James Ihedigbo will all see the field this year. Elam and Huff can bump down into the slot on occasion, allowing Ihedigbo to play some safety.
Omar Brown looked good in limited action last year. He is a ballhawk who is excellent at forcing turnovers. He could see some more reps this year.
(3): Justin Tucker, Sam Koch, Morgan Cox
The Ravens usually have steady special teams, and this year is no different. Justin Tucker proved to be an excellent kicker last year, Sam Koch is as steady as they come and Morgan Cox rarely makes a mistake.
Last Five in
Whoever makes it on the bottom of the Ravens' depth chart at receiver will have to excel on special teams. David Reed certainly does, and he still has some upside as a receiver too. He should beat out Tommy Streeter and LaQuan Williams.
Omar Brown was a preseason star last year, and he played well in limited reps in the regular season as well. His special teams play will have to improve, but Brown has some upside.
Bryan Hall moved from the very deep defensive tackle position to the slightly less deep inside linebacker position. His versatility and special teams play should make that transition worthwhile.
Ryan Jensen is far too raw to play much as a rookie, but the Ravens could lose him if they try to get him on the practice squad. He is strong and has a nice mean streak.
Matt Furstenburg will need to beat out Billy Bajema, but he's a great athlete who should excel on special teams. If his blocking develops, Furstenburg will definitely make the team.
Last Five out
LaQuan Williams brings a lot to the table on special teams, but his hands are too inconsistent for him to make the final roster.
Marc Anthony is a victim of the Ravens' speed at safety. With Elam and Huff versatile enough to play in the slot, Anthony's roster spot could disappear.
Jack Cornell was a nice piece on the practice squad last year. He's tough and technically sound, but he doesn't have the upside that the rookies have.
Bobby Rainey was a preseason star last year, but he doesn't play special teams as well as incumbent third running back Anthony Allen. That won't change this year.
The Ravens have some depth at inside linebacker. The guys who made the team will have a clear role, but Bynes is simply a backup. He's OK on special teams and OK on defense, but not good enough to overtake guys like Albert McClellan and the bigger Bryan Hall.