Baltimore Ravens: Biggest Snubs and Surprises from 53 Man Roster Cut
For most teams, cut day means the breaking of ties with many players who likely won't get another shot in the NFL beyond sticking on a practice squad. However, the Ravens entered cut day with plenty of NFL talent that needed to be removed from the team's outlook in 2013.
That means that other NFL teams could pounce on the talented players the Ravens released while the Ravens moved on with a 53-man squad that has a chance to make the playoffs for a sixth straight year.
The release of several Ravens, however, didn't come without controversy.
Find out below who the biggest snubs and surprises were from the team's final roster cuts.
Snubbed: Marc Anthony
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The cornerback situation looked settled before final cuts with five corners on the team, including rookie Marc Anthony.
The seventh-round pick had a preseason to forget, as he was one of Baltimore’s most inconsistent players on either side of the ball. But the Ravens rarely cut their drafted rookies and with only four other cornerbacks on the roster, Anthony looked like a near lock based solely on the team's need at the position.
Cut day wasn’t kind to the rookie, as the Ravens made the surprising move to move on with just four cornerbacks.
Surprise: Jah Reid
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One player whose roster spot was safe simply due to a numbers game was third-year offensive lineman Jah Reid, who had little competition at guard to make the team.
However, that shouldn’t have prevented the team from exploring an unpopular, but possibly necessary, roster decision of moving on from Reid, who has failed to meet expectations during his career.
The former third-round pick had the upside of being a starting guard or even tackle, but Reid will now likely never be a starter in the league. His struggles throughout the preseason should have warranted a parting of ways between the Ravens and Reid.
He doesn’t hold much more value than a swing guard/tackle released by any other NFL team, so moving on from him would have provided a much-needed fresh start for both parties.
Snubbed: Omar Brown
If there was one defensive player on the Ravens who had the chance to break out and go from unknown player to frequent contributor entering the 2013 season, it was second-year safety Omar Brown.
Undrafted out of Marshall in 2012, Brown spent time on Baltimore’s practice squad and active roster last year, playing in three regular-season games. His stellar play in the 2012 preseason—particularly his knack for finding the ball—made him a prime contender to be a breakout player this season.
However, Brown did little to separate himself from Brynden Trawick and Anthony Levine, and he now finds himself on the practice squad despite having the talent to be on an NFL roster.
Surprise: Brynden Trawick
With Omar Brown left off of the Ravens' final 53-man roster, the door was opened for undrafted rookie safety Brynden Trawick.
Entering training camp, the Ravens’ safety situation looked nearly settled, however Trawick’s special teams play made the team think otherwise. Trawick opened the preseason with a blocked punt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His six-tackle performance against the St. Louis Rams in the preseason finale sealed his fate.
For undrafted players, special teams is key to making a roster and it appears Trawick’s special teams value outweighed Brown’s value to the team. The rookie could have a considerable role with the team, at least until Christian Thompson returns from his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Snubbed: Matt Furstenburg
This snub may not fall under this category for much longer, as Matt Furstenburg—an undrafted tight end out of Maryland—was signed to the practice squad on Sunday, Sept. 1., and could be on the roster soon.
Both Furstenburg and veteran Billy Bajema failed to make the final preseason cut, but that is likely because fellow tight end Dennis Pitta isn’t eligible to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to not return until Tuesday.
Until then, Pitta will remain on the 53-man roster. Once he is moved, the door will be opened for Furstenburg or Bajema. Furstenburg showed more than enough during the preseason to prove why he at least deserved to be signed to the practice squad. He could be in Baltimore’s future at tight end, as Pitta and Ed Dickson are both unrestricted free agents after the 2013 season.
Surprise: Anthony Levine
Like Bryden Trawick, safety Anthony Levine’s spot on the Ravens’ final roster came as a bit of a surprise.
Keeping five safeties didn’t appear to be a likely scenario for the Ravens, however, Levine proved enough in coverage and run defense to earn a spot.
Levine finished the preseason with a +1.9 grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which was higher than Trawick (+0.8) and Brown (-2.3)
He was active for two regular season-games last year, so maybe his spot with the Ravens shouldn’t come as an overwhelming shock.
Snubbed: Bobby Rainey
If the Ravens were looking for a young offensive player who provided a spark on both offense and special teams, they needed to look no further than second-year running back Bobby Rainey.
His quick burst in the run game during the preseason was similar to the 2012 preseason, in which he proved himself enough to make the final roster before being moved to the practice squad.
It appeared as if Rainey had done enough to solidify his fate in Baltimore, particularly due to his flashes in the return game in the preseason, but the Ravens opted to carry just two running backs for now with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.
All signs pointed to Rainey returning to Baltimore as a member of the practice squad, but the Cleveland Browns snatched him up instead on Sunday.
Surprise: DeAngelo Tyson
A numbers game is the only reason why DeAngelo Tyson is considered a surprise for Baltimore’s final roster. The second-year defensive lineman was certainly talented enough to make the roster, but his spot came down to how many defensive linemen the Ravens wanted to keep.
With the additions of Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Brandon Williams over the offseason, Tyson faced an uphill battle to make the final squad.
His stellar preseason play ultimately made him too good to pass up. While the Ravens’ decision to keep seven defensive linemen may come as a surprise, none of the seven did anything during the preseason to not warrant a spot on the 53-man roster.
Snubbed: Anthony Allen
While Bobby Rainey was the last running back to be cut by the Ravens before final roster decisions, the second-to-last ball carrier released by the team—running back Anthony Allen—was more than worthy of making the team, particularly due to his value on special teams.
After the Ravens traded wide receiver David Reed to the Indianapolis Colts, Allen became possibly the most valuable special teamer on the Ravens as a blocker and on coverage plays.
However, Allen’s offensive value was nonexistent and that likely led to his exit from Baltimore after a successful 2012 campaign.