BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens were one of the first teams to get their roster down to 75 players. There are sure to be more moves to be made as the Ravens finalize their 53 man roster. Versatility was the key to remaining on the roster for some of the Ravens players. Here is the Ravens roster breakdown:
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QBs: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
Tyrod Taylor will be the backup but there was some belief that the Ravens would keep three quarterbacks on their roster. Rookie Keith Wenning had a strong showing against the New Orleans Saints in the last preseason game. He is a very accurate passer that they hope to keep on the practice squad.
RBs: Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Forsett FB: Kyle Juszczyk
Pierce will be the starter in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals if he is passes concussion protocol. If not, Taliaferro is more than capable of carrying the load. He reminds me of former San Diego Chargers running back Natrone Means because of how swift he is on his feet despite his size (6-0, 226 lbs). Juszczyk could become a key option in that passing game and will also serve as the lead blocker. Ray Rice will be on the reserved/suspension list and is set to come back for the third game of the season against the Cleveland Browns.
WRs: Steve Smith Sr., Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown, Deonte Thompson, Mike Campanaro, Kamar Aiken
This was one of the most competitive battles during training camp. Thompson, Campanaro and Aiken were in a fight for the final two receiver spots. Jeremy Butler was also in the mix but he has been placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. It’s interesting that they kept seven receivers on the roster. Don’t be surprised if there is another roster move here. They may release one of them to sign a free agent to add depth at other positions.
TEs: Dennis Pitta, Owen Daniels, Crockett Gilmore
The Ravens have a solid group of tight ends. Pitta will get to use his athleticism on a lot of tight end screens. Gilmore was not a consistent option during the preseason but he is a big target for Flacco and can be line up flexed out wide. Gilmore can also play in the slot.
Center: Jeremy Zuttah, Gino Gradkowski
The trade for Zuttah was an excellent move. His skill set fits the zone scheme very well. Coach John Harbaugh has been pleased with what he has seen so far from Zuttah. Gradkowsi was the starter last year and will be a valuable backup at both center and guard.
OG: Kelechi Osemele, Marshall Yanda, John Urshchel
The Ravens made an interesting decision when they released Ryan Jensen. They seemed to have given up on Jensen after only one year in the NFL. Osemele is coming back from an injury and has his sights set on his first pro bowl season. Yanda remains one of the best guards in the NFL and is a bulldozer of a run blocker. Urshcel is a rookie that was retained instead of Jensen.
OT: Eugene Monroe, Rick Wagner, Jah Reed, James Hurst
The Ravens are thrilled with the left side of their offensive line. That is in large part due to Monroe. Wagner will be on the right side and is starting for the first time in his brief career. He won the right tackle competition during training camp and will replace the departed Michael Oher.
CB: Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Asa Jackson, Chykie Brown
Smith, Jackson and Webb will be returning from injury. Smith sustained his injury during the second preseason game when he landed on his back as he tried to break up a pass. Webb had a back injury flare up that kept him from playing in the preseason. Jackson seemed to beat out Brown in the fight for nickel cornerback. He was injured against the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason opener. Brown will provide insurance at left corner in Webb should go down from his back injury again.
Safety: Matt Elam, Darian Stewart, Terrence Brooks. Anthony Levine, Jeromy Miles
Stewart is a surprise starter here but he has earned it. Many thought that Brooks would beat Steward out. Brooks has shown great improvement over the last two weeks. He said that he is really learning how important it is to stay in his playbook. It’s clear that he is in his playbook and as a result, Brooks is playing much faster. Brooks, Levine and Miles all have the ability to double as corners also. Trawick struggled in the preseason and I am surprised that he is still on the roster.
WLB C.J. Mosely, Arthur Brown, Albert McClellan OLB: Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw
Mosely and Brown are two of the more speedy linebackers. Brown was racking up tackles while he worked with the second team. He will be the future linebacker opposite of Mosely. They’ll give the Ravens a young, athletic combination once Daryl Smith moves on.
OLB: Terrell Suggs, Pernell McPhee
Suggs and McPhee both got consistent pressure on quarterbacks during training camp. Suggs was virtually unstoppable at times. McPhee is a big linebacker in the mold of former Steeler’s linebacker, Levon Kirkland.
SLB: Daryl Smith, Josh Bynes, Zachary Orr
Smith was an excellent acquisition last year. He may not be as athletic as Brown or Mosely but he does play all over the field. Bynes and Orr were kept because of their impact on special teams.
DE: Chris Canty NT: Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Tyson DT: Haloti Ngata, Terence Cody, Timmy Jernigan
The Ravens are extremely pleased with the way that their defensive line has looked during the preseason. Williams is going to be a starter for the first time and was dominating the inside gaps against the Cowboys. Ngata will move over to three technique and play alongside of Williams. Jernigan brings a lot of energy to the defensive tackle position.
K: Justin Tucker, P: Sam Koch LS: Morgan Cox KR/PR: Jacoby Jones
Tucker and Koch remain one of the best special teams. Tucker has shown that he can hit field goals from over 55 yards. Jones is an explosive player that is very we liked.
Reserve/Injured: DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, G Will Rackley, CB Aaron Ross, DE Brent Urban
Reserved/Physically Unable to Perform: DT/NT Terrence Cody Reserve/Suspended: RB Ray Rice, Safety Will Hill