By Chris Schisler
- Editor’s Note: This article has been updated
The Baltimore Ravens are undefeated in the preseason so far, and it’s a testament to their roster’s depth. Let’s take a look at what I project to be the 53 man roster. Evaluation is a subjective thing. This is a blend of what I would do and what I think the Ravens will do. With that in mind, this is my first crack at making the 53 man roster.
This is a two-quarterback kind of year for the Baltimore Ravens. They have been keeping three quarterbacks. Once Trace McSorley gets healthy they can call him up from the practice squad if they absolutely must. Here you have an MVP quarterback and a backup who can run the same style of offense. This is a good situation, especially considering that Huntley will only get better with experience.
You may be surprised that Ben Mason isn’t on here. The Ravens can probably stash him away on the practice squad. That pick seems like a contingency if the Ravens can’t re-sign Ricard. I have Ty’Son Williams stealing Justice Hill‘s job here. Williams has been the most impressive back in the preseason. Hill is dealing with an ankle injury. Everything lined up for Williams to be the third running back.
This is a self-explanatory position. Mark Andrews is a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end. Once he returns, Nick Boyle is the most elite blocking tight end in the NFL. Josh Oliver gets the nod at the third tight end spot in my estimation. The fact is that he’s gotten the most work in the preseason from the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens want to test him because they want him to win the job. Oliver has prototypical size and athleticism. I think he gives you enough blocking to beat out Eric Tomlinson for the third tight-end spot. Eli Wolfe is a great candidate for the practice squad.
Most of the preseason talk was about Miles Boykin. Boykin hasn’t played in the preseason due to a hamstring injury. The Ravens are probably best off putting him on injured reserve. It’s almost a deferment of a decision. I decided to keep Bateman on the week 1 roster. Assuming the Ravens want him back as soon as possible, IR may be something the Ravens try to avoid with him.
We all kind of knew that the Ravens weren’t going to keep Binjamen Victor or Jaylon Moore. The question all along was if the Ravens keep six or seven receivers. With the surplus of talent the Ravens have at defensive back, they needed the room and seven was out of the question. In the scenario where you can basically take Miles Boykin out of the decision, these are the clear six.
We haven’t seen a ton from James Proche in the preseason. He’s had a strong training camp though. He offers some special teams versatility and he catches the ball when it’s thrown to him. That’s enough to get him a job in the regular season.
- Ronnie Stanley
- Ben Cleveland
- Bradley Bozeman
- Kevin Zeitler
- Alejandro Villanueva
- Tyre Phillips
- Ben Powers
- Ben Bredeson
- Patrick Mekari
Offensive tackle depth is bleak here. The Ravens knew that was going to be a problem one way or the other. If the Ravens kept Michael Scolfield or Adrian Ealy, they aren’t fixing that problem. The nine offensive linemen here are your best players. This was one of the hardest position groups to project. We’ve seen so many combinations along the offensive line throughout camp, and a lot of the competition at guard and center is pretty even.
Trystan Colon was the odd man out here. I originally had 10 offensive linemen, but I couldn’t make the roster math work. The Ravens have multiple options at center even without Colon. This is why roster math is a cruel practice.
I don’t really have to write about the starting three right? You know what they bring to the table and there was no decision to be made there. Justin Madubuike was a lock as well, Broderick Washington and Justin Ellis are fairly interchangeable, however, Washington is more of a nose guard than a defensive end. Washington could play a role very similar to a young Michael Pierce.
Ellis is a solid veteran. With Ellis, you probably aren’t getting big plays but he’ll have some tackles and he’ll chew up some space. Overall this is a good group for a 3-4 team. If Madubuike and Washington have breakout seasons, this could be a great group.
Jaylon Ferguson makes the cut here. Ferguson has been impressive in the preseason. He’s always looked the part, but he’s shown growth as an outside linebacker. It’s too early to give up on him and the Ravens need three players who can rotate on the edge. Pernell McPhee adds to the run defense. Houston and Bowser should be your starters. They’re the most versatile and experienced. Oweh and Hayes have looked great in the preseason. They’re surely rookies to be excited for.
With L.J. Fort being injured in the preseason battle against the Panthers, it leaves the Baltimore Ravens a little short at this position. At linebacker, it really boiled down to Kristian Welch vs. Jaylon Ferguson. The Ravens have a nice young nucleus at inside linebacker. The Ravens’ extra defensive backs will allow them to have almost an extra linebacker in sub-packages.
The team can get by with three inside linebackers. Fort would have made the roster if he was healthy and he could always return. It’s important to remember the 53 man roster is something you can edit over the season. The goal is to go into the season opener with the best combination of 53 players for the Baltimore Ravens.
This was the one preseason where the Ravens should be reluctant to cut any of their defensive backs. While some are better than others, there isn’t a bad player in the group. It’s kind of amazing. You can never have enough good defensive backs and the Ravens almost kind of do.
If you would have told me at the beginning of camp I would have Chris Westry on this list, I wouldn’t have believed you. This is the value of getting to see preseason games. Players stand out and impress you, pass the eye test and give themselves a chance. That’s what Westry has done. He’s a good cover corner and I couldn’t cut him.
Everything I just said about cornerbacks I could say about safeties. Defensive back-wise, this team is loaded. Geno Stone had two interceptions in the first preseason game and has impressed all through camp. His advantage is that the Ravens saw potential in him, drafted him, and now they’re starting to see that they were right. Teams love being right and that helps his cause.
Washington is an undrafted free agent. He’s a player I ended up with on the cutting block. If that’s the case the Ravens better get him on the practice squad. Washington is such a fast and twitchy player. I love the way he plays and I want to see him get a chance to grow up with the Ravens. I listed Stephens as a safety, he can play either position.
Cutting Nigel Warrior was a tough call. It’s not a cut I was happy about. Roster math is rough. Warrior played fantastic football against the Panthers. Anthony Levine Sr. has been with the Ravens since 2012. Cutting him hurts the heart. There is just such a powerful youth movement at the defensive back positions. Levine offers value mostly on special teams and being a wise veteran. There’s too much talent in front of him this year.
The best kicker of all time, the longest-tenured Raven, and a new long snapper walk onto the field… the kick is up, the kick is good.
When the Ravens make their final cuts, it will be interesting to see how accurate this projection is. It’s subjective because we’re talking about evaluation. My evaluations may differ from the coaching staff at a couple of points.