By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens have trimmed their roster to 53 players. While the Ravens technically have reached their final round of roster cuts, there is nothing final about this 53 man roster. Several players will be going to Injured reserve tomorrow and a couple of players or even a handful could come back. The practice squad is another avenue for technically keeping cut and waived players.
There’s nothing horribly shocking about the 53 man roster that Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh have put on display today. The biggest surprise is that Miles Boykin survived roster cuts. Boykin, who was basically a non-factor in training camp due to injury could be heading for IR. One way or another the Ravens aren’t giving up on the 6’4″ receiver just yet.
It was debatable what the Ravens would do at inside linebacker. The Ravens chose to keep Kristian Welch. It’s still one of the thinnest position groups, though having a fourth inside linebacker means that Ravens don’t have to schematically and strategically make up for just having three interior linebackers.
Were there several position groups the Ravens could have gone a different way with? Sure. Were there any decisions that were big surprises? No. The Ravens cut Pernell McPhee. That almost counts as a big surprise, though it seems likely that he’ll end up back on the roster for the regular season.
Our roster projection at PBN came out before the Shaun Wade trade and the J.K. Dobbins injury. We still got 49 spots on the 53 man roster right. The main point is that the Ravens had a very defined group of players we knew mattered coming into training camp. Some players scratched their way onto the team during camp and preseason action, but Baltimore had less to figure out than a lot of teams.
9 offensive linemen + 11 defensive backs = Correct priorities
The Ravens knew what they absolutely needed when it came to depth. The Baltimore Ravens kept a high number of offensive linemen and defensive backs. This makes sense because of the importance of these position groups and the overall competition at these positions.
The starting left guard job is still arguably up for grabs. At the moment it looks like the nod is going to Ben Powers, though Ben Cleveland could end up with the job. The depth on the offensive line is strong. Tyre Phillips and Pat Mekari can play multiple positions. The tackle depth is a little shakey, however the number of viable interior linemen they have is truly impressive.
This preseason it was thought that the last defensive back spot could be a battle between Geno Stone and Ar’Darius Washington. Both made the 53 man roster. Each of the young safeties offer value and, keeping both players is a refreshing commitment to the backend of the defense. Both players should be able to chip in on special teams and offer more range than the starting safeties. Sub-packages have options in Baltimore.
Whether or not this is the year that Tavon Young finally stays healthy, cornerback is the strength of the roster. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters remain the best duo in the NFL. Jimmy Smith is a very trusted veteran in Don Martindale’s defense. Anthony Averett has grown up and become a solid corner. Chris Westry has very sound cover skills that round out the group. Ideally, the team stays healthy at their best position, though they clearly have a lot of good options.
The offensive line needs to be supported by numbers and competition. The defensive backs are where the Ravens have the most surplus talent. Baltimore chose to keep that surplus as strong as possible.
The defensive line is the only questionably thin area on the Baltimore Ravens roster:
The Baltimore Ravens didn’t keep Aaron Crawford or Justin Ellis. This leaves the Ravens with only five defensive linemen on the roster. Brandon Williams is 32 years old and Calais Campbell turns 35 tomorrow (HAPPY BIRTHDAY Calais). Justin Madubiuke and Broderick Washington are young players but five players are thin even for a 3-4 defense. This is why it wouldn’t be shocking if Justin Ellis came back to the team after some roster juggling.
The pass defense has been prioritized with this 53 man roster. The Ravens didn’t keep Pernell McPhee who is strongest against the run and is one of their best defenders against the run. Justin Ellis is a notable cut for sure, though he didn’t contribute much as somebody who could push the pocket. One thing is for sure, young Ravens defensive players are going to have to do a lot this year.
NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Top 5 preseason performers
There’s plenty more coverage headed your way on the Ravens 53 man roster. These are the key initial thoughts and observations on the roster as it stands after cut day.