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Baltimore Ravens: Grading the 53 man roster by position groups

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens have their 53 man roster set. Kind of. There are some things that could be in flux, but let’s look at what Baltimore has on its hands at the moment. Position by position let’s grade this roster.

Let’s start with the Baltimore Ravens’ Quarterbacks: A

Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley are all that the Ravens need. They have a perennial MVP candidate in Jackson and a backup that can run the same style of offense. There was no room on the 53 man roster for Trace McSorley.

The Ravens could end up with McSorley on the practice squad and therefore available at a moment’s notice. Unpopular opinion: The Ravens would be justified in moving on from the McSorley business altogether. Huntley looked so good in the preseason he kind of made McSorley look bad. At the most important position group, the Ravens have their guys.

Running back: B +

I can hear you. You’re wondering why this grade is still so high without J.K. Dobbins for the whole season. The Ravens were at an A + before Dobbins got hurt. His injury is surely noticed and it knocked the team down a whole letter grade in this category. It’s not going to all the sudden turn to doom and gloom for the Ravens run game. Edwards is indeed a bus and I’ve bought into Ty’Son Williams as a solid number two.

Wide Receiver: (When healthy) B

When Rashod Bateman is ready and gets into the thick of things the Ravens receiving corps are solid. Whether or not Marquise Brown is a number one receiver, the Ravens have put enough around him. Brown is reliable and a Jackson-favored receiver.

Sammy Watkins could be the most underrated pickup of the offseason. James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace all have a chance to show up more than many pundits and fans are expecting them to. With Bateman in, the wide receiver group is a solid and secure B.

Tight End: A

Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle are really good at their respective jobs. When Boyle is ready the Ravens have one of the best blocking tight ends the NFL has had in this generation. Andrews is a Pro Bowl-caliber superstar who has a next-level connection with his quarterback. Josh Oliver should give the Ravens just enough as a third tight end to be a valued member of the group. If Miles Boykin does indeed stick around his value is mostly as a blocker anyway, so you can almost add him to the tight end discussion.

Offensive Line: Forced to give a grade I’ll say a B –

The offensive line has a lot of good. Ronnie Stanley, Bradley Bozeman, Kevin Zeitler, and Alejandro Villanueva. The left guard spot remains a question mark heading into the regular season and the depth on the inside is much greater than the depth at tackle.

Tyre Phillips is the swing tackle. Take that for what you will. The Baltimore Ravens should get credit for keeping the right nine-player mix along the offensive line. Still, you want to see somebody take command at left guard. You want to see Villanueva prove it. This grade has the right to move up during the season. I’ll give it a B – for now.

The Baltimore Ravens defense

Defensive Line:  B –

Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams aren’t spring chickens and injuries were a problem for both players last season. There isn’t a ton of depth. I don’t think there is a bad player in the mix here. Campbell and Justin Madubuike in particular could exceed expectations this season. This unit should stuff the run. I need to see that the depth won’t be a problem and a little more pass rush before I raise the grade.

Inside linebackers: A –

The only problem with this group is that the members are too young to know any better. That’s a strength and a potential limitation as Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison enter their second season. Harrison looked great in the preseason. If he keeps playing this sound and reading his keys this well, he’ll have a big year. Patrick Queen’s athleticism is uncontainable and he could be set for a big year two jump. With Chris Board, there is nothing not to like.

Outside Linebackers: B

Justin Houston gives the Ravens enough of a veteran presence and enough pass rush to make this thing work. Solid play from Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, and Daelin Hayes should get the Ravens what they absolutely need from this group. Jaylon Ferguson looks better than ever. If the light is starting to come on for him that could change the outlook of this position.

Young talent with a strong leader like Houston equals the definition of solid. Outside linebackers feel free to overdo it this season. If this unit plays at an A level the Ravens will be unstoppable.

Defensive Backs: A +

We’re counting cornerbacks and safeties together because these positions are filled with defensive backs who can serve many exciting purposes for Don Martindale. The Ravens have an elite group of starting cornerbacks. At this point, Chuck Clark and De’Shon Elliott are savvy veterans (They grow up so fast). Sub-packages are going to be fast -Brandon Stephens, Geno Stone, and Ar’Darius Washington can all cover a lot of ground quickly and have ball skills. This group is crazy good.

Next Post: Baltimore Ravens 53 man roster: Key observations on cut day

Specialists: A +

It’s hard to have anything but trust for Justin Tucker and Sam Koch. Nick Moore hasn’t made me miss Morgan Cox yet. As long as that remains true this trio is as good as it gets.

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Baltimore Ravens 53 man roster: Key observations on cut day

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.