Below, I have broken down the 90 man roster into each position labeling who is a lock and who is on the proverbial bubble. After the breakdown, we will analyze how many spots are up for grabs and which players are fighting for those spots to be on the 53 man roster.
QB (4): Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallet, Josh Johnson, Jerrod Johnson
Locks: Flacco, Mallet (2)
OT (6): Ronnie Staley, Rick Wagner, James Hurst, De’Ondre Wesley, Stephane Nembot, Blaine Clausell
Locks: Staley, Wagner (2)
Bubble: Hurst, Wesley, Nembot
OG (6): Marshall Yanda, John Urschel, Alex Lewis, Ryan Jensen, Vladimir Ducasse, Jarell Broxton
Locks: Yanda, Urschel, Lewis, Jensen (4)
C (3): Jeremy Zuttah, Anthony Fabiano, Matt Skura
Locks: Zuttah (1)
RB/FB (7): Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Stephen Houston; Kyle Juszczyk
Locks: Forsett, Allen, Dixon, Juszczyk, West (5)
WR (12): Steve Smith, Mike Wallace, Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore, Michael Campanaro, Keenan Reynolds, Jeremy Butler, Chris Matthews, Kaelin Clay, Dobson Collins, Chuck Jacobs
Locks: Smith, Wallace, Aiken, Perriman, Campanaro, Moore (6)
Bubble: Butler, Reynolds, Matthews, Clay
TE (7): Benjamin Watson, Crockett Gilmore, Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta, Darren Waller, Nick Boyle, Daniel Brown
Locks: Watson, Gilmore, Williams, Pitta (4)
*Suspended: Boyle, Waller
DT (6): Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Carl Davis, Willie Henry, Trevon Coley, Michael Pierce
Locks: Williams, Jernigan, Davis, Henry (4)
DE (4): Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Bronson Kaufusi
Locks: Guy, Urban, Lewis-Moore (3)
ILB (7): CJ Mosley, Zachary Orr, Kamalei Correa, Albert McClellan, Arthur Brown, Patrick Onwuasor, Kavell Conner
Locks: Mosley, Orr, Correa, McClellan (4)
Bubble: Brown, Onwuasor
OLB (8): Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Za’Darius Smith, Victor Ochi, Matt Judon, Chris Carter, Brennen Beyer, Mario Ojemudia
Locks: Suggs, Dumervil, Smith (3)
Bubble: Ochi, Judon, Carter, Beyer
CB (10): Jimmy Smith, Shareece Wright, Tavon Young, Jerraud Powers, Sheldon Price, Will Davis, Kyle Arrington, Maurice Canady, Julian Wilson, Sam Brown
Locks: Smith, Wright, Young, Powers (4)
Bubble: Arrington, Davis, Price, Canady, Wilson
S (6): Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb, Anthony Levine, Kendrick Lewis, Matt Elam, Terrence Brooks
Locks: Weddle, Webb, Levine (3)
Bubble: Lewis, Elam, Brooks
K (2): Justin Tucker, Wil Lutz
P (1): Sam Koch
LS (1): Morgan Cox
Locks: Tucker, Koch, Cox (3)
Even with this conservative estimate, there appears to be 48 secure spots on the roster and five spots that are truly being competed for. Some names that are on bubble are recent free agent signings, draft picks from this year’s draft, and/or recent contributors.
Players that are vying for a roster spot are:
OL: James Hurst, De’Ondre Wesley
WR: Jeremy Butler, Keenan Reynolds
LB: Arthur Brown, Matt Judon, Victor Ochi, Chris Carter
CB/S: Kyle Arrington, Will Davis, Sheldon Price, Maurice Canady, Kendrick Lewis, Matt Elam, Terrence Brooks
A couple of factors are complicating the roster construction. One, at the moment, the Ravens are carrying an extra TE and RB, Dennis Pitta and Terrence West, respectively. Secondly, the injuries to Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, and Breshad Perriman are a little unpredictable. While it would surprising for one or more of these players to open the year on the PUP list, that could be in the cards if the team wants/needs to be cautious. If that were the case, then there would be another roster spot open.
As I have it currently constructed, the Ravens are carrying only six offensive lineman. They will certainly include one more to the list. Over the years, the Ravens have made it a priority to accumulate, develop, and retain versatile linemen. One would think that Hurst or Wesley or a free agent veteran would nab the last offensive linemen spot.
Two players left off the roster, and not discussed, are Jeremy Butler and Keenan Reynolds. As far as Reynolds is concerned, his early struggles are alarming, but not necessarily surprising as he makes the transition from quarterback to wide receiver. With injuries becoming a concern at the wide receiver position, these two players could come into play—especially Butler. He is continually making a case for himself by catching everything thrown his way and his versatility by being able to play the outside or the slot. Plus, he has been on the field and shown to be a playmaker.
That would bring the total to 49 players (25 offensive, 21 defensive, three special teams) with four openings remaining.
The names remaining on the defensive side of the ball are higher profile—the top two picks from the ill-fated 2013 draft in Matt Elam and Arthur Brown, a 2014 3rd round draft pick in Terrence Brooks, recent free agent signings of Kyle Arrington and Kendrick Lewis, and 2016 rookies in Matt Judon, Maurice Canady, and Victor Ochi.
The Ravens wanted to add pass rushing versatility and stronger coverage skills to this year’s team which means that there will be some difficult decisions to make. Above, I have the Ravens keeping seven linebackers and seven defensive backs. At least two remaining spots will go to these areas.
Sheldon Price looks like he is playing himself onto the team. Of course, that could change once live competition begins but he fills a need by being big, long, and able to play the outside corner position. He makes the team.
That means there are three spots that the following players are vying for:
Arthur Brown, Matt Judon, Chris Carter, Brennen Beyer, Victor Ochi, Kyle Arrington, Will Davis, Maurice Canady, Kendrick Lewis, Matt Elam, and Terrence Brooks.
It will be interesting to see what the Ravens value this year. With them experimenting with a more hybrid-type safety playing linebacker in passing situations, does that make Elam, Lewis, and Brooks more viable? Will they load up pass rushers, even inexperienced ones like rookies Judon and Ochi? What value do the remaining players have on special teams?
Two players that are having a strong training camp thus far are Victor Ochi and Will Davis. Ochi is explosive, has good bend around the corner, and he reminds me a lot of Antwan Barnes. Davis, working back from ACL surgery, is playing very well. His fundamentals and technique have been fluid and sound. These are two players to keep an eye on as the preseason unfolds.
Two players that may fall into the “mysterious injury” category are cornerback Maurice Canady and defensive end Matt Judon. Both, I believe, need more seasoning but both have a nice upside. The Ravens may be willing to expose them on the practice squad, but there is too much potential.
If Ochi and Smith make the team and Canady and Judon go onto IR, there will be on spot between Brown, Arrington, Lewis, Elam, and Brooks. Arrington gets cut—he took the pay cut, he struggles on the outside, and Powers and Young are playing well in the slot. Arrington is expendable.
We are down to three recent draft picks, Elam, Brown, and Brooks and one of last year’s free agent signings of Lewis. It may be time to move on from Brown—he is buried on the depth chart, he struggles against the run and he is not a candidate for the hybrid position. This last spot is really between one of the safeties—Elam, Brooks, or Lewis.
Though Kendrick Lewis played better in coverage as the season progressed last year, he struggles against the run and doesn’t bring much to the table as a tackler. Brooks’ inconsistencies are troubling and I am not so sure the team trusts him just yet. He could be a candidate for the practice squad and/or a “mysterious injury.”
Ultimately, I think Elam gets one last opportunity to prove his status as a 1st round draft pick. The Ravens are experimenting by using him at linebacker (with Levine) and he has made strides on the field since his disaster of a 2014 season.
The final breakdown: