Baltimore Ravens 53-man roster projection following preseason opener


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In just over two weeks, the Baltimore Ravens’ decision-makers will have to cut down their roster to 53 players, a delicate balance between making sure they’re covered for the long grind of the 2023 season while also trying to keep a bevy of young, developmental players who could help the team in the future.

Before the Aug. 29 cutdown day, the Ravens will play two more preseason games. They’ll have nine more full practices, including two joint workouts with the Washington Commanders on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a couple of walk-throughs.

A lot can change with the roster picture in a matter of days, never mind weeks. Injuries will have a major impact on the roster construction. General manager Eric DeCosta is never shy about making late preseason trades, where he deals from positions of depth to either attack a hole on the roster or to pick up future draft capital. It’s also widely expected that Baltimore will bring in a veteran free agent or two, perhaps a pass rusher and cornerback.


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There’s a very good chance that at least one player, who isn’t currently on the roster, will be part of the team when it accelerates preparation for the Sept. 10 regular-season opener against the Houston Texans. But all we can do is project the roster based on who is here now.

So here’s one projection with the caveat that things are subject to change:

Quarterback (2)

Who makes the cut?: Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley

On the bubble: Josh Johnson

Long shot: Anthony Brown

Toughest call: Keeping two quarterbacks and not three. Teams are now allowed to dress an emergency third quarterback on game days. However, the quarterback still has to be on the 53-man roster. Therein lies the issue for the Ravens, who would be forced to lose a player they want at another position in favor of keeping an emergency third quarterback.

Outlook: Huntley was better than Johnson in Saturday’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he’s been more consistent in practices, too. Even if Huntley misses a little bit of practice time with a hamstring injury, the No. 2 quarterback decision doesn’t appear to be much of a decision at all. Johnson would be a good guy to keep on the practice squad. The Ravens just have too many other roster needs and too many young players they’d like to keep to carry a third quarterback.



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Running back (4)

Who makes the cut?: J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Keaton Mitchell

On the bubble: Melvin Gordon

Long shot: Owen Wright

Toughest call: Keeping Mitchell over Gordon. Gordon has looked good in training camp and showed some juice in the preseason opener. But Mitchell’s speed, elusiveness and return ability make him an intriguing prospect. With Dobbins and Edwards eligible for free agency after the season, it makes more sense to keep a younger back.

Outlook: Who knows when Dobbins will decide to start practicing. What seems highly unlikely is that he’ll sit out the season. Edwards’ usage in camp practices and in Saturday’s game have been curious. Still, unless there are further developments, Dobbins and Edwards will be the one-two punch in the backfield. Hill might make the team for his special teams ability alone, but he has something to offer on offense, too. It’s hardly a lock that Baltimore keeps a fourth back, but the uncertainty and injury history with Dobbins and Edwards justifies doing so.

Wide receiver (6)

Who makes the cut?: Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace

On the bubble: Tarik Black, James Proche II, Laquon Treadwell

Long shots: Shemar Bridges, Dontay Demus Jr., Sean Ryan

Toughest call: Taking Wallace as the sixth receiver over Black, Proche and Treadwell. If the fifth and sixth receivers are going to be active on game days, they better play special teams. Wallace is probably the best special teams player in the group. He’s also had a solid camp and made a 10-yard touchdown catch in the preseason opener.

Outlook: Just not sure this is as hotly contested of a roster competition as it’s been billed. Bridges and Demus haven’t gained any traction. Ryan, the undrafted rookie out of Rutgers, has played well of late, but he and Black are guys the Ravens probably could get on the practice squad. Proche’s fumble Saturday is going to be tough for him to overcome, and he has the look of a guy who probably could use a change of scenery. That leaves Wallace and Treadwell. Wallace is a 2021 fourth-round draft pick who is a solid special teams player. Treadwell is on his sixth team in seven seasons. The Ravens have more invested in Wallace.

Tight end/fullback (4)

Who makes the cut?: Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, Charlie Kolar, Patrick Ricard (fullback)

On the bubble: Travis Vokolek

Long shot: Ben Mason (fullback)

Toughest call: It’s not a tough call to keep Ricard. He can play fullback, handle some tight end duties and play special teams. He can also probably help on the offensive and defensive line fronts in a pinch. The question is how will new offensive coordinator Todd Monken use him? Ricard is still ramping up after offseason hip surgery and has yet to participate in the team sessions in practice, so it’s unclear what Baltimore has in mind.

Outlook: Unless Ricard is suddenly not in the Ravens’ plans, there is not much to see here. Vokolek, an undrafted rookie out of Nebraska, has played well enough this summer to stick, and the Ravens love stockpiling tight ends. But it just doesn’t seem viable to keep four tight ends and a fullback. Vokolek is caught in a number’s game.



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Offensive line (9)

Who makes the cut?: Ronnie Stanley, Morgan Moses, Tyler Linderbaum, Kevin Zeitler, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, John Simpson, Patrick Mekari, Daniel Faalele, Sam Mustipher

On the bubble: Ben Cleveland, David Sharpe

Long shots: TyKeem Doss, Jake Guidone, Tashawn Manning, Jaylon Thomas

Reserve/non-football injury list: Andrew Vorhees

Toughest call: Not keeping a 10th offensive lineman. The Ravens had 11 on their initial 53-man roster last year. It’s harder to justify this year with numbers needed elsewhere and Baltimore just not as deep up front. Ricard could always count as the 10th offensive lineman.

Outlook: The Ravens hate cutting their own draft picks, particularly relatively early ones like Cleveland, a third-round pick in 2021. However, Cleveland has never seemed to gain the trust of the coaching staff. He hasn’t gotten a single rep as the starting left guard this summer. The Ravens have tried him at tackle to see if he offers versatility, but it feels forced. Perhaps Baltimore can recoup a late Day 3 draft pick for Cleveland. His tape from his five starts the past two years isn’t bad and every team is looking for offensive line depth. If Mekari is the top reserve tackle, the Ravens probably need a traditional backup center. That’s where Mustipher comes in.

Defensive line (5)

Who makes the cut?: Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington, Michael Pierce, Brent Urban, Travis Jones

On the bubble: Angelo Blackson

Long shots: Trey Botts, Kaieem Caesar, Rayshad Nichols

Toughest call: Keeping Blackson off the roster and going with just five defensive linemen. The Ravens typically prefer maintaining a deeper defensive line rotation and Blackson is a solid depth piece. But all of the injuries in the secondary prompt keeping an extra body or two there, and that could happen at the expense of the defensive line.

Outlook: The Ravens’ top five seem set. It really is just a matter of whether the team can find a spot for Blackson. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will bump an outside linebacker inside on occasion, so it doesn’t feel like keeping only five would be too light. Still, Blackson probably belongs on this team. It’s just hard to find room for him.

Outside linebacker (4)

Who makes the cut?: Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, Tyus Bowser, Tavius Robinson

On the bubble: Jeremiah Moon

Long shots: Malik Hamm, Kelle Sanders

Toughest call: There’s not a tough call right now. There will be, though, when/if the Ravens sign a veteran outside linebacker and they have to account for the extra spot from somewhere else on the roster.

Outlook: Assuming Bowser is off the non-football list within the next 10 days or so, the Ravens are pretty set here. They’ve carried five outside linebackers in the past, so it’s not like signing a Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy or Robert Quinn would cost any of their current edge rushers a job. Still, it would complicate the rest of the roster. Moon and/or Hamm are solid practice squad candidates.

Inside linebacker (5)

Who makes the cut?: Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen, Trenton Simpson, Malik Harrison, Del’Shawn Phillips

On the bubble: Josh Ross, Kristian Welch

Toughest call: Not finding a spot for Ross. The 2022 undrafted free agent out of Michigan made the team during the preseason last year but missed most of his rookie season with an injury. He flashes when healthy, although he’s yet to really force the issue this summer.

Outlook: Two factors could complicate things here: Trenton Simpson’s health and special teams considerations. The third-round pick out of Clemson has been sidelined with a soft-tissue injury. There’s no indication that it’s anything serious, where he wouldn’t start the season on the active roster. But if the team isn’t confident the rookie has gotten enough reps where he’d be able to step in early, that could force the Ravens to carry an extra inside linebacker. As for special teams, Harrison, Welch and Phillips ranked first, second and sixth, respectively, in total special teams snaps in 2022. It’s hard to foresee the Ravens having room for all three. Phillips has had a strong summer, and he and Harrison bring more defensive value than Welch.

Cornerback (7)

Who makes the cut?: Marlon Humphrey, Rock Ya-Sin, Arthur Maulet, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams, Kyu Blu Kelly, Kevon Seymour

On the bubble: Ar’Darius Washington

Long shots: Tae Hayes, Jeremy Lucien, Corey Mayfield Jr., Jordan Swann

Reserve/non-football injury list: Trayvon Mullen

Toughest call: Not finding a spot for Ar’Darius Washington, who would provide depth in the slot and at safety. Seymour, though, is better on special teams and can play outside, where the Ravens don’t have a ton of healthy options at the moment.

Outlook: This is the hardest position to project. Ya-Sin, Maulet, Armour-Davis and Williams are all dealing with injuries, and the longer their absences extend, the more it will impact the Ravens’ decisions. Also, Sunday’s waiver claim of Hayes is probably not the only transaction the team will make to add a corner. There still figures to be movement with this group. For now, Humphrey and Ya-Sin are the projected starters. It seems highly unlikely that Baltimore would quickly move on from second-year fourth-round picks (Armour-Davis and Williams) or a rookie fifth-rounder (Kelly). That essentially leaves two spots, and the Ravens use them on a veteran slot guy (Maulet) and a veteran outside guy (Seymour). Both are quality special-teamers, too.



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Safety (4)

Who makes the cut?: Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, Geno Stone, Brandon Stephens

On the bubble: Daryl Worley

Long shot: Jaquan Amos

Toughest call: Releasing Worley, who is a smart, physical and energetic veteran with corner and safety versatility and extensive special teams experience. The Ravens, though, have younger options with cornerback/safety versatility, including Stephens and Ar’Darius Washington. DeCosta could probably do some roster gymnastics with Worley in order to keep him around for when the team has an opening.

Outlook: John Harbaugh said earlier this offseason that the team envisions Stephens playing safety, so he’s listed here despite the fact that he played mostly corner in the preseason opener. He’s on the team for his versatility, anyway. Stone is a quality backup, and his early camp ankle injury shouldn’t jeopardize his readiness for the season.

Specialists (3)

Who makes the cut?: Justin Tucker (kicker), Jordan Stout (punter), Tyler Ott (long snapper)

Reserve/non-football injury list: Nick Moore (long snapper)

Toughest call: There is none. The only call the decision-makers face is whether to bring in another kicker this preseason to make sure Tucker remains fresh.

Outlook: In the preseason opener, Tucker converted from 60 and 43 yards, and made both his point-after tries. Stout averaged 50 yards on his five punts and new snapper Ott had no issues. The Ravens’ kicking battery looked in midseason form.

(Photo: Randy Litzinger / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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