CRYSTAL BALL: THE SCOUTS AND COACHES ARE WATCHING

Battle Plans CRYSTAL BALL: THE SCOUTS AND COACHES ARE WATCHING

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Gregg Pruitt Jr. was among the notable cuts made by the Baltimore Ravens today, as the organization had to pare down its roster to 75. Unfortunately, the rookie from North Carolina Central became a victim of a numbers game at the tailback position. Despite Pruitt putting together an impressive performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, he did not log any snaps against the Giants or the Redskins, and ultimately, was unable to leapfrog the four backs ahead of him on the depth chart.
 
Pruitt does not possess special physical skills, but he is a hard inside runner that keeps his pads low, and moves the pile. In addition, Pruitt displayed solid blocking technique and awareness in blitz pickup situations.
 
If he remains unsigned until September 2, a day in which NFL teams can officially formulate an eight-man practice squad, Pruitt should be among a handful of prospects the team considers bringing back to the team.
 
Given that Musa Smith will be a free-agent in 2008 and Mike Anderson is in the latter stages of his career, Pruitt could prove to be a viable developmental player behind Willis McGahee…
 
Despite not logging any snaps against the Washington Redskins, it appears that Devard Darling is a step or two ahead of Clarence Moore for the open slot at the wide receiver position.
 
Darling has been a consistent pass-catcher through training camp and in two preseason games. He has also been involved as a crashing cover guy in punt and kickoff plays on special teams.
 
Meanwhile, Moore has yet to find a niche on special teams, which is an essential role for any backup on this team. Moreover, Moore has made little to no impact in the few opportunities he has had as a receiver. He still appears tentative running patterns in the middle of the field, and he does not have the moves or quickness to gain yardage in the open field.
 
On a third-down reception against the New York Giants, Moore caught a pass short of third-down marker, but did not have the presence of mind to turn up the field and extend his body to gain the extra yard needed to gain a first-down.
 
Between the two players, it is clear that Darling is the more versatile player. He is capable of running inside or outside routes. Moore still remains a one-dimensional deep threat who is at his best when he is flanked out wide.
 
Ultimately, it is probably a better option to have a primary backup who is able to line up anywhere to replace one of the big three wideouts in case an injury occurs.
 
Although the final preseason game is simply the last stepping-stone for veterans to hurdle over before the regular seasons kicks off, the game serves as a showcase for many rookies trying to secure a job.
 
Indeed, it is also a game that is closely tracked by scouts all over the league who look to fill spots on their practice squad.
 
The Ravens may not have enough young players on their current roster to fill all eight positions on the squad, so they may be among the large contingent of ball clubs that scouts other players outside of the organization, and looks to pick off a couple of these prospects off the waiver wire.
 
Photo by Sabina Moran

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Dev Panchwagh

About Dev Panchwagh

Dev Panchwagh is a versatile analyst who breaks down the Xs and Os of the game and has been a columnist/analyst for Ravens24x7.com since the summer of 2004. In his regular season column Battle Plans, Dev highlights the Ravens' keys to success against each upcoming opponent. Dev started modestly as a sports journalist, but his contributions to sports talk radio were noticed, leading to duties as a regular columnist for the Scouts.com network before joining RSR.  It would be very difficult to find his rare combination of youthfulness, knowledge and insight in all facets of football anywhere else.  Fortunately, Dev brings it here each and every week.  More from Dev Panchwagh

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