By 4PM today the Ravens will trim 10 more players from their roster to get down to the league mandated 53. And while those players still left standing can stop waiting to exhale, those on the bottom of the roster are still at risk.
In other words the cutdown to 53 today isn’t necessarily the final 53.
There will be more change.
The Ravens are thin at cornerback – dangerously thin. Ozzie Newsome has long said that a team can’t have enough good corners yet the Ravens have a total of four on their current roster. Michael Huff could play there in a pinch but that’s not why they acquired him.
Lardarius Webb is returning from an ACL injury. Jimmy Smith’s two seasons in the league have been injury plagued so it’s hard to really count on him. Chykie Brown is a model of inconsistency and has regressed in his technique so far this summer. Asa Jackson can’t help the club until Week 9, leaving veteran Corey Graham as arguably the most reliable corner on the roster.
Clearly this isn’t enough and the Ravens will need more – and soon!
Sometimes teams get attached to players and the Ravens have always shown an extreme affinity for their draft picks. Jah Reid comes to mind. And Chykie Brown isn’t far behind.
The former Texas Longhorn is an inviting target at the moment and if he’s on the field in dime situations on Thursday, Peyton Manning will not be able to avoid the temptation to exploit the third-year corner particularly when matched up against the taller DeMaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
For my money, recently released CB Moe Lee is a better player with more upside but given his undrafted status he’s more of a stepchild and not a favored son like Brown.
The Ravens offensive line is another area of need.
Only seven linemen are worthy of their anticipated roster spots and two of those are centers. Jah Reid has to be a major disappointment to the scouting department that collectively believed they landed a tackle with a high ceiling. Now they can’t even find a position for him where he’s adequate. If Kelechi Osemele or Marshal Yanda is injured the Ravens offense and their $120 million man will struggle.
These roster weaknesses will more than likely force the Ravens’ hand within the next few days. Typically teams will deal from a position of strength to patch a hole or two. And in an ironic twist of fate, that position of strength just might be wide receiver.
With the emergence of Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown who seem like virtual locks to make the team along with the addition of chain-mover Brandon Stokley, the Ravens may have a marketable player in the form of Jacoby Jones.
Jones’ real value is not as a receiver but rather as a return specialist. But now that the team seems prepared to hand Bobby Rainey a roster spot Jones could be expendable.
No Rainey isn’t on Jones’ level as a returner but if he can provide respectable numbers until Asa Jackson comes off the suspension list or until Deonte Thompson heals should the team opt not to place him on IR, Jones is an expendable luxury.
Those 2 or 3 returns for scores that Jones has delivered in the past might be worth sacrificing for depth at corner or offensive line.
You can rest assured that Ozzie, Eric DeCosta, Vince Newsome and George Kokinis are sifting through all of the various combinations of possible trading partners as you read this.
And it will be a mild upset if those trade winds DO NOT blow through Owings Mills.