Training camp is only about a month away for the Baltimore Ravens, and coming off an offseason in which the Ravens made a handful of notable moves on each side of the ball, the roster competition is sure to be a major storyline.
Free agent additions such as Tony Jefferson, Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead are sure to reshape major position battles.
Let’s take a slightly too look at the final 53-man roster for the Ravens.
Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett
Business as usual here as the only other quarterback on the roster is the unproven Dustin Vaughan. The Ravens rarely keep more than two quarterbacks, and there is no indication that this year will be any different.
Running Back (3)
Terrance West, Danny Woodhead and Buck Allen
The locks here are West and Woodhead, and Allen figures to compete with rookie Taquan Mizell for the final spot. Allen has underperformed so far as a Raven, and this year’s training camp will be a true make-or-break time in his young career.
Kenneth Dixon (suspended): After serving his four-game suspension to start the year, Dixon will be the favorite to re-enter the lineup as the starting running back, pushing Allen off the roster in this scenario.
Nick Boyle, Lorenzo Taliaferro
OK, neither is a true “fullback” by definition, but both figure to contribute at the position in some fashion over the course of the season. Boyle’s pass-catching ability nets him a roster spot, and Taliaferro’s special teams value keeps him on the team.
Tight End (4)
Ben Watson, Darren Waller, Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmore
Despite losing Dennis Pitta, the Ravens are well-equipped at tight end, and have no depth concerns should the group as a whole stay healthy.
Wide Receiver (5)
Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore and Michael Campanaro
The locks here are the first four, and Campanaro figures to be a lock if healthy, which is never a guarantee. A Campanaro injury would open the door for a player such as Keenan Reynolds to come on as a special teams contributor. Keep an eye out for Chris Matthews and Tim Patrick during training camp, as they would be the next men up should the Ravens opt for six receivers on the final roster.
Offensive Line (9)
Ronnie Stanley, Alex Lewis, John Urschel, Marshal Yanda, James Hurst, Ryan Jensen, Nico Siragusa, Jermaine Eluemunor and De’Ondre Wesley
This group should change before the start of the regular season. Steve Bisciotti recently stated that an addition to the OL is a priority. The Ravens need to add a veteran right tackle so that Lewis can remain at left guard. A veteran addition would push either Hurst or Wesley off the roster.
Defensive Line (7)
Brandon Williams, Brent Urban, Chris Wormley, Bronson Kaufusi, Carl Davis, Willie Henry and Michael Pierce
This is possibly the toughest group to predict as Henry and Davis should make the team, but neither is a lock. Henry was a fourth-round pick in 2016 who failed to crack the lineup and ended up on IR while Davis has been hampered by injuries. Nonetheless, both simply need just a relatively positive training camp to make the team.
Edge Rusher (5)
Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams
One of the more simple positions to predict as all five are seemingly locks if healthy. Expect each of these pass rushers to contribute in some fashion in 2017 as well.
Inside Linebacker (4)
C.J. Mosley, Albert McClellan, Patrick Onwuasor and Kamalei Correa
After right tackle, inside linebacker is the next logical position that could be addressed with a veteran free agent addition. Correa is not a true inside linebacker, McClellan is more valuable on special teams and Onwuasor is still rather unproven. Based off of 2016, Onwuasor is the prime candidate of the three to emerge as a starter next to Mosley, with Correa splitting reps inside and as an edge rusher.
Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Maurice Canady and Brandon Boykin
The season-ending injury to Tavon Young opens the door for Canady and Boykin, who can both contribute in the slot.
Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Lardarius Webb and Anthony Levine
The surprise here is that rookie Chuck Clark fails to make the team. The talent and depth of the Ravens secondary promises to lead to one or two surprise cuts this year. Clark has some talent but will need a strong training camp in order to claim a roster spot.
Special Teams (3)
Justin Tucker, Sam Koch and Morgan Cox
No surprise here as “The Wolfpack” stays intact for another year.