Survival is the show of choice to describe the Ravens’ offseason so far, but it took a poignant turn on Thursday, as the Dolphins’ chewed-up grass field became a liability. Players kept slipping and losing their footing all night, making Ravens fans everywhere gasp in horror. Fortunately, it looks like the team survived the conditions, and some players certainly improved their stock as we head into the third preseason game – typically the showcase for the first units.
Here’s our second 2017 53-man roster projection:
Who’s In: Joe Flacco, Josh Woodrum
Analysis: Is it too soon to be all-in on the Josh Woodrum train? Nope. Ryan Mallett’s stock is firmly in the red and he’ll have one more game to save his job.
Running Backs (5)
Analysis: With Tailaferro getting reps in the second half of Thursday night’s game, you wonder if the team is simply trying to preserve him for the regular season or if it’s a sign that he’s very much on the chopping block or trading block.
Wide Receivers (6)
Analysis: The most notable absence here is Chris Moore. His stock has plummeted and Thursday night’s game was a huge missed opportunity. Reynolds looks like a better bet to make this team but will need to stay consistent in the return game.
Tight Ends (3)
Analysis: This should stay the same but Larry Donnell made a strong case with his performance in Miami. Still, it’s hard to imagine the team keeping more than three tight ends. Williams looked good but we’ve seen him look good in the preseason before – let’s hope his progress sticks this time.
Offensive Line (9)
Analysis: An absolute mess. That’s the only way to describe this group. The re-signing of Zuttah is an interesting move. The team certainly needs depth, but he’s not a good fit for the new run scheme, and Jensen has been the only bright spot at center. Hurst is still in play for the left guard spot job.
Defensive Line (7)
Analysis: The most interesting development came from Ricard logging snaps in the Ravens’ jumbo packages at fullback. Greg Roman is known for using extra linemen and being creative with his personnel, and this is an opportunity to keep a talented player like Ricard alive on the roster. Ricard’s versatility aside, the team won’t end up keeping eight linemen. Willie Henry hasn’t shown up yet, and really hasn’t shown up since being drafted.
Analysis: No changes here. Williams finally made a dent in the preseason with a sack and QB hurry on a screen, finally flashing the explosive get-off and hand-use he’s capable of displaying more consistently.
Defensive Backs (10)
Analysis: As we advance through training camp and the second preseason game, Brandon Boykin looks like a prime candidate for a visit from “The Turk.” Clark’s ability to play special teams and Hill’s all-around stellar play can’t be ignored.
Analysis: Nothing to see here, the Wolf Pack is intact.