Ravens players will be on the field this week for the start of organized team activities. Thursday’s session is open to reporters. The three weeks of voluntary OTAs will lead into the mandatory minicamp, which will be held June 13-15.
The Baltimore Sun will project the team’s offensive, defensive and special teams depth charts ahead of the workouts. Today, we’ll look at the offense. Tuesday, we’ll examine defense and special teams.
Skinny: There’s no ambiguity here. Flacco, who missed OTAs last year as he recovered from knee surgery, is entering his 10th season as the starter. After re-signing with the Ravens in March, Mallett is entrenched as the No. 2 quarterback. The Ravens haven’t kept three quarterbacks to start a season since 2009, and the presence of Vaughan, who was added to the practice squad last December, isn’t expected to alter their plans.
Skinny: While there’s been speculation this offseason about the Ravens’ interest in other backs, team officials have said repeatedly they are content with West as the lead guy. This is a big season for the former Towson University standout who is a free agent after the 2017 campaign. Woodhead slots in immediately behind West because Dixon is suspended for the first four games. Dixon’s ban could open a roster spot for Allen, Taliaferro or Mizzell, an undrafted rookie who had a productive career at Virginia.
Fullback: Nick Boyle, Taliaferro, Ricky Ortiz
Skinny: With Kyle Juszczyk now in San Francisco, the Ravens might not use a traditional fullback. In situations where they need a lead blocker, they could use a tight end, with Boyle being the most likely candidate. The team has also discussed the possibility of using Taliaferro, who is 6 feet and 225 pounds, at fullback. An undrafted free agent out of Oregon State, Ortiz played tight end, linebacker and fullback in college. If he makes the team, it will be because of his blocking and special teams ability.
Skinny: The Ravens have 13 wide receivers on their roster and eight of them have never caught a pass in an NFL regular-season game. The team is excited about the potential of Moore, a fourth-round pick last year who is line for a bigger role. As things stand, Moore and Michael Campanaro will battle for the No. 3 wide receiver role. At 6-5 and 228 pounds, Matthews brings size and physicality, which is lacking with this receiver group. However, he needs to stay healthy and play more consistently.
Wide receiver: Breshad Perriman, Campanaro, Keenan Reynolds, Quincy Adeboyejo, Tim White, Aaron Bailey
Skinny: Perriman answered some skeptics by playing all 16 games last season. Now, he has to show improvement with his hands and route running. Even if the Ravens bring in another receiver, they want the 2015 first-round draft pick on the field a lot. If Campanaro stays healthy, he’s the team’s best slot option. Reynolds has worked hard in his transition to an NFL receiver. We’ll know soon how much progress he’s made. Adeboyejo, a big target out of Mississippi, is one of five undrafted rookie receivers on the roster.
Skinny: This is probably the toughest position to sort out because it depends largely on the health of Watson, Gillmore and Williams, who are coming back from significant injuries that cost them most or all of 2016. It also will be affected by whether Boyle or Williams are used at fullback, and whether Waller returns to his roots and plays some wide receiver. Waller is the most explosive and physically gifted tight end the Ravens have, so it would be foolish to dismiss his chances. It seems unlikely the Ravens will find a spot for all six, but special teams and position flexibility will factor.
Left tackle: Ronnie Stanley, James Hurst, Roubbens Joseph
Skinny: The Ravens have questions all along their offensive line, but they are glad Stanley has solidified the left tackle spots for years to come. Once he recovered from a foot injury, Stanley played the way a sixth overall pick is expected to play. He’ll get better, too. If Stanley goes down, the Ravens would likely shift Alex Lewis to tackle, as they did last season. The much-maligned Hurst is a candidate to start at right tackle.
Left guard: Alex Lewis, Nico Siragusa, Jarrod Pughsley
Skinny: Lewis is the best option here. However, the team is considering moving him to right tackle to fill a void there. Coach John Harbaugh has also brought up potentially using Lewis at center. What’s clear is, assuming he’s healthy, Lewis will be one of the Ravens’ five starters along the offensive line. If Siragusa, a rookie fourth-round pick, looks ready this summer to step in as a starter, that would make moving Lewis outside an easier decision.
Center: John Urschel, Ryan Jensen, Matt Skura, Brandon Kublanow
Skinny: If the Ravens sign veteran Nick Mangold, which remains a possibility, he’ll be the starter. But as things stand, Urschel and Jensen are expected to compete for the spot, which became open when the Ravens traded Jeremy Zuttah. Urschel, who stepped in when Zuttah was injured over the past two years, seemingly has the edge heading into training camp. The Ravens have also said they’d like to get Siragusa some repetitions at center.
Right guard: Marshal Yanda, Jarell Broxton, Maurquice Shakir
Skinny: Yanda had shoulder surgery this offseason, so the Ravens will likely take it easy with him this summer and get some of the younger offensive linemen some repetitions with the first team. Yanda, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, traditionally doesn’t attend OTAs anyway. Between Siragusa, Urschel, Jensen and Hurst, the Ravens should have enough depth behind him at right guard.
Right tackle: De’Ondre Wesley, Jermaine Eluemunor, Stephane Nembot
Skinny: After the free-agent departure of Rick Wagner, this is the spot with the most questions. Lewis could make them moot if the Ravens decide to move him to right tackle. Team officials believe Wesley, Eluemunor and Nembot have the physical skills to play the position, but they don't have much playing experience. There is also a chance the Ravens find a starting tackle on the free-agent market, with the top current options being Ryan Clady, King Dunlap and Orlando Franklin.