The Ravens' top decision makers are always preaching about the importance of roster competition. They want it at every position, not just for starting roles but for special teams units and back-end roster spots.
Heading into training camp which officially begins with the first full-squad practice on July 24, the Ravens’ front office has assembled a 90-man roster that will need to be whittled down to 53 in the coming weeks. The roster has a mixture of youth and experience and is particularly deep at wide receiver where 12 guys are competing for five or six spots.
This is the fifth in a series predicting how many players the Ravens will keep at each position, which players are locks to make the team, which ones are on the bubble and which ones are going to need to defy long odds to stick.
How many they’ll keep: 9
Locks if healthy: Eugene Monroe (tackle), Rick Wagner (tackle), Kelechi Osemele (guard), Marshal Yanda (guard), Jeremy Zuttah (center), Ryan Jensen (guard/tackle), John Urschel (guard)
On the bubble: Gino Gradkowski (center), James Hurst (tackle), Will Rackley (guard), Jah Reid (guard/tackle), A.Q. Shipley (center/guard)
Long shots: Parker Graham (tackle), David Mims (tackle), Reggie Stephens (center), Brett Van Sloten (tackle)
Skinny: This may be the hardest position to project, simply because so many of the Ravens’ offensive linemen offer flexibility and could play in three or four different spots. Barring another acquisition or a key injury, the starting group appears set with Monroe at left tackle, Osemele at left guard, Zuttah at center, Yanda at right guard and Wagner at right tackle. The coaching staff is high on Jensen, who can play any position along the line except maybe left tackle so he should make the team as a top reserve. As a fifth-round pick, Urschel is probably safe but the Ravens will want to keep a more experienced interior offensive lineman. That could be Shipley, Rackley, or someone else. Gradkowski, who started 16 games at center last season, will shift into a reserve role and is the primary backup to Zuttah. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for Reid, a former third-round pick who has been a disappointment. The Ravens love to hold onto a developmental linemen and Hurst was a priority undrafted free agent.
Tomorrow, we will highlight linebackers.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun