High-fives: breaking down the biggest storylines as the Ravens get ready for training camp

Looking at the position battles, injury concerns and top rookies with the Ravens’ first full-squad practice of training camp now just 48 hours away.

FIVE VETERANS ON THE BUBBLE

Buck Allen, RB: Kenneth Dixon’s suspension theoretically opens a spot, but Allen is going to have to run hard and decisively to secure it.

Brandon Boykin, CB: The Ravens need a replacement in the slot for the injured Tavon Young. Boykin was once considered a solid nickel corner before the injuries hit.

Michael Campanaro, WR: His first order of business is to get healthy. Then, he’ll potentially have to beat out Chris Matthews, Keenan Reynolds and a host of rookies for a reserve spot.

Za’Darius Smith, OLB: The Ravens don’t like giving up on pass rushers, so Smith is probably safe, but he needs to play far better than he did last year with Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams on the roster.

Brent Urban, DE: Urban worked with the ones in training camp and should be fine, but all bets are off if he gets outplayed by youngsters Bronson Kaufusi and Chris Wormley in camp.

FIVE INJURY CONCERNS

Campanaro, WR: Currently on the physically unable to perform list, the receiver and return man is dealing with a toe injury and is expected to be brought along gradually.

Carl Davis, DT: Davis missed a chunk of the offseason workouts and minicamps with a pectoral injury. They are counting on him to help make up for the loss of Timmy Jernigan.

C.J. Mosley, MLB: Mosley had offseason shoulder surgery and while team officials aren’t fretting about his status, they need perhaps their top defensive player on the field.

Crockett Gillmore, Benjamin Watson and Maxx Williams, TEs: Dennis Pitta and Darren Waller are no longer in the picture, so the Ravens could really use a run of good health from their tight end group.

Marshal Yanda, OG: Yanda guaranteed that he’d be ready for the start of the regular season after shoulder surgery, and nobody doubts him. His toughness is well documented.

FIVE ROOKIES TO WATCH

Tyus Bowser, OLB: Bowser, a second-round pick, is a freakish athlete who is capable of providing a jolt at the strong-side linebacker spot.

Marlon Humphrey, CB: The first-round draft pick won’t be thrust immediately into a starting role, but the Ravens still need him to be ready to step in.

Ricky Ortiz, FB: An undrafted rookie, Ortiz will compete with Lorenzo Taliaferro for the fullback job vacated by Pro Bowl performer Kyle Juszczyk.

Nico Siragusa, OG: The Ravens have two questions along the offensive line and it would certainly help if either Siragusa or Jermaine Eluemunor looked like potential solutions.

Tim Williams, OLB: With his off-the-field problems in college, Williams was a high-risk, high-reward pick. He needs to stay out of trouble off the field and wreak havoc on it.

FIVE STARTING POSITION BATTLES

Center: Nick Mangold is still not a Raven, which means that John Urschel, Ryan Jensen and Matt Skura will be vying for the starting center job.

Five-technique defensive end: Lawrence Guy was a valuable player for the Ravens but he’s now with the New England Patriots, leaving Urban, Kaufusi and Wormley to compete for his spot.

Right tackle: Much-maligned James Hurst seemingly has a significant lead over a group of unproven challengers, including De’Ondre Wesley, Stephane Nembot and Eluemunor.

Strong-side linebacker: Matthew Judon and Bowser head the depth chart at this spot, but Albert McClellan is an option as well.

Weak-side linebacker: This appears to be Kamalei Correa’s job to lose. If he falters, the Ravens would turn to McClellan or Patrick Onwuasor.

FIVE MAJOR QUESTIONS

Which Joe Flacco will the Ravens get? This is a huge year for Flacco, who needs to reverse a two-year decline and lead a more explosive and mistake-free offense.

Can the Ravens establish a running game? They had one of the worst ground attacks in football two years in a row, then brought in assistants Greg Roman and Joe D’Alessandris to change that.

Will the offensive line hold up? After vowing to solidify the offensive line, the Ravens traded center Jeremy Zuttah and lost right tackle Rick Wagner in free agency. They didn’t replace either.

Can Correa adequately replace Zachary Orr? A second-round pick last year, Correa barely got onto the field. Now, he’s being asked to replace one of the team’s best defensive players last year.

Will Jimmy Smith stay healthy?: Smith has missed at least four games in four of his six NFL seasons. Improved secondary play still hinges on the team’s top cornerback staying healthy.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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