The Ravens are inching closer to the 2020 regular season after an unprecedented offseason and training camp. Saturday marked the team’s last fully open practice, a scrimmage at M&T Bank Stadium that gave players a glimpse of what competition amid the coronavirus pandemic might feel like.
The elimination of preseason games left undrafted rookies and bubble players fighting to make the team with a significantly reduced amount of chances to impress coaches. Over the next few days, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta and coach John Harbaugh will slash the roster from 80 players to 53, then assemble a 16-man practice squad and forge ahead to the team’s Sept. 13 home opener against the Cleveland Browns.
Here’s what the roster could look like by Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
In (3): Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley
The Ravens will likely go a third straight season with a third quarterback on the roster, but this time as insurance for an unforeseen COVID-19 outbreak. McSorley had an uneven training camp, and undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley looked more poised at times. But in the team’s first and only scrimmage, Huntley didn’t do much to further his case. Decision-makers might find it difficult to convince themselves to keep Huntley on the roster without seeing him in game action. They could attempt to sneak Huntley on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
In (4): Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, J.K. Dobbins
Out (2): Kenjon Barner, Ty’Son Williams
The makeup of this position group was never really in doubt, as coaches continued to speak of a four-man platoon spearheading the running game. Hill has missed about a week of training camp — and didn’t flash much before his injury — opening more opportunities for Dobbins, who had as impressive a training camp as any player. As the team heads into the regular season, the main question is how offensive coordinator Greg Roman distributes carries.
In (6): Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead IV, Devin Duvernay, James Proche, Chris Moore
Out (4): Jaleel Scott, Michael Dereus (cut Monday), Jaylon Moore, DeAndrew White (injured reserve)
Returning players Brown, Boykin and Snead were locks, along with rookies Duvernay and Proche, who had strong training camps. Chris Moore has missed training camp with a broken finger that Harbaugh said isn’t serious. Moore’s absence opened an opportunity for Scott or one of the undrafted rookies to steal a spot. Neither of the rookies popped and Scott got some repetitions on special teams but had an inconsistent camp at receiver in team drills. Moore, a special teams contributor and veteran returner, missed two straight games last season with a similar injury, setting him up to potentially return for Week 1.
In (4): Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Charles Scarff, Patrick Ricard
Out (2): Eli Wolf, Jerell Adams
The departure of Hayden Hurst left a void at the team’s third tight end spot, a more glamorous position than with most teams. Wolf, an intriguing option as an undrafted rookie, had some moments but missed almost a week of practice with an undisclosed injury. Harbaugh noted the progression of Scarff and Adams as all-around players but neither separated from the other. In this case, the edge goes to Scarff, who was on the practice squad last year and has the most familiarity with the offense.
In (9): Ronnie Stanley, Orlando Brown Jr., Bradley Bozeman, D.J. Fluker, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari, Ben Bredeson, Tyre Phillips, Will Holden
Out (4): Parker Ehinger, Ben Powers, Trystan Colon-Castillo, Sean Pollard (cut Monday)
How the interior offensive line would unfold was a top story line heading into training camp. It had an anticlimactic development, as Bozeman was never tested for the starting job he held last year. It also appears newcomer Fluker convinced coaches to entrust him with the job of trying to replace Marshal Yanda at right guard.
The team brought Skura along slowly into team drills as he returned from his season-ending knee injury. He didn’t seem to suffer any setbacks and looks on track to be on the active roster for Week 1. He and Mekari give the offense two capable starting centers.
The swing tackle position behind Stanley and Brown was up for grabs after veteran Andre Smith opted out, and Holden, though listed as a guard, performed well when he got looks at the spot. The presence of rookies Phillips and Bredeson, while developmental players, pushes out Powers, a former 2019 fourth-round pick who never stood out in camp.
In (5): Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington
Out (2): Justin Ellis, Aaron Crawford
Every indication is that Ricard will transition into solely an offensive player in 2020, and with the team’s offseason additions at defensive line, that might have been the case anyway. Campbell has been a force and veteran leader in training camp. His arrival might have overshadowed Wolfe’s presence, while Williams looks to thrive in his more natural role at nose tackle. Rookies Madubuike and Washington had solid moments in training camp and are set as reserves, leaving out Ellis and Crawford.
In (5): Matthew Judon, Pernell McPhee, Jihad Ward, Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson
Out (4): Aaron Adeoye, John Daka (cut Monday), Chauncey Rivers, Marcus Willoughby
The Ravens didn’t draft or bring in any veteran free agents at this position, hoping for improvements from their young linebackers. Bowser had likely the best training camp of his career and Ferguson came on strong after missing the first couple days with an undisclosed injury. McPhee and Ward also provide flexibility along the defensive line as interior rushers.
In (4): Patrick Queen, L.J. Fort, Malik Harrison, Chris Board
Out (2): Otaro Alaka, Kristian Welsh
The draft capital dedicated to Queen and Harrison, along with Fort’s experience, probably means one more spot at this position. The primary contenders, Board and Alaka, both had quality camps, making several plays on defense. The team would likely lean to special teams here, where Board has been a key contributor over the past two seasons.
In (5): Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett
Iman Marshall’s season-ending knee injury cleared the lane for Averett to secure a spot behind the team’s top four corners. The Ravens love to stack depth at cornerback but keeping extra players at quarterback and running back likely forces them to go with fewer than usual.
In (5): Chuck Clark, Anthony Levine, DeShon Elliott, Geno Stone, Nigel Warrior
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The release of Earl Thomas III not only provided a long-awaited starting role for Elliott but also an extra spot at the end of the roster for a young upstart. Warrior, an undrafted free agent from Tennessee, made the most of his opportunity in an altered camp. Of the four interceptions thrown in practices open to the media, he came down with two. He was also active on special teams, which is key for an undrafted rookie trying to make a roster. Warrior would extend the Ravens’ streak of keeping an undrafted free agent on their Week 1 roster to 17 years.
In (3): Justin Tucker (kicker), Sam Koch (punter), Morgan Cox (long snapper)
Out (2): Nick Moore (long snapper), Johnny Townsend (punter)