The Ravens signed 13 players to their practice squad Wednesday, including several who could contribute early in the season.
Quarterback Trace McSorley, defensive back-linebacker Anthony Levine Sr. and defensive tackle Justin Ellis highlighted the group of players, all of whom cleared waivers Wednesday.
Also signed were offensive tackles Adrian Ealy and Andre Smith, wide receivers Jaylon Moore and Binjimen Victor, tight end Tony Poljan, defensive end Chris Smith, inside linebacker Blake Gallagher, safety Jordan Richards, kicker Jake Verity and punter Johnny Townsend. All participated in the Ravens’ offseason workouts or training camp this year.
The Ravens have spots for three more players on their 16-man squad, which can include up to six players with more than two accrued seasons.
“All the decisions are tough,” coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Really, they are. There are none more tough than another; they’re just all tough. You asked about what it’s like; [it’s] probably toughest on the [general manager] and the head coach more than anybody, because you’re dealing with the guys.”
Under rules implemented last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, teams can call up two players from the practice squad to the active roster the day before a game. Teams can also protect up to four players from being signed to another team’s 53-man roster each week.
Levine, entering his 10th year in Baltimore, is the most experienced Raven on the practice squad and a top candidate for early-season action. He’s a locker room leader and special teams standout, finishing fourth on the team in special teams snaps last season despite a nagging core injury. Richards, an early cut during training camp in Owings Mills, finished first in special teams snaps.
McSorley fell out of the battle to back up quarterback Lamar Jackson after hurting his back before the team’s first preseason game. He missed the Ravens’ final two preseason games, in which Tyler Huntley starred, and went unclaimed after he was released Tuesday.
Ellis played in 13 games last season for the Ravens, starting three, and is the team’s heaviest lineman after Brandon Williams. Chris Smith, another experienced veteran, had a strong camp but couldn’t crack the 53-man roster.
Quarterback Tyler Huntley, running back Ty’Son Williams, center Trystan Colon, inside linebacker Kristian Welch, safety Geno Stone and long snapper Nick Moore all spent part or all of last season on the team’s practice squad. All made the Ravens’ season-opening 53-man roster Tuesday.
“It is what we strive for, no doubt about it, and I’m just happy for the guys, individually,” Harbaugh said. “Every single guy is an individual story, and each of those stories is fascinating, when you get to know these guys, and I’m excited for each one of them.”