The Ravens began to trim their roster ahead of Saturday’s deadline, releasing three undrafted rookies and sending another long-shot player to the injured reserve Monday.
Outside linebacker John Daka, wide receiver Michael Dereus and center Sean Pollard were waived, while wide receiver and returner DeAndrew White was placed on IR. The Ravens now have 76 players on their active roster; the team must get down to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday. With expanded 16-player practice squads, the Ravens could keep as many as 69 players currently in training camp.
Daka, who grew up in Maryland, was one of the team’s more well-regarded undrafted rookies heading into training camp. At James Madison, he led the Football Championship Subdivision in sacks (16½) and tackles for loss (28) last season. According to the Zambian Embassy, Daka was the first player from the south-central African country to make it to the NFL.
Pollard, meanwhile, was named second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference as a junior and senior at Clemson, respectively. Dereus, a former Georgetown standout, was named first-team All-Patriot League after making 41 catches for a team-high 726 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Four days after signing with the Ravens, White, 28, limped out of bounds after returning the opening kickoff in the team’s scrimmage Saturday. Athletic trainers tended to him before he soon returned to the team’s locker room. He joins cornerback Iman Marshall (knee) and wide receiver Antoine Wesley (shoulder) on IR.
With the coronavirus pandemic keeping teams from playing preseason games, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said the final week for Ravens on the roster bubble will be “very different” from those in years past.
“That scrimmage the other night almost kind of felt like the first preseason game in a little way,” Roman said Monday. “But everybody is under the same guidelines and rules and schedules, so it’s equitable. And it’s our job to make the most of everything we can.”
Said defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale: “It’s going to be difficult; the cuts always are. I think it’s different this year, because you have a larger practice squad. You’ve really got to have guys, with this virus that’s here, be ready to play, because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. We like where we’re at. [General manager] Eric [DeCosta] and [coach] John [Harbaugh] will take care of the cut part of it, and we’ll go from there.”
Daka, Dereus, Pollard and White were absent from the open portion of Monday’s practice. Wide receiver Chris Moore (finger), running backs Mark Ingram II and Kenjon Barner, cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Josh Nurse, tight end Charles Scarff, offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and defensive lineman Justin Madubuike were also missing.