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The Ravens have graduated from the practice phase of training camp to the preseason part of it. Yet, as they head into Thursday night's preseason opener against the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers, the outlook of their 53-man roster remains muddled.

Four players expected to occupy front-line roles this season – wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman, and outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil – have yet to practice this training camp and remain on the physically unable to perform list. The Ravens have a lengthy list of other players, including veterans Michael Campanaro, Crockett Gillmore and Dennis Pitta, and rookies Chris Moore and Maurice Canady, who have been sidelined with training camp injuries and aren't expected to play Thursday.

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The injuries have complicated already difficult roster decisions. The Ravens will have to cut their roster from 90 to 75 players by Aug. 30, two days before their preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints. They'll then have to get down to 53 by Sept. 3.

Projecting the 53-man regular-season roster is a difficult proposition this early. We'll take a shot at it anyway.

QUARTERBACKS

How many they'll keep: 2

Making the cut: Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett

Missing out: Jerrod Johnson, Josh Johnson

Skinny: Mallett's struggles from the various organized team activities and mandatory minicamp have extended into training camp, but he still has a solid hold on the backup job. The Ravens don't like keeping more than two quarterbacks and they won't this year with roster spots needed elsewhere.

RUNNING BACKS

How many they'll keep: 5

Making the cut: Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Terrance West, Kyle Juszczyk (fullback)

Missing out: Stephen Houston, Lorenzo Taliaferro

Skinny: Ravens coach John Harbaugh would much prefer keeping three tailbacks and a fullback. However, West has been the most explosive back in camp and he's well on his way to earning a spot. There's some speculation Forsett could be in jeopardy, but the Ravens need his leadership and steadiness.

WIDE RECEIVERS

How many they'll keep: 6

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Making the cut: Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Perriman, Campanaro, Moore

Missing out: Jeremy Butler, Kaelin Clay, Dobson Collins, Chuck Jacobs, Chris Matthews, Keenan Reynolds

Skinny: There are so many questions here because Smith and Perriman haven't practiced yet and Moore, Campanaro and Matthews are all dealing with injuries. Campanaro had opened up some distance on Reynolds for the slot receiver/kick returner role. Butler has played well enough to warrant a spot, but do the Ravens have an opening? Perriman starting the season on PUP would create one spot.

TIGHT ENDS

How many they'll keep: 4

Making the cut: Benjamin Watson, Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Pitta

Missing out: *Nick Boyle (starts season on suspended list; won't count toward 53-man), *Darren Waller (starts season on suspended list; won't count toward 53-man), Daniel Brown

Skinny: The only question here is whether Pitta will be healthy and productive enough to warrant a roster spot. Taking four tight ends would squeeze the Ravens at another position, but it's hard to imagine they would deny Pitta, whose comeback has been one of the best stories of the summer.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

How many they'll keep: 8

Making the cut: Ronnie Stanley, LT; John Urschel, LG; Jeremy Zuttah, C; Marshal Yanda, RG; Rick Wagner, RT; Ryan Jensen, C/G; Alex Lewis, G/T; De'Ondre Wesley, OT.

Missing out: Jarell Broxton, G; Blaine Clausell, T; Vladimir Ducasse, G; Anthony Fabiano, C; James Hurst, T; Stephane Nembot, OT; Matt Skura, C.

Skinny: Assuming the top guys stay healthy, there is probably one spot that still needs to be decided. Wesley, the type of raw and talented prospect offensive line coach Juan Castillo loves to develop, is one of the favorites for it. Hurst hasn't distinguished himself in training camp so far and he needed a strong summer to stick. Keeping nine offensive linemen would be preferable, but a roster crunch demands the organization makes some tough decisions.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

How many they'll keep: 6

Making the cut: Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, Carl Davis, Willie Henry

Missing out: *Bronson Kaufusi (injured reserve), Trevon Coley, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Michael Pierce

Skinny: Kaufusi's season-ending ankle injury figures to open at least one spot. If the Ravens keep six defensive linemen – and that appears likely – it might come down to a decision between Henry and Lewis-Moore. Henry is a rookie fourth-round pick and the organization hates walking away from draft picks early. However, Lewis-Moore has had a great start to training camp.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

How many they'll keep: 5

Making the cut: Suggs, Dumervil, Albert McClellan, Za'Darius Smith, Matthew Judon

Missing out: Brennen Beyer, Chris Carter, Victor Ochi, Mario Ojemudia

Skinny: If Suggs and Dumervil are both healthy, Suggs will be at rush linebacker with Smith backing him up. Dumervil and McClellan will platoon on the strong side. Judon needs some experience, but as a fifth-round pick, he's probably safe. The Ravens would love to keep Ochi, who plays with a nastiness and a high motor. However, he could be caught in a number's game.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

How many they'll keep: 4

Making the cut: C.J. Mosley, Zachary Orr, Kamalei Correa, Anthony Levine

Missing out: Arthur Brown, Kavell Conner, Patrick Onwuasor

Skinny: Brown, the former second-round pick, has had a quiet training camp so far. The decision to use Correa at weak-side linebacker could cost Brown a roster spot. Levine, a former defensive back, is being used at inside linebacker, but he'll make the team on the strength of his special teams play. The Ravens have a history of keeping rookie undrafted free agent linebackers, so Onwuasor has a shot.

CORNERBACKS

How many they'll keep: 6

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Making the cut: Jimmy Smith, Shareece Wright, Jerraud Powers, Tavon Young, Will Davis, Canady

Missing out: Kyle Arrington, Sam Brown, Sheldon Price, Julian Wilson

Skinny: Smith, Wright and Powers seem entrenched as the top three corners and Young, a rookie fourth-round pick, is pushing for playing time. That leaves one or two spots for Davis, Canady, Arrington and Price. Price is having the best camp of any of the four. However, the Ravens have more invested in Canady, a rookie sixth-round pick, and Davis, who is trying to come back from his second torn ACL in as many seasons. Arrington has struggled since joining the team, and could be the odd man out.

SAFETIES

How many they'll keep: 4

Making the cut: Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb, Kendrick Lewis, Terrence Brooks

Missing out: Matt Elam

Skinny: It was widely believed that Elam and Brooks were competing for one spot heading into camp and nothing has really changed that perception. Elam, the 2013 first-round pick, is currently ahead of Brooks, a 2014 third rounder, on the depth chart. However, Brooks is building some momentum and starting to make some plays in camp. The battle between Brooks and Elam might come down to special teams. Lewis is a favorite of the coaching staff.

SPECIALISTS

How many they'll keep: 3

Making the cut: Justin Tucker, PK; Sam Koch, P; Morgan Cox, LS.

Missing out: Wil Lutz, K/P.

Skinny: There's no ambiguity here. Lutz was signed as an extra camp leg and was never considered a threat to unseat Tucker or Koch.

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