The next seven weeks figure to be an immensely important stretch for the Ravens as they attempt to assess certain position battles and the strength of their overall roster. Several veterans might find themselves on the bubble, while a few rookies — drafted and undrafted — might spark conversation.
Training camp opens July 19 at 11:50 a.m. when the team will be on the field for its first full-squad practice. The first preseason game is Aug. 2 against the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame Game, and the final cuts for the 53-man active roster will take place Sept. 1.
Injuries, individual performances and possible additions could play a role in determining the roster before the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium.
Here is a position-by-position look at the veterans and newcomers jockeying for roster spots. Monday’s visit was with the defensive linemen. Tuesday’s visit is with the linebackers.
Returning veterans: No. 54 Tyus Bowser, No. 53 Bam Bradley, No. 51 Kamalei Correa, No. 99 Matthew Judon, No. 50 Albert McClellan, No. 57 C.J. Mosley, No. 48 Patrick Onwuasor, No. 90 Za’Darius Smith, No. 55 Terrell Suggs, No. 56 Tim Williams
Rookies: No. 49 Chris Board, No. 58 Alvin Jones, No. 40 Kenny Young
What to look for in training camp: Onwuasor replaced Correa as the starting weak-side linebacker for 13 of the final 16 games of 2017 (including the last 12), but he might be pushed by McClellan, who is returning after sitting out last season because of a torn ACL. Bradley is another player attempting to bounce back from an ACL tear suffered in the second game of the season. At the age of 35, Suggs will likely be treated accordingly and be given a certain amount of latitude to take a few practices off and preserve himself for the regular season.
Outlook: The coaches would love to see McClellan and Bradley remain healthy through the preseason and complement Mosley — who is heading into the final year of his rookie contract — and Onwuasor. Young, whose speed and agility convinced the team to take him in the fourth round, provides even more depth on the interior. Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that he would like to return Correa to his natural position as an edge rusher, but a lack of depth on the interior might keep him there. Suggs, Judon and Smith are poised to earn most of the playing time on the outside. That may not bode well for Bowser and Williams, who could be hard-pressed to make an immediate impact.
One stat from 2017: Only two linebackers finished with 130 tackles, one sack, one interception and three forced fumbles: Mosley and the Cleveland Browns’ Joe Schobert.