OWINGS MILLS, MD — After four preseason games, it’s time to pick the Baltimore Ravens’ 53-man roster ahead of the 4:00 p.m. deadline on Saturday, Sept. 1.
The Ravens will play their fifth game of the preseason on Thursday, Aug. 30 against the Washington Redskins from M&T Bank Stadium, but after four games certain players have stood out while others failed to capitalize on their opportunities.
Below, site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz reveal their official predictions for the Ravens’ 2018 53-man roster. Each person’s breakdown includes a table of the roster by position, followed by a handful of bullet points where there guys explain the reasoning behind their choices.
- Red text signifies a currently injured player who will make the 53-man roster
- Orange text signifies a suspended player who will miss a portion of the season
- Blue text signifies an injured player who will likely land on the injured reserve list
- I’ve gone back-and-forth over the quarterback situation several times, but I think the Ravens have their hands tied and need to keep three quarterbacks. Signing Robert Griffin III in April proved to be a smart move because Lamar Jackson needs time to develop this season before taking over as the backup quarterback. The Ravens will certainly use Jackson as a weapon at select times this season, but he’s the third quarterback on the depth chart. Having RGIII with him throughout the entire season as a mentor will pay off huge dividends in the long-run.
- The injuries to Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst opened up the door for Greg Senat to make the roster, but his performance on Saturday combined with his foot injury set him back and likely costed him a spot. Senat would have been great depth as Stanley and Hurst recover from their injuries, but he’s a project and a year on the practice squad will help him develop. The Ravens’ have to count on Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr.’s health this season, because their depth at tackle isn’t deep. Jermaine Eluemunor and Nico Siragusa can fill in at guard if need be and Eluemunor can spot at tackle, but his sample size at tackle thus far has not looked good.
- I went back-and-forth over Kamalei Correa, but I kept him on the team because I have the Ravens only keeping three inside linebackers. It hurts to let Albert McClellan go, but he’s 32-years-old and coming off an ACL tear. Although Correa’s natural position is outside, he can fill in at inside linebacker if the Ravens suffer multiple injuries at that position. C.J. Mosley has dealt with several minor injuries throughout his career, so it can’t hurt to carry an extra linebacker. Judging by recent history, I doubt the Ravens would be willing to let go of a third-year second-round pick, and Correa still carries some value on special teams, just like McClellan.
- The Ravens were already going to keep at least five cornerbacks, but Jimmy Smith‘s suspension along with Stanley Jean Baptiste‘s strong preseason opens up the door for the 2014 second-round pick to find his way onto the roster. With De’Shon Elliott likely suffering a season-ending injury against Miami, Anthony Levine Sr. will back up Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson a the safety position, while continuing to fill in at cornerback and linebacker when needed.
- Hayden Hurst still makes the 53-man roster, but he not be ready until week 3 at the earliest. With that said, the Ravens will have to bite the bullet and rely on Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, and Mark Andrews until Hurst returns to the field. It’s a big risk, especially since Boyle has been suspended twice and Williams/Andrews have dealt with injuries in camp. An under-the-radar name to keep an eye on is Darren Waller, who the Ravens have kept off the field since the 2015 sixth-round pick returned from a year-long suspension a few weeks ago. If the Ravens still want to carry four tight ends until Hurst is back, they’ll need Waller to clear waivers and open up another roster spot.
- We knew all along that the Ravens were probably going to keep six receivers, but not many went into camp thinking that Janarion Grant would be one of them. Up until this point, Grant has put together a better preseason than Tim White, at least in the special teams department. Things could certainly change on Thursday against the Redskins. I have a hard time believing that John Harbaugh and Jerry Rosburg would give the big chunk of returner reps to Chris Moore and Willie Snead with both of those guys holding such large roles in this year’s offense.
- Coming into the preseason I expected a lot more from Lamar Jackson but so far he has not shown the prowess to even be a reliable backup in the NFL. On the other hand you have Robert Griffin III making a strong effort for a second chance in the league. The Ravens haven’t kept three quarterbacks in a long time, even when Joe Flacco was dealing with a back injury last season, so this seems like a foreign concept for many fans. To keep it simple, Griffin’s previous NFL experience combined with a solid preseason is more than enough incentive to keep him around.
- The linebackers and defensive lineman were the most difficult to narrow down. There are a lot of young guys getting reps in the preseason, but there is only so much room. My most notable cut here is Kamalei Correa, who dazzled in the Hall of Fame game but went quiet through the Ravens other preseason games. Ultimately I think the team should be basing their decision not only on this preseason, but on the past few seasons. Taking all of that into account, Correa has not done enough to solidify a spot on this defense.
- The 2018 Ravens secondary is looking as deep as ever but that also means there will be some tough decisions when it comes to finalizing the 53-man roster. Jimmy Smith’s suspension is a detriment to the team but he does not count toward the 53-man roster until he returns after week 4. This won’t provide a player like Anthony Averett or Stanley Jean-Baptiste a long term place on the team but it will give them a chance to continue playing at the NFL level while they try to prove themselves. Both have seen significant playing time this preseason but Averett holds the edge for me after coming through with three impressive red zone plays against the Colts.
- The wide receiver core is another position of interest as the roster cuts begin. Spots 1-4 have all proven themselves at the NFL level but guys like Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott haven’t shown off their talents too much in the preseason. Lasley did have a nice game against Miami but I think everyone was hoping to see more from the rookies. I initially had Scott rounding out the six-man wide receiver core but the Ravens have stashed him on IR. With that being said, I really didn’t think there is anyone else in the depth chart worth keeping over him. Breshad Perriman ended his career in Baltimore the second he let that pass from RG3 bounce off his hands for an interception. Meanwhile, guys like Tim White and Janarion Grant have only seen significant playing time as returners and both pretty much ruined their chances of making this team by coughing up the ball against the Colts. I think the Ravens could save themselves a lot of trouble, and a valuable roster spot, by giving return duties to someone like Chris Moore. I am going to roll with five receivers and use that extra spot elsewhere.
- The Ravens offense took a big hit this past week when Hayden Hurst went down with a stress fracture in his foot. The initial time table has him slated for a return in just 3-4 weeks but I think we should all realize that’s a long shot. The guy is getting a screw put in his foot and you expect him to be running full speed in a few weeks? The tight end core was looking pretty shaky prior to Hurst’s injury and now there is nothing but question marks. The candidates to take Hurst’s spot are Maxx Williams, Vince Mayle and Darren Waller. I’m giving Williams the final spot in the tight end depth chart simply because he has the most offensive upside. Mayle made some plays last year but was mostly utilized on special teams. Waller, on the other hand, missed all of 2017 with a suspension and then turned into a ghost during this years preseason.
- The Ravens have to keep three quarterbacks. If Joe Flacco were to miss any games, I refuse to beleive that head coach John Harbaugh is willing to turn the keys over to Lamar Jackson. Harbaugh and his coaching staff have way too much to lose this season.
- Despite a strong outing from Tim White in the receiving game and Janarion Grant returning kicks, I think that Breshad Perriman makes this team. It would be an odd decision to pick up Perriman’s $650,000 roster bonus only to cut him less than two months later.
- With the injury to first-round pick Hayden Hurst, Maxx Williams makes the roster. It will be interesting to see who goes off the roster when Hurst returns.
- The last offensive line spot was between Siragusa and Senat for me. I think Senat is more of a project and is a great fit for the practice squad. His foot injury on Saturday night didn’t help his cause either. Him being a left tackle made the decision difficult with the uncertainty surrounding Ronnie Stanley but I think the Ravens will opt to keep Siragusa.
- Kamalei Correa makes the roster. I think he has proven to have enough of a ceiling to earn the right to make this team. He can play both inside and outside linebacker and that versatility gives him the nod.
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