Ordinarily, this space is reserved for my five thoughts about the Ravens’ latest game. But instead of analyzing their 22-13 preseason win over the New Orleans Saints Thursday night, I’m going to focus on this week’s big topic: the final cuts due by Saturday.
After taking 75 players to New Orleans, the Ravens have to get down to 53 to start the regular season. Here’s my prediction for what the roster will look like after the final cuts:
Skinny: After some offseason speculation about his job possibly being in jeopardy, Taylor easily outplayed rookie
Running back (4):
Skinny: Rice’s season-opening suspension means his top backups all make it for now. Forsett’s spot could be in jeopardy when Rice returns. Taliaferro’s spot is secure after a strong preseason.
Wide Receiver (6): Steve Smith,
Skinny: The top four were locks. The final choice, a tough one, came down to Thompson, Campanaro and
Tight end (3):
Skinny: The only drama was whether Daniels would start the season on the roster after missing most of the preseason due to leg fatigue. He is a go.
Offensive line (9):
Skinny: With the first five set as starters, the issue was the backups. Gradkowski and Shipley struggled as starters in 2013, but with their experience, make solid reserves. Reid will play on jumbo packages. The final spot came down to Urschel over
Defensive line (5):
Skinny: This position was hit hard in training camp when
Skinny: When Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said the team had tough decisions to make, he surely was referring to the last linebacker slot, a choice between
Skinny: Preseason injuries to the top three at this position mean quality depth is even more of a priority than usual. The Raven go with veterans over young guys such as
Skinny: Elam and Stewart are the starters for now, with Brooks coming on fast. Miles, Trawick and Levine have strong coverage skills on special teams, and Levine increased his value by filling in at cornerback in the preseason. One could go when Hill’s suspension ends in October. He has shown he can contribute.
Skinny: Tucker, coming off an All-Pro season, is in line for a contract extension. Cox is entrenched. Koch was the only one who faced competition in training camp, and it was minimal.