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Late For Work 8/31: Ravens 53-Man Roster Prediction Cheat Sheet, Including Bubble Player Analysis

Posted Aug 31, 2017

Looking at the roster locks, bubble players and long shots. Could the Ravens sign another running back? Joe Haden leaves the AFC North (Browns) only to come back to the AFC North (Steelers). Shout-out to J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans.


Ravens 53-Man Roster Prediction Cheat Sheet, Including Bubble Player Analysis

When it comes down to it, there are really only a handful of roster spots up for grabs on the final 53-man roster.

You can scan through the Ravens depth chart and pretty easily name around 47 to 49 players that will make the squad.

But as you enter the “You Pick the Team” contest, you’ll want to know the skinny on the most uncertain positions and players. So, I’ve compiled the ultimate cheat sheet for you.

First, Garrett Downing and Ryan Mink announced their 53-man predictions in yesterday’s episode “The Lounge” podcast. And just to illustrate how slippery those last slots can be (and how these guys have zero insider knowledge), Mink literally changed his mind midway through the episode about his final picks.

Second, we’ll take a look at five bubble players that WNST’s Luke Jones says you should watch during the preseason finale tonight in New Orleans.

Finally, The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec lays out who he thinks are the roster locks, bubble players and long shots at each position.

Five Bubble Players to Watch vs. New Orleans

If you don’t think the final preseason game has an impact on who makes the team, just ask second-year player Michael Pierce. The 2016 undrafted rookie cemented his status on the roster last year with a strip/sack of quarterback Luke McCown in the preseason finale. Oh, and then he recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

If one of the players on this year’s bubble absolutely balls out tonight, they too could put an exclamation point on their bid for one of the final 53 spots. Jones says to watch out for these five guys:

RB Taquan Mizzell

As the Pro Football Focus graphic below illustrates, not only has Mizzell stood out in Baltimore, but his receiving numbers out of the backfield are the best across the league. Obviously, the NFL’s starting running backs have seen little to no work during the preseason, but it’s telling that Mizzell tops all the other backs who are trying to make NFL rosters. “His skill as a receiver out of the backfield is intriguing with Danny Woodhead currently sidelined, and he fared well when given snaps against Buffalo’s starting defense last week,” wrote Jones. “The 5-foot-10, 192-pound back shows some upside in a group not having much of it.”

DT Carl Davis

We’ve heard it all training camp and preseason: the Ravens defensive line is deeeeep. Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear that the Ravens would be open to trading one of their guys, but other teams may just want to wait and see if Baltimore will cut one. Downing and Mink both think all eight will make the roster, but if the Ravens need the space for another position, Jones says Davis, 2016 fourth-rounder Willie Henry or undrafted rookie Patrick Ricard are the most vulnerable.The fact that the latter two are under team control for a longer period of time could work against Davis, but he showed early promise as a rookie before missing the entire 2016 season due to injury,” wrote Jones.

WR Chris Matthews

In recent years, the Ravens have kept six receivers out of the gates, but Zrebiec doesn’t see anyone quite worthy of that sixth spot. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Baltimore keep just five, but that could depend on the health of Breshad Perriman, who has been nursing a hamstring injury. Jones says to keep an eye on Matthews because of his special-team prowess, writing: “Nothing beyond Matthews’ 6-foot-5 frame stands out as it relates to being a wide receiver, but he’s been a mainstay on most special-teams units this summer and at least looks the part of a red-zone target, something the Ravens are lacking right now. Other young receivers have failed to distinguish themselves, leaving the door open for Matthews’ special-team prowess to break any ties.”

CB Robertson Daniel

The Ravens bulked up at cornerback during the offseason, so there is more depth there than they’ve had in recent years. Plus, they may also need a spot for Maurice Canady before putting him on injured reserve so that he’s eligible for a late-season return. “Signed to the practice squad last October, Daniel is someone the Ravens have liked enough to keep in the organization, but the depth at outside cornerback ahead of him is stout,” wrote Jones. “His 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame has allowed him to take a few reps at safety, the kind of versatility that doesn’t hurt a player’s chances. He and Sheldon Price could be competing for one spot on the 53-man roster.”

OT De’Ondre Wesley

This is the pick that Mink changed his mind on. He originally had Wesley off his 53-man roster because he believes the Ravens could still sign a left tackle after roster cuts across the league. But then he added him back on because depth is thin. “The 6-foot-6, 331-pound specimen really hasn’t done much this summer, but left tackle Ronnie Stanley just returned from injury this week and reserve left tackle James Hurst may end up starting at left guard, presumably creating a need for another offense tackle,” wrote Jones. “The Ravens have to be disappointed that Wesley and Stephane Nembot haven’t stepped forward in their development, but finding tackle depth isn’t easy.”

Zrebiec’s Locks, Bubble Players and Long Shots

QUARTERBACKS

How many they’ll likely keep: 2
Locks: Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett
Long shots: Josh Woodrum, Thaddeus Lewis

RUNNING BACKS

How many they’ll likely keep: 4
Locks if healthy: Terrance West, Danny Woodhead
On the bubble: Buck Allen, Taquan Mizzell, Ricky Ortiz (fullback)
Long shots: Bobby Rainey, Lorenzo Taliaferro (fullback)
Injured reserve: Kenneth Dixon (knee)

WIDE RECEIVERS

How many they’ll likely keep: 5
Locks if healthy: Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman
On the bubble: Chris Moore, Michael Campanaro, Chris Matthews, Quincy Adeboyejo
Long shots: Keenan Reynolds, Griff Whalen, C.J. Board
Injured reserve: Tim White (thumb)

TIGHT ENDS

How many they’ll likely keep: 4
Locks if healthy: Nick Boyle, Benjamin Watson, Maxx Williams
On the bubble: Larry Donnell, Vince Mayle
Long shot: Ryan Malleck
Reserve/suspended list: Darren Waller (one year)
Injured reserve: Crockett Gillmore (knee)
Note: “Donnell would give the Ravens another red-zone threat,” Zrebiec wrote. “Keeping Mayle would be a nod to Jerry Rosburg’s special teams units.”

OFFENSIVE LINE

How many they’ll likely keep: 8
Locks if healthy: Ronnie Stanley, James Hurst, Ryan Jensen, Marshal Yanda, Austin HowardJermaine Eluemunor
On the bubble: Jeremy Zuttah, Matt Skura, De’Ondre Wesley
Long shots: Jarrod Pughsley, Stephane Nembot, Jarell Broxton, Roubbens Joseph, Maurquice Shakir, Derrick Nelson
Injured reserve: Alex Lewis (shoulder), Nico Siragusa (knee)
Reserve/retired list: John Urschel
Note: “The Ravens are still trying to add another offensive lineman, so the story here is far from complete,” Zrebiec wrote.

DEFENSIVE LINE

How many they’ll likely keep: 7
Locks if healthy: Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Brent Urban, Bronson Kaufusi, Chris Wormley
On the bubble: Carl Davis, Willie Henry, Patrick Ricard

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

How many they’ll likely keep: 5
Locks if healthy: Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon, Za’Darius Smith, Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams
Long shots: Randy Allen, Boseko Lokombo

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

How many they’ll likely keep: 4
Locks if healthy: C.J. Mosley, Kamalei Correa, Patrick Onwuasor
On the bubble: Bam Bradley, Donald Payne
Long shot: Brennen Beyer
Injured reserve: Albert McClellan
Note: “Bradley has been impressive and could become the latest undrafted inside linebacker to make the team,” Zrebiec wrote. “He needs to play well Thursday.”

CORNERBACKS

How many they’ll likely keep: 6
Locks if healthy: Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey
On the bubble: Jaylen Hill, Robertson Daniel, Sheldon Price, Trevin Wade
Long shots: Brandon Boykin, Reggie Porter
Injured reserve: Tavon Young (knee), Maurice Canady (knee)

SAFETIES

How many they’ll likely keep: 5
Locks if healthy: Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Lardarius Webb, Anthony Levine Sr.
On the bubble: Chuck Clark
Long shots: Otha Foster

SPECIALISTS

How many they’ll likely keep: 3
Locks if healthy: Justin Tucker (kicker), Sam Koch (punter), Morgan Cox (long snapper)
Long shots: Kenny Allen (punter), Taybor Pepper (long snapper)

Could Ravens Sign Another Running Back?

That’s the question ESPN’s Jamison Hensley is pondering after watching the running game all training camp and preseason. Nobody has seriously pushed West for the starting job, but Hensley says he’s also been quiet.

“But could competition come from a runner not currently on the team?” Hensley asked.

“Washington's Matt Jones and the New York Jets' Matt Forte are among the running backs who might be available Saturday when teams cut down their rosters to 53 players. Other intriguing runners will likely get pushed out as well.”

The Ravens have been vocal about improving the run game and brought in Senior Offensive Assistant Greg Roman to help. It’s hard to analyze the group because of the constant shifting along the offensive line due to injuries. Whatever the reason, West has only averaged 2.4 yards per carry in his limited sample size of 16 rushes this preseason.

The Ravens would like to see West or another running back produce healthier numbers as Flacco is coming off a back injury. A strong running game would take the pressure off as he gets into football shape during the start of the season.

“The problem with West is he's never been a consistent or disciplined runner. In his three NFL seasons, he's never averaged more than four yards per carry,” wrote Hensley. “The Ravens just don't have anyone to either replace him or push him. 

“If the Ravens decided to add a running back, they could trade a defensive lineman (the team's deepest position) for one or just sign a back after he is released Saturday. Cost will be important because the Ravens only have a few million of cap space remaining.”

Joe Haden Leaves AFC North (Browns) Only to Come Back to AFC North (Steelers)

Questions started pouring in from the Flock about the Ravens potentially signing cornerback Joe Haden after the Cleveland Browns released him Wednesday morning.

Their question was quickly answered when just a few hours later the Pittsburgh Steelers signed the 28-year-old Pro Bowler. Haden signed a three-year deal reportedly worth $27 million with $7 million guaranteed in his first year, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Haden hasn’t been as dominant the last couple of seasons as he was to start his career, but that could largely be due to injuries. Putting a healthy Haden on an already stout Pittsburgh team that is considered the favorite to win the division will certainly make life more difficult for Baltimore.

Shout-Out to J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans

This space is primarily reserved for news and opinions specific to the Ravens, but every once in a while, there are events not Ravens-related that deserve a shout-out, and this is one of them.

As Houston continues its efforts to overcome Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, the worst rainstorm in American history, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt started fundraising efforts for victims devastated by flooding. His original goal was $200,000, but he has far exceeded that goal. He reached $6 million last night and now the new goal is $10 million.

As the MMQB.com’s Peter King tweeted, this is an incredible display of the American spirit.

Quick Hits

  • Vontaze Burfict’s suspension was reduced to three games after he appealed the initial five-game ban for an illegal hit during the Bengal-Chiefs third preseason game. That means Burfict will still miss the season-opening matchup when the Ravens visit Cincinnati on Sept. 10. [NFL.com]

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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