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Late For Work 7/21: Projecting Ravens' 53-Man Roster


Projecting Ravens' 53-Man Roster

Football is finally upon us.

The Ravens' full squad will be suited up on Thursday, when they will battle for the 53 coveted roster spots. The next four weeks will have a major impact on who makes the cut, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley makes his pre-training camp roster predictions.

Let's take a look:

Quarterbacks (3): Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Keith WenningNo real surprises here. Many agree the Ravens need to keep three quarterbacks for the first time since 2009. Hensley says the Ravens "can't afford" to put Wenning on the practice squad if he is to be the top backup next season.

Running backs (4): Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Kyle Juszczyk, Lorenzo Taliaferro, (Justin Forsett)
It would be surprising if Rice, Pierce, Juszczyk or Taliaferro didn't make the team. Forsett was added in case of a Rice suspension, where Rice wouldn't count against the 53-man roster while suspended.

Receivers (5): Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones, Jeremy ButlerInteresting choices here from Hensley. The top 4 are locks, but not only does Hensley think Baltimore will carry five receivers as opposed to six, he has undrafted rookie Butler winning that final spot over seventh-round pick Michael Campanaro and third-year players Deonte Thompson and LaQuan Williams. Butler had an impressive offseason and Campanaro could go on injured reserve with hamstring issues, says Hensley.  

Tight ends (3): Dennis Pitta, Owen Daniels, Crockett GillmoreYup, this sounds about right. But keep an eye on Phillip Supernaw, who worked with Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak in Houston.

Offensive linemen (9): Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah, Marshal Yanda, Rick Wagner, Ryan Jensen, Gino Gradkowski, John Urschel, A.Q. ShipleyTwo names left off Hensley's list are Jah Reid and James Hurst. He says the versatility of Osemele and Jensen allow the Ravens to let the two linemen go.

Defensive linemen (7): Haloti Ngata, Brandon Williams, Chris Canty, Timmy Jernigan, Brent Urban, DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore
Terrence Cody was placed on the training camp physically unable to perform list Friday, which means he could still compete, but Hensley doesn't see him making the team in the end.

Linebackers (9): Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Daryl Smith, Courtney Upshaw, Elvis Dumervil, Arthur Brown, John Simon, Pernell McPhee, Josh BynesThis lineup looks a lot like last year's, with the obvious addition – and possible starter – of first-round rookie Mosley. Who falls off because of Mosley's presence? Hensley sees Albert McClellan as the odd man out if they keep just nine linebackers.

Cornerbacks (5): Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson, Aaron RossThe Ravens signed veterans Aaron Ross and Dominique Franks at the end of the offseason to create more competition. Hensley thinks the Ravens will stick with just one of the two, while keeping younger developing players in Brown and Jackson. "Ross, the former New York Giants defender, is the early favorite, given his history with secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo," Hensley wrote.

Safeties (5): Matt Elam, Darian Stewart, Terrence Brooks, Anthony Levine, Jeromy MilesThe last two spots could still be very much affected by the training camp battle. "The Ravens might opt to go with Brynden Trawick or Omar Brown if they play as well as Miles because they're younger and cheaper," said Hensley.

Specialists (3): Justin Tucker (K), Sam Koch (P), Morgan Cox (LS)No drama here.

Think you know who will make the Ravens' 53-man squad? Here's your chance to prove it, and you can win tickets and sideline passes to the Thursday night showdown vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers while you're at it. Enter our annual "You Pick The Team" contest presented by New Era, starting Aug. 1.


Suggs & Smith Are Fired Up

Two of the most outspoken Ravens are headed to Baltimore, and they are fired up.

Terrell Suggs and Steve Smith Sr. took to social media as they started their journey back to Charm City for training camp, and they've got me excited for football.

"Did you feel that?" asked Suggs on Facebook. "The shift in the atmosphere? The lights getting brighter? The turf at our stadium turning a tad bit greener in anticipation?

"Sizzle is back home.



Smith, who has always played with a chip on his shoulder, is ready to prove we haven't seen the least of it yet.

"Making this drive to Bmore," he tweeted. "If u think I had a chip on my shoulder. U ain't seen nothing yet!!! #agent89 on mission"

Ravens Preseason Ranking: No. 7 has the Ravens ranked at No. 7 in it preseason rankings, a high spot on the list considering last year's finish outside the playoffs.

"For you Ravens fans who are perpetually convinced that the national media never give your team its due, please note [PFT's list]," wrote's Ray Frager. "That seems more than fair."

Mike Florio has Baltimore ranked ahead of all AFC North teams, including the defending division champion Cincinnati Bengals (No. 9). But a large majority (76 percent) of his readers says he put the Ravens too high on the list.

Why are the Ravens so high?

"[T]hese are the Ravens, guided by a superb front office and excellent coaching staff," Florio wrote. "With some important additions, especially on offense, they'll be poised to get back to the postseason.

"When they do, the Ravens will have the physicality to succeed against the best the NFC has to offer.  If they can get that far — a big if given the quality of the Broncos [and] Patriots."

Webb: Ravens Will Bounce Back

Cornerback Lardarius Webb held a free youth football camp at Towson University on Saturday (Ed Reed was there), and he took time to answer a few questions about the Ravens' upcoming season.

The sixth-year veteran sees his team rebounding from last year's 8-8 finish and 34-17 road loss in the regular-season finale.

"Oh yeah, my team is going to bounce back," Webb told The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. "Last year wasn't that bad. A lot of people want to say it was bad just because we didn't make the playoffs. We don't usually not make the playoffs. A lot of people want to say last year was a horrible year, but it wasn't a horrible year.

"There were a few games that left us out of the playoffs. We just have to learn from it. We have some young guys, and we just have to keep growing up with all those guys. I like where we're at, and we just have to keep on going."

Harbaugh Wants To Be More Aggressive On Defense

With a brand new offense being implemented, expect a lot of stories and headlines surrounding the shiny new offensive schemes and how they will make the unit stronger.

But The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec points out that the team has spent a significant amount of time addressing defensive woes too. He interviewed Head Coach John Harbaugh last month (for an article he will publish this week), and Harbs felt the defense gave up too many big plays and wasn't aggressive enough.

"We need to become more of a pressure defense and you do that by having guys who can get to the quarterback and by being able to cover," he said. "There are some things in our scheme that we have to get better at, that are more nuanced that you really can't explain.

"We always chase this, but we need to find ways that we can dictate totally where people can't get us out of what we want to do. We can run the defense we want to run when we want to run it, and people can't take us out of it with a personnel group or a formation. We are hard at work at that."

Quick Hits

  • Ravens players are keeping Ray Lewis' Oregon Ridge run tradition alive. "During Ray Lewis' time with the Ravens, one of the staples of the legendary middle linebacker's rigorous training regimen was running the steep hill at Oregon Ridge Park," Wilson wrote. "For years, Lewis would attack the incline early in the morning, sprinting up the old ski run in Hunt Valley while carrying logs or heavy weights. Lewis has been retired for more than a year, but the Ravens are keeping the tradition of running the hill at Oregon Ridge." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • How many Pro Bowl players will the Ravens have in 2014? []
  • Training camp allows the Ravens to move forward. [ESPN]
  • @RussellStReport: Our heartfelt condolences go out to #Ravens AGM Eric DeCosta who lost his beloved Mom Donna. May her words, love and memories ease your pain [Twitter]
  • @tjernigan8: The boi... [Instagram]
  • @jtuck9: 9, 31, 12.. Formal night photo from the Ravens Fan Cruise#bawsses #prom [Instagram]
  • @l_webb21: Thanks to Ed Reed for coming out to my camp at Towson University. My biggest camp so far! #BmoreLove [Instagram]
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