Late For Work 7/27: Projecting Ravens 53-Man Roster, Starting Lineup

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Projecting Ravens 53-Man Roster, Starters

Position battle winners and roster bubble spots will be decided over the next five weeks as training camp officially opens with its first practice Thursday.

But why not take a crack at deciding the final 53-man roster and starting roles now?

That's what ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley did over the weekend, and when the final cutdown is announced Sept. 5, we can look back to see how close he got. Below are Hensley's projections, along with predicted starters highlighted with an asterisk.

Quarterbacks (2)
Make it: Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub 
*Release:
 Bryn Renner, Jerry Lovelocke
Hensley: "At this point, the Ravens are pretty set with their roster heading into training camp. The one area that Baltimore would like to upgrade is at the No. 3 quarterback spot."

Running backs (3)
Make it: Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Buck Allen
*Release
: Fitzgerald Toussaint, Terrence Magee

Fullbacks (1)
Make it: Kyle Juszczyk* 
Release: Kiero Small

Wide receivers (6)
Make it: Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler 
Release: Darren Waller, DeAndre Carter, Aldrick Robinson, Cam Worthy, Daniel Brown
Hensley: "This is the biggest position battle in camp. It's going to come down to Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown. I still believe Perriman has the edge because he is the only receiver on the team who has the skill set to replace Torrey Smith as the team's deep threat.  … [I[t wouldn't surprise me if [Aiken] is the starter early in the season. But Perriman is an intriguing playmaker and he should be the starter by the end of the season."

Tight ends (3)
Make it: Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams,  Nick Boyle
*Release:
 Konrad Reuland, Allen Reisner
PUP: Dennis Pitta
Hensley: "[Gillmore] is competing against Williams for the starting job, but Pitta would surpass both of them if he plays this season."

Offensive tackles (3)
Make it: Eugene Monroe, Rick Wagner, James Hurst 
Release: Jah Reid, Marcel Jones, Darryl Baldwin, Blaine Clausell, De'Ondre Wesley

Guards (4)
Make it: Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, John Urschel, Robert Myers
Release: Leon Brown, Kaleb Johnson

Centers (2)
Make it: Jeremy Zuttah, Ryan Jensen 
*Release:
 Nick Easton

Defensive tackles (4)
Make it: Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Carl Davis, Lawrence Guy 
Release: Casey Walker
Hensley: "[Jernigan] replaces Haloti Ngata after recording four sacks in 12 games."

Defensive ends (2)
Make it: Chris Canty, Brent Urban 
*Release:
 DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Christo Bilukidi

Outside linebackers (4)
Make it: Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Za'Darius Smith 
Release: Steven Means, Zach Thompson, Brennen Beyer
Hensley: "[Upshaw] splits the starting role with Elvis Dumervil, but Upshaw is the stronger run-stopper."

Inside linebackers (5)
Make it: C.J. Mosley, Daryl Smith, Albert McClellan, Zach Orr, Arthur Brown 
Release: Andrew Bose

Cornerbacks (6)
Make it: Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Kyle Arrington, Tray Walker, Asa Jackson, Rashaan Melvin 
Release: Chris Greenwood, Tramain Jacobs, Cassius Vaughn, Quinton Pointer

Safeties (5)
Make it: Kendrick Lewis, Will Hill, Matt Elam, Anthony Levine, Terrence Brooks 
Release: Brynden Trawick, Nick Perry
Specialists (3)
Make it: Justin Tucker* (K), Sam Koch (P), Morgan Cox (LS)
Release: Justin Manton, Patrick Scales

Fans can take their own stab at picking the team when our annual You Pick the Team Contest launches this Thursday.

Monroe Injuries Shouldn't Be A Problem

Last year didn't go the way starting left tackle Eugene Monroe envisioned when he signed a long-term contract extension before the season. The offensive lineman missed six games througout the regular season with a knee problem and then both playoff contests because of an ankle injury.

The injuries took a toll on Monroe, but don't expext that trend to continue.

"If we compare 2014 to the other five seasons of Monroe's career, it looks like an anomaly," wrote Chuck Mills of Baltimore Beatdown.

Hensley noted that Monroe played 4,638 snaps over his first five seasoons, eighth most of any left tackle in the NFL.

Monroe told reporters at minicamp in June he was healthy again after having time to recover. He will be back in the starting lineup when training camp begins, and the Ravens will return all five of their starters from last year's offensive front.

The offensive line is expected to be a strength of the team this year, and Monroe has lofty expectations for what the team can accomplish this year. 

"We talk about being a dominant team and winning games," Monroe said on Glenn Clark Radio. "That's our ultimate goal, and everything we do is to achieve that goal. It's every team's goal, and you can't be afraid to inspire to it."

Ray Rice Ramping Up Efforts To Return

Former Ravens running back Ray Rice hasn't caught on with another team since the Ravens cut him last September, but ESPN reported that Rice is ramping up his efforts to get a tryout with an NFL team.

"It's been quiet, and that's why he is working so hard to strum up some kind of interest because he knows his best shot, it has to be some time in training camp because he has been out of football for so long," Hensley said.

Rice hasn't been linked to any teams, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that "teams privately have discussed the idea of bringing in Rice."

Schefter also reported that the national organization "A CALL TO MEN," which encourages men to end violence against women, is advocating for Rice to get another chance in the NFL.

"We have been around a lot of abusive men, but our experience with Ray has been tremendously positive," organization co-founder Tony Porter said. "We feel strongly about him having the opportunity of having a second chance. He's deserving of it."* *

Rookies Passing Physicals

Rookies reported to training camp last week, and The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson has kept a line on who has passed their physicals ahead of Thursday's first practice.

Wilson reported that running back Buck Allen, cornerback Tray Walker and offensive lineman Leon Brown were all initially placed on the non-football injury list. But they have since passed the team conditioning test and physical, and are now cleared to practice.

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