Reaction To Ravens' First Official Depth Chart
With the Ravens' preseason opener set for Thursday, the team released its first official depth chart.
This will certainly change before the regular-season opener, especially when players come off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. For example, neither Steve Smith Sr. nor Terrell Suggs will be at the bottom of the depth chart at their positions.
But there are other insights that can be gleaned:
Wide Receiver: Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, Chuck Jacobs, Keenan Reynolds, Steve Smith Sr.
Wide Receiver: Mike Wallace, Chris Matthews, Chris Moore, Kaelin Clay, Dobson Collins, Breshad Perriman
Left Tackle: Ronnie Stanley, James Hurst, Blaine Clausell
Left Guard: John Urschel, Alex Lewis
Center: Jeremy Zuttah, Ryan Jensen, Matt Skura, Anthony Fabiano
Right Guard: Marshal Yanda, Vladimir Ducasse, Jarell Broxton
Right Tackle: Rick Wagner, De'Ondre Wesley, Stephane Nembot
Tight End: Benjamin Watson, Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Daniel Brown, Nick Boyle, Darren Waller
Quarterback: Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett, Josh Johnson, Jerrod Johnson
Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk*Running Back: Justin Forsett, Javorius Allen, Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon, Stephen Houston, Lorenzo Taliaferro * *Notes …*
- Based on what we've seen in camp so far, Aiken and Wallace would be a solid starting duo. If Smith, Perriman and Moore all return, this is a deep and dangerous group.
- "It is a bit of a surprise to see Ben Watson ahead of Maxx Williams at tight end. Maxx Williams was hoped to undergo a breakout second season like fellow tight end Crockett Gillmore did in 2015 but it is still early," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Kyle P. Barber. I'm actually not surprised based on Watson having the larger contract and lead role at practice. Pitta has gone from an uncertain playing career to the No. 2 option.
- West is ahead of Dixon at this point, but that may be because Dixon has been injured. Rookies are also typically listed behind veterans. It also could be because West has been a beast, so don't be surprised if his ascension continues. "As it stands, West is the biggest threat to overtake Forsett," wrote Barber. Dixon returned from injury, and both he and West balled out Saturday night at the stadium practice.
- Urschel is leading the way at the left guard job created by the departure of Kelechi Osemele. Everything else? "The offensive line seems set for the most part," wrote Barber.
Defensive Tackle: Timmy Jernigan, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Willie Henry, Trevon Coley
Nose Tackle: Brandon Williams, Carl Davis, Michael Pierce
Defensive End: Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, Bronson Kaufusi
Rush Outside Linebacker: Za'Darius Smith, Matthew Judon , Victor Ochi, Terrell Suggs
Inside Linebacker: C.J. Mosley, Arthur Brown, Kavell Conner
Inside Linebacker: Zachary Orr, Kamalei Correa, Patrick Onwuasor
Sam Outside Linebacker: Albert McClellan, Chris Carter, Brennen Beyer, Mario Ojemudia, Elvis Dumervil
Left Cornerback: Shareece Wright, Jerraud Powers, Will Davis, Maurice Canady, Sam Brown
Strong Safety: Eric Weddle, Matt Elam, Terrence Brooks, Julian Wilson
Free Safety: Lardarius Webb, Kendrick Lewis, Anthony Levine Sr.
Right Cornerback: Jimmy Smith, Kyle Arrington, Tavon Young, Sheldon Price
- McClellan might be the biggest surprise starter of training camp, winning the job so far. Dumervil should top the list when he returns from the PUP, but he and McClellan will spit duties.
- "Kamalei Correa was listed as the backup to Zachary Orr at weak-side linebacker on the Ravens' first depth chart released Friday, but that doesn't necessarily mean the team has abandoned plans to use him as an edge rusher," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said Friday that he's still experimenting and hasn't settled on the final linebacker roles.
- No big surprises among the defensive backs. "The secondary is finally steady. It is now only up to the starters to perform," wrote Barber.
Terrell Suggs And Elvis Dumervil Returning 'Very Soon'?
As I mentioned, this depth chart will change once the five players on PUP return. And it may not be that long for some of them.
A fan asked Zrebiec on Twitter if Suggs, Dumervil, Smith or Perriman will miss any regular-season games.
Ronnie Stanley Expected To Play Thursday Night
Ravens fans got quite the scare Saturday night when they saw Stanley, the team's first-round pick, leave the field and head for the locker room.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said it was a soft-tissue injury, but added that things didn't seem too serious.
"Both Harbaugh and Stanley declined to disclose the injury, but both seemed confident the sixth-overall pick won't miss a significant amount of time," wrote Zrebiec. "Stanley said he's optimistic he'll play in the preseason opener Thursday against the Carolina Panthers.
"Stanley was replaced at left tackle by fellow rookie Alex Lewis, a fourth-round pick. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Lewis has been splitting time between guard and tackle, as he did in college with Nebraska."
Josh Johnson Playing Better Than Ryan Mallett?
Mallett is expected to be the primary backup to Flacco this season, but if you ask CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown, another backup has outshined Mallett so far in training camp.
"Backup quarterback Josh Johnson has thrown the ball better in camp than Ryan Mallett," Brown wrote. "Throughout camp, Johnson has been more accurate than Ryan Mallett, the Ravens' No. 2 quarterback. It's very unlikely the Ravens will keep three quarterbacks, and it's also unlikely the Ravens will part with Mallett.
"However, if Mallett wants to eliminate any suspense about his backup role, he needs to perform more consistently."
Running Back Competition Heating Up With Dixon Standing Out
Ravens coaches have a very good problem on their hands … they have four running backs that are all playing very, very well. Harbaugh will either have to cut one back, or leave another position a little thin.
With fourth-round rookie Dixon shining upon his return from injury, things are only getting more interesting.
"[T]he Ravens' competition at running back is heating up," wrote Brown. "Dixon made sharp cuts, showed excellent acceleration, and looked fully recovered from his knee injury suffered early in camp.
"Even if Forsett keeps the starting job, there is no reason to overwork him if the younger backs show they are ready to contribute consistently. Forsett, Allen, and Dixon are probably locks to make the 53-man roster. West's impressive camp could force the Ravens to keep all four backs."
Another Rookie, Tavon Young, Turning Heads"There is one player every summer that comes out of nowhere, turns heads, and instantly becomes the guy all in attendance search out," wrote Russell Street Report's Brian Bower. "They're [not] just noticeable; they stand out."
Who is Bower referring to?
Just another fourth-round rookie: Young.
Bower goes on to talk about how Young has been stacking days, and despite his smaller 5-foot-9, has kept the bigger Ravens wide receivers at bay. He always seems to be around the ball, notching an interception or a near-interception on an almost daily basis.
Young was asked how many picks he can get this season, and he responded with a big smile: "As many as I can get. Put me down for 100."