The Breakdown: Eisenberg Predicts Ravens' Final 53-Man Roster


Instead of offering thoughts on the Ravens' 30-20 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium, I'm going to predict what Baltimore's 53-man roster will look like after cuts are made by Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco, Robert Griffin III, Lamar Jackson

Skinny: I think the decision to keep three quarterbacks is pretty easy, actually. Jackson is coming on strong, which bodes well for the future. But playing well against backups in the preseason doesn't compare with having to try to win regular-season games on an emergency basis as a rookie. Griffin, the veteran, is the better bet right now if Flacco is injured and that situation arises. He has played well, done everything you'd want. And here's the clincher: If the Ravens do indeed use Jackson in some "secret weapon" capacity, as expected, he becomes vulnerable to injury, too. If Griffin is cut or traded and Jackson gets hurt, the front office has to go back into the market and find a No. 2. Why go through that when an ideal one is already here?

Running back: Alex Collins, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Patrick Ricard (fullback)

Skinny: The only question was the No. 3 job, which briefly seemed up for grabs when Dixon missed some of the preseason with an injury, raising concerns about his dependability since he's also coming back from a suspension. But when on the field, Dixon has always performed well. Since returning, he has made it clear he deserves a job.

Check out the best shots from Thursday night's preseason finale at M&T Bank Stadium.

Wide receiver: Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead IV, Chris Moore, Jordan Lasley

Skinny: The first four are locks, and Lasley makes it ahead of Breshad Perriman on his potential. Beyond that, I'm taking my biggest gamble by projecting that neither Janarion Grant nor Tim White makes it as the return specialist. Neither wowed during the preseason, and a No. 6 receiver isn't going to play much, if at all, on offense. Grant and/or White could land on the developmental squad. Plan B for the return job could be Moore handling kickoffs and Snead handling punts.

Tight end: Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, Mark Andrews

Skinny: Early on, it appeared the Ravens might have a tough call deciding whether to keep three or four players here. But Hurst's injury, expected to sideline him for the first weeks of the regular season, made the decision easy. As fond as they are of double tight end sets, the coaches will need at least three to get through the first few games, until Hurst returns.

Offensive line: Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley, Matt Skura, James Hurst, Alex Lewis, Orlando Brown Jr., Bradley Bozeman, Jermaine Eluemunor

Skinny: The top six are locks and the Ravens certainly hope they take up most of the O-line snaps because the depth is inexperienced. Bozeman, Eluemunor and Nico Siragusa have battled for two spots. Bozeman pushed ahead recently, and with Siragusa set back by a major knee injury a year ago, Eluemunor makes it. But my guess is the Ravens will scour the waiver (and/or trade) wire for a more experienced backup.

Defensive line: Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Brent Urban, Willie Henry, Chris Wormley, Zach Sieler, Carl Davis

Skinny: A year ago, when it appeared the Ravens had too many players here, I projected they'd cut one. (It was Willie Henry, oops.) I'm not going to make the same mistake again. This is a position where your depth gets tested during a long season. Sieler is too promising to risk losing, and Davis is a versatile veteran. I say both make it, but not Bronson Kaufusi.

Inside linebacker: C.J. Mosley, Patrick Onwuasor, Kenny Young, Chris Board

Skinny: This is the Ravens toughest call: What to do about Albert McClellan, a popular veteran who has long excelled on special teams. They'd love to keep him, but he's 32 and coming off a major knee injury. Board can't match his experience or leadership, but he's younger, cheaper, faster and reached double-digits in tackles Thursday night. That's the standard recipe for change.

Outside linebacker: Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon, Tyus Bowser, Za'Darius Smith, Tim Williams

Skinny: These five were locks. The trade of Kamalei Correa not only ended any guesswork but also made the decision-making easier at several other positions deep in talent.

Cornerback: Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young, Maurice Canady, Anthony Averett, (Suspended: Jimmy Smith)

Skinny: After a strong preseason performance, Stanley Jean-Baptiste had the team made as Smith's roster-spot replacement until he suffered a serious arm injury Thursday night, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh. With Jean-Baptiste out, I think the Ravens will go with five cornerbacks for a month, knowing Smith will return. His roster spot goes to another defensive back, Kai Nacua, who primarily plays safety and helps on special teams.

Safety: Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Chuck Clark, Anthony Levine Sr., Kai Nacua

Skinny: This is another position where a recent subtraction (rookie DeShon Elliott's fractured forearm) eliminated what could have been a tough decision. Levine provides experienced depth and strong special teams play, but he could have been vulnerable in a year when so many tough roster calls loomed. No longer. Nacua also makes it after Jean-Baptiste's injury.

Specialists: Justin Tucker, Sam Koch, Morgan Cox

Skinny: No drama here. All three are among the best in the league at their specialty. I'm guessing rookie Kaare Vedvik gets an opportunity elsewhere.

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