Baltimore Ravens: It has never been harder to make the 53 man roster
The Baltimore Ravens have done a lot of work this offseason. They drafted 12 players, brought in undrafted free agents and they were active in free agency. Making the roster is a lot tougher than it was last year for bubble players:
Last offseason the Baltimore Ravens saw Jaylen Hill and Tim White be the toast of the preseason. Hill had a couple of interceptions as an undrafted free agent in the preseason and he stole the show. At the start of the preseason, Hill was a mostly unheard of player. He made the team. While he didn’t do much in his rookie season and he tore his ACL in week 16, his sticking around was a big deal. An undrafted free agent from Jacksonville State made it through the exhibition games and into the show.
The Ravens have had an undrafted free agent make the team for a lot of years in a row, but that streak could easily end in 2018. It will be harder for stories like Hill’s to happen. The Ravens loaded more work into this offseason then they did last year; while the Ravens ignored the offense in 2017, they made a lot of moves. The Ravens tied their largest draft class this year and they signed a handful of free agents.
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Lots of position battles:
Where the competition is going into training camp, you will see good players not making the cut. Look at the cornerback situation. The Ravens have Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Tavon Young, Maurice Cannady and Anthony Averett. If the Ravens don’t want to keep more than six cornerbacks, talented players are getting cut. Assuming these are the six, that would mean players like Hill and Stanley Jean-Baptiste are out of here.
The safety position is also a lot tighter with the additions of Chuck Clark (last year) and Deshon Elliott this year. The Ravens have Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson and Anthony Levine as the main three guys. Clark is good on special teams and Elliott is projected to be a future starter. The question becomes: How many defensive backs can fit on the roster.
When you look at the offensive line, depth is there as well. The Ravens have a lot of options at guard. Orlando Brown Jr. is one of three legitimate options at right tackle. The Ravens have Matt Skura and Bradley Bozemen competing for the starting center position. Typically, the offensive line is eight to nine players. It’s going to make for some interesting roster math.
The Ravens redid their wide receiving group. They brought in three free agent wide receivers. Chris Moore isn’t going anywhere because of his special teams value. That makes the battle for the fifth and six spots brutally tough. Tim White had a thumb injury and was stashed away for the 2018 season. Now the Ravens could realistically not have room for him. The Ravens went to having nothing at wide receiver to having four shoe ins for the 53 man roster. Making the team as a wide receiver is now incredibly difficult for players on the bubble.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens have to make some tough decisions. It’s a good problem to have but it’s a problem. The Ravens have more talented players then they have roster spots. After a long stretch of injury plagued seasons though, that kind of depth is refreshing.
Next: 3 Ravens rookies who could miss the 53 man roster
Keep tuned to Ebony Bird for all your offseason Ravens coverage. We’ll get you through the dog days of the offseason.