The Baltimore Ravens cut their roster down to the required 53 players. What did they get right, what did they get wrong?
The first thing the Baltimore Ravens got right with the 53 man roster is that they didn’t force anything. They kept nine offensive linemen but didn’t keep bad offensive tackles just for artificial depth. Training camp has spoken and the guards have it, that’s not a bad thing. Tyre Phillips and D.J. Fluker‘s versatility allows the Ravens to have better backup plans at tackle than if they kept a player like Will Holden.
The Ravens didn’t keep any dead weight on this roster. They only have two tight ends because their tight ends behind Nick Boyle and Mark Andrews weren’t cutting it. The Ravens didn’t keep more than five cornerbacks because after that the value dropped off.
For the first time since 2003, the Ravens don’t have an undrafted free agent on the season opening roster. That’s not a bad thing. In Baltimore it’s almost assumed that an undrafted free agent will make the team. All offseason I was asked about which undrafted free agents would keep the streak alive. I had Chauncey Rivers being the only one there. It’s not actually that shocking, even if it is a note worthy headline. The moral of the story is that this is a loaded roster.
Another thing to really like about the 53 man roster is how Baltimore loaded up on certain positions. They have five inside linebackers. They easily could have decided to just keep Patrick Queen, L.J. Fort and Malik Harrison. The fact that both Chris Board and Otaro Alaka made the team is a big deal. This will help out on special teams and provides great depth for the middle of the defense.
Going back to the offensive line, the Ravens kept nine players there. Nine is a lot, especially when over half of them are guards or centers that can play guard. This is an area the Ravens didn’t want to skimp on and that is commendable team building.
What the Ravens got wrong:
The Ravens keeping Trace McSorley is a little confusing. Everything you heard all training camp long is that Tyler Huntley looked good and McSorley didn’t have the smoothest camp. If the Ravens were going to keep three quarterbacks (something you don’t have to do now because of the practice squad designated call ups) it should have been Huntley. Huntley being on the active roster would have gotten him a different type of development track than just being on the practice squad. John Harbaugh seems to have a fascination with McSorley that doesn’t make a ton of sense.
The Ravens cut Jordan Richards because he doesn’t add much value on defense. They kept Chris Moore who does nothing on offense. Moore is a non-factor at wide receiver. Yes, players have to play special teams, but it seems like a wasted roster spot. Is there a special teams player shortage in this organization?
The Ravens kept five inside linebackers and have four running backs. Anthony Levine will help out on special teams and presumably Geno Stone will as well. James Proche can probably become a special teams ace. There are players who can chip in on special teams. Jaleel Scott, who is a big bodied target who really hasn’t gotten a shot would probably help the offense more than Moore if called upon.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens have a strong looking roster and they mostly made the right calls coming out of training camp. There is no horrible misfire here and it’s important to remember that the roster is a living document. There will be some transactions to keep an eye on throughout the season.
The main takeaway is that the Ravens didn’t force the issue with their cut day choices. They leaned towards value and didn’t worry about the predictable amounts of players for each position. They did it their way. There are some minor qualms to have, but the franchise is thinking on the right track.