Baltimore Ravens: 3 thoughts on 2020 roster cutdowns
By Jake Lippman
With the Baltimore Ravens roster getting trimmed down to 53 men today, the team can now focus on week one. Here are three thoughts on the impact of moves.
Heading into the 2020 season, the Baltimore Ravens needed to cut 23 players today to get the roster down to 53. Over the next few days, the team will sign up to 16 players to their practice squad and may make additional roster moves.
1. This isn’t an ordinary offseason roster cut-down
Although I have written in the past that Patrick Ricard can handle double duty and be something of the team’s TE3, it is still shocking that the team is only holding two Tight Ends. The team also currently has seven defensive linemen after only entering last season with four. Also making the roster were former undrafted rookies Otaro Alaka and Chris Board to make the inside linebacker total five. With four safeties and five cornerbacks the team also has fewer members of the secondary then usual. They also currently are keeping three quarterbacks for a third consecutive season.
With that being said, I believe the Ravens really like their current roster, despite it being a little different. The moves they make show that they have confidence in Jihad Ward being able to cover at outside linebacker if needed. They believe that Jimmy Smith and DeShon Elliott can fill the void that Earl Thomas leaves behind. It also shows they have confidence that D.J. Fluker and Tyre Phillips, both former tackles converting to right guard, are capable of covering if an issue occurs at Tackle.
The other big news of this year’s cut-down was the end of the 16-year undrafted rookie streak. With a strong crop of undrafted rookies, many, including myself thought that some rookies could have made it onto the roster, but that did not occur this year. This shows the impact of COVID-19 on the undrafted rookies and other back end roster pieces. With a practice squad of 16, look for a lot of the team’s roster cuts to return to the roster.
With the practice squad signing window opening very shortly, I would imagine the Ravens will bring back multiple players for the secondary, possibly two tight ends, and a handful of high profile undrafted rookies like Kristian Welch and Chauncey Rivers. Although the Ravens philosophy may be changing the team is built strong, with notable depth on the practice squad to cover for the positions that may not be as deep on the 53 man roster.
The impact of COVID-19 is clear, but the Ravens are lucky to have many players returning from last season, and scouts that consistently identify talent. They believe that they are matching the personnel and scheme seamlessly and I am excited to see what the team has on the field week one.