The Baltimore Ravens are set to play their second preseason game of the summer this Sunday when they take on the Arizona Cardinals. And for a number of players on the roster, this is yet another opportunity to make their case.
Some are making the case for larger roles with the team while others are just looking to survive another round of roster cuts. Whatever the case, there’s plenty at stake this weekend.
Last week we saw the likes of Shemar Bridges, Isaiah Likely, Geno Stone, and others improve their stock. Who might we see step up this week?
Let’s take a look at five Ravens players who are in need of a standout performance this Sunday.
5. Steven Means, OLB, Ravens
The Ravens are still looking for depth at outside linebacker and veteran Steven Means did everything he could to improve his stock in the team’s first preseason game.
Means finished with a sack and three tackles and nearly recorded a second sack later in the game. He was the team’s most effective pass rusher, and that bodes well for his roster chances, especially if he carries that over into this week’s matchup.
With Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo likely to start the year on the PUP list, Means has a golden opportunity to not only secure a roster spot but earn a rotational role on defense.
Sunday’s game is another big opportunity for the nine-year NFL veteran.
4. Ar’Darius Washington, S, Ravens
Ar’Darius Washington was unable to participate in the Ravens’ first preseason game as he was still on the PUP list. Now activated, Washington is in line to play this Sunday.
The former undrafted free agent appeared in three games last year before suffering a season-ending foot injury that kept him sidelined until last week. Unfortunately, his path to a roster spot is a bit clouded at the moment.
The Ravens have excellent depth at the safety position and a number of players who can fill that slot role. Right now, Washington is probably on the outside looking in.
Washington will be looking to make up for lost time this Sunday. If he can’t then it’s hard to see him making the 53-man roster.
3. Geno Stone, S, Ravens
Perhaps Washington’s strongest competition is former seventh-round pick Geno Stone. Stone impressed in limited opportunities last season and has been one of the stars of the summer.
The 23-year-old recorded an interception in last week’s preseason opener and genuinely looked like one of the best players on the field. He entered the summer buried on the depth chart, but at this stage, it might be hard to keep him off the roster.
Stone will look to take full advantage of another opportunity this weekend, and if all goes according to plan, he may just be able to solidify his place on the team before the final week.
2. Ben Cleveland, OG, Ravens
The Ravens have wanted to see Ben Cleveland step up and claim that starting left guard job in each of the last two seasons. However, he hasn’t been able to do so to this point.
Many believed the 2021 third-round pick could be a favorite for the job this summer, but that was until he missed the first four practices after failing his conditioning test.
Cleveland now finds himself fighting an uphill battle against the likes of Tyre Phillips and Ben Powers. He’s in need of a standout performance to remind the Ravens’ coaching staff that he too deserves consideration.
Few players have more to gain on Sunday than Ben Cleveland.
1. Every UDFA WR on the Ravens roster
There is no single wide receiver on the Ravens roster that needs to step up this weekend. In reality, every undrafted wideout on the roster is trying to do the same thing.
The signing of Demarcus Robinson clouds the picture a little, but injuries to the likes of James Proche and Tylan Wallace should open the door for any of the young wide receivers on the Ravens’ roster to step up.
Last week, the likes of Shemar Bridges and Makai Polk had their moments. Others like Slade Bolden and Bailey Gaither didn’t even get the chance to play as they were sidelined with minor injuries.
The battle for that final wide receiver spot on the active roster is fierce. Keep an eye on that position this coming Sunday.