5 Ravens players who are in danger of being cut soon

Ravens, Mike Davis
Ravens, Mike Davis /

In what has been a rocky start, the Baltimore Ravens have experienced ups and downs to begin this season. Anticipated struggles could have been expected with many previous injuries lingering into this season, but the hope was that the team would win and get stronger with said players returning.

Outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo along with running back Gus Edwards returned to practice this past week.

With this, the Ravens will get three contributors at positions of need back soon. At edge rusher, Bowser and Ojabo are both returning from Achilles injuries and would provide valuable depth to a position that has been playing undermanned for the entire season.

Edwards, returning from an ACL injury last season, brings power and balance to a running back room that could use his style. He helps elevate the play of all included in the offense and the team has been needing him to help grind teams down and gain first downs.

With that said, the Ravens have several moves that will need to occur before activating these players. They have another two weeks before decisions are required, but a return of these players may be needed in Week 7.

To add these players, some may have to go. The practice squad can play a role in decision-making, but there are a few players who have let the team down.

Del’Shawn Phillips/Kristian Welch/A.J Klein, LB, Ravens

This trio makes up the depth at inside linebacker. With a total of six players on the 53-man roster, inside linebackers make up over 11 percent of the roster.

Where this makes no sense is the fact that only two play at a time. A lot of the time in the modern NFL, extra defensive backs are utilized and the inside linebacker position may only require one man on the field.

Here is where the numbers do not add up. Malik Harrison, an inside linebacker by trade, has been spending time as an edge rusher to fill the void there. With the return of Bowser and Ojabo, Harrison will be needed much less on the edge and will return to the inside more.

Del’Shawn Phillips was a waiver pickup from the New York Jets shortly after Week 1. He did not play in that game and has seen time exclusively on special teams with the Ravens, excluding one defensive snap in Week 4 against Buffalo.

As a player with little in-game experience as a linebacker, it is highly unexpected that Phillips will add to the defense this season. The Ravens have a solid special teams corps that can thrive even without him.

Kristian Welch is a former undrafted free agent who has predominately been a special teams player during his time on the active roster. Working his way from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, Welch is a favorite of the coaching staff.

Despite that, he could be at risk. With the roster math, Welch could get cut with the hope of bringing him back to the practice squad. His lack of defensive snaps would be a logical reason.

Still, Welch impressed during the summer and in the preseason and is probably the safest of the trio. He has played within the Ravens’ defense and appeared in 32 NFL games with the team. He may see time on defense if the Ravens do decide to mix things up.

A.J. Klein, a recent veteran pickup, played sparingly and only on special teams in Week 6. Head coach John Harbaugh’s specialty is special teams and Klein’s experience there and as a starter on defense made him an intriguing pickup.

That said, Klein did something in that game that might land him in Harbaugh’s dog house — he was penalized for a late hit. It was a completely unnecessary play — one that changed field position and completely rerouted the game.

For Klein, he may be given the benefit of the doubt. He is a veteran, and his experience as an off-ball linebacker is valuable and proven. Klein could be given another chance and a shot at a role once he learns the playbook. Still, Klein has had a rough start to his tenure with the Ravens.

Mike Davis, RB, Ravens

The Ravens’ offense is centered around the run. Quarterback Lamar Jackson and his running backs have often been focal points and key parts in victory.

Mike Davis was added this offseason in hopes of being a power back for this team while Gus Edwards recovered. After a few seasons of trying to become a starting running back, the Ravens seemed like a great destination for Davis.

Davis, a veteran of eight NFL seasons and now six teams, was a hopeful addition to the roster. Unfortunately, with a 2.3-yard-per-carry rate, Davis has not impressed.

With Kenyan Drake being brought in after a dismal Week 1, Davis quickly took a backseat. Drake, on the other hand, had a breakout performance in Week 6. With 10 carries for 119 rushing yards and a touchdown, Drake has secured his roster spot.

With a fumble on the stat sheet and no touchdowns, it’s hard to make a case for Davis to stay on the roster. With both Justice Hill and Edwards set to return shortly, there is simply no space for Davis on the 53-man roster, even after J.K. Dobbins’ injury.

Nick Boyle, TE, Ravens

Nick Boyle was a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of the University of Delaware. Quickly establishing himself as a premier blocker, Boyle became a staple of the Ravens’ offense. Entering his eighth NFL season, the Ravens were excited to have Boyle back from a knee injury.

While Boyle isn’t the most accomplished pass-catcher, he’s arguably the league’s best blocking tight end and can line up all over the field for the Ravens as a valuable chess piece.

This season, though, Boyle has been a letdown. He’s only played a total of nine offensive snaps to go along with some special team contributions.

The consistent time on the field is a good sign and his limited play might just be the Ravens being careful and letting youngsters like Josh Oliver and Isaiah Likely have a shot. But Boyle must be playing more.

He is an experienced NFL player, one who fills a clear role. The Ravens need help clearing paths in the run game and Boyle can do just that. The lack of playing time is concerning, though. Is he not back from injury fully?

The Ravens and their medical staff are the only people who can truly judge this, but it does lead to speculation. Has Nick Boyle lost a step? His contract does require production.

Although production for Boyle is weighed differently than other tight ends due to his strength as a blocker, his lack of blocking is concerning. The hope is to see the old Nick Boyle back, but the NFL is a harsh business.

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While his contract makes it impossible to outright release him right now, he is a candidate for an injured reserve stash to save a roster spot.