By Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens, along with the rest of the league must get down to the regular season maximum of 53 men on the roster. This means up to 22 guys who have worked their butts off through the summer heat will be looking for jobs. Some will get picked up by other teams but most will go home and try to find a job paying a lot less than what they expected to earn as NFL players.
So who makes the Ravens 53 man roster? Understand that with the other teams releasing players, this may not end up being the same 53 guys who start the season for the Ravens. In addition what players will be re-signed onto the team's Practice Squad, which still exposes them to being grabbed by other teams at any point. There also is the possibility that a few players are put in the Injured Reserve (IR) List, which ends their 2010 season but keeps them Ravens for at least the next year. They get their full 2010 salary but cannot play at any point this season. Finally there are the guys on the PUP List, who are not counted in the 53 man roster and do not have to be decided upon until after the sixth regular season game.
Let's take a look by position at the guys who are definitely in and those on the proverbial bubble:
QB: Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger - Bubble: Troy Smith
RB: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, LeRon McClain - Bubble: Jalen Parmele
WR: Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams - Bubble: David Reed, Marcus Smith
TE: Todd Heap, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta - Bubble: Davon Drew
OL: Michael Oher, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda, Jared Gaither, Chris Chester, Oniel Cousins - Bubble: Joe Reitz, Tony Moll, David Hale, Ramon Harewood
DL: Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, Terrence Cody, Trevor Pryce, Cory Redding, Paul Kruger - Bubble: Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones, Lamar Divens
LB: Ray Lewis, Jarret Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Dannell Ellerbe, Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes - Bubble: Jason Phillips, Prescott Burgess
CB: Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Josh Wilson, Lardarius Webb - Bubble: Travis Fisher, Prince Miller, Cary Williams, K.J. Gerard
S: Dawan Landry, Tom Zbikowski, Haruki Nakamura, Ken Hamlin
ST: Morgan Cox, Sam Koch, Shayne Graham/Billy Cundiff
That's 43 players definitely on the roster and ten spots remaining. For those ten spots, I have a total of 19 guys on the bubble. Troy Smith makes it, in my opinion, as the team needs three QB's on the roster. So does RB Jalen Parmele, as he is a solid kickoff returner and four RB's on the roster is no big deal. Marcus Smith makes it not as much as a wide receiver, but as a Special Teams player. David Reed might make the squad as well, but would be hard to hide from other teams on the Practice Squad. On the offensive line, I believe the team will IR Ramon Harewood and I see Tony Moll and David Hale making the roster.
On the defensive side of the ball, I believe that Kelly Talavou and Brandon McKinney make the roster, with Lamar Divens and Arthur Jones attempted to be hidden on the Practice Squad. Linebackers have always been a deep unit for the team and there is no way to keep everyone, so Jason Phillips earns a spot while Prescott Burgess is unfortunately released. That leaves two positions for defensive backs and my opinion is that Cary Williams and Travis Fisher get the nod, which means that Prince Miller and K.J. Gerard are stashed on the Practice Squad or released.
That all adds up to 53 total players, not including anyone that is placed on the PUP List. I believe that Ed Reed will be on that list and when he is ready to return, as will be Donte Stallworth at some point, additional moves will have to be made. I could also see the Ravens keeping David Reed and not Travis Fisher.
What's your thoughts and comments?