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Predicting The Ravens 53-Man Roster: Week 4

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As the roster begins to shake out, the receiving group has somehow become more murkier than it was to begin the preseason.

Marc Anthony could be competing with Moe Lee for the final cornerback spot to open the 2013 season.
Marc Anthony could be competing with Moe Lee for the final cornerback spot to open the 2013 season.
Patrick McDermott

Another week in and another week to try and decipher what's going on with the Ravens' roster.

Two additions were made to the roster, with receiver Brandon Stokley and tight end Dallas Clark joining the Ravens. At this time you'd think they were locks to make the roster, given the circumstances at both positions.

Stokley adds a needed veteran presence at receiver and Clark adds depth given that Dennis Pitta will likely be out for the year (though maybe not) and Ed Dickson is hampered with a hamstring injury.

The roster is beginning to shape out a little bit more with Thursday's game providing even further context.

Quarterback (2): Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor; Out: Caleb Hanie

Analysis: The only question now is whether the Ravens will actually install an option package for Taylor.

Running back (2): Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce; Bubble: Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey; Out: Damien Berry

Analysis: Allen has three games left to prove he's roster worthy. Position groups that could take a hit with Allen's addition would either be receiver, defensive line or outside linebacker. If the receiving group's inconsistencies continue, then maybe the Ravens go back to keeping just five after the preseason.

Fullback (2): Vonta Leach, Kyle Juszczyk

Analysis: These two are still locks for the roster and nothing will chance, barring something catastrophic during the remainder of the preseason.

Wide receiver (6): Torrey Smith, Brandon Stokley, Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams; Bubble: David Reed, Aaron Mellette, Marlon Brown; Out: Tommy Streeter, Gerrard Sheppard, Rashaad Carter

Analysis: Stokley's been impressive in his first two days of training camp, so if he can stay injury-free through the preseason, he's a lock for the roster. His addition, and the Ravens' subsequent issues at the position, leaves three Ravens back on the bubble. Reed signed a two-year, $2.5 million contract this offseason, so you'd think he's safe. Mellette has come on strong lately, though Williams has outperformed him in totality. Brown is now banged up, though the Ravens could wind up stashing him on IR if the injury continues to linger. Then there's always something surprising that could happen, such as Jones winding up released to save money since Thompson has experience in the return game. This position group has wound up the only one more murkier than it was when training camp began.

Tight end (3): Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark, Visanthe Shiancoe; Bubble: Billy Bajema, Matt Furstenburg; IR: Dennis Pitta; Out: Alex Silvestro

Analysis: Clark's addition casts some doubt into whether Bajema winds up on the 53-man roster. Dickson, Clark and Shiancoe can all block and receive. Bajema's a blocking tight end that doesn't have the same kind of skill set the other three possess. Bajema could wind up on the 53-man roster if Dickson is unable to start the season-opener. The Clark move might have been the nail in the coffin for Furstenburg. As for Pitta, he'll likely be put on IR-designated to return if there's any thought he could come back late in the year or for a playoff run.

Offensive line (9): Bryant McKinnie, Kelechi Osemele, Gino Gradkowski, Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, A.Q. Shipley, Ricky Wagner, Jah Reid, Ramon Harewood; IR Candidate: Ryan Jensen; Out: David Mims, Jordan Devey, Antoine McClain, Jack Cornell, J.J. 'Unga, Reggie Stephens, Rogers Gaines.

Analysis: No change from last week as the Ravens appear to have a solid group gaining chemistry and continuity throughout camp. The only question remaining is whether Gradkowski or Shipley starts at center.

Defensive line (7): Chris Canty, Arthur Jones, Brandon Williams, Haloti Ngata, Marcus Spears, DeAngelo Tyson, Terrence Cody. IR candidate: Kapron Lewis-Moore; Out: Will Pericak, Cody Larsen

Analysis: Cody hasn't been particularly impressive, though he does provide depth on the interior line. Williams is playing a lot of three-technique in addition to nose tackle, meaning that Cody is the only pure backup nose tackle on the roster. His effort has been high of late, which could give him the opportunity to play out his contract season.

Outside linebacker (6): Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Pernell McPhee, Courtney Upshaw, John Simon, Adrian Hamilton; Out: D.J. Bryant, Meshak Williams

Analysis: Though there are no changes, the lone caveat could be that Hamilton is now ahead of Simon at the position group. Hamilton's had a great last couple of weeks and will look to build on that this Thursday against Atlanta. Simon has potential as a Sam linebacker but hasn't showcased that explosiveness yet. Both are likely on the roster at this point, regardless.

Inside linebacker (4): Arthur Brown, Daryl Smith, Josh Bynes, Albert McClellan; PUP: Jameel McClain; Bubble: Bryan Hall, Nigel Carr; Out: Brandon Copeland

Analysis: The more it drags out, the more it looks like McClain won't be able to begin the 2013 season. Therefore, you're looking at a group with Smith at the Mike linebacker and either Brown, Bynes or McClellan starting at McClain's weakside spot. Either Bynes or McClellan could then back up Smith. That said, don't count out Hall or Carr just yet. Both have been playing with a high energy and are beginning to grasp the defense better.

Cornerback (5): Lardarius Webb, Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, Marc Anthony; Suspended: Asa Jackson; Bubble: Moe Lee, Chris Johnson

Analysis: Jackson had an interception last Thursday but then got on coach John Harbaugh's bad side during a practice over the weekend. If he doesn't get on Harbaugh's good side and make the organization want him by the end of training camp, he won't have a roster spot after his eight-game suspension. The final spot could come down to Anthony and Lee. Lee had a better showing against Tampa Bay, though Anthony's the draft pick. Then again, you can't ignore it when an undrafted player might be better than the one you drafted.

Safety (4): Michael Huff, Matt Elam, James Ihedigbo, Omar Brown; Suspended: Christian Thompson; Out: Anthony Levine, Brynden Trawick

Analysis: The top three safeties are in, with Baltimore likely to bring on Brown as well. Brown continues to have a nose for the football, living up to his billing as "Baby Ed."

Special teams (3): Sam Koch, Justin Tucker, Morgan Cox

Analysis: It's the three best friends that anybody could have.

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