The Baltimore Ravens released their first round of cuts earlier Monday afternoon, and the one name that stood out was third-year wide receiver LaQuan Williams. He had been on the team in each of the last two seasons and played for the Maryland Terrapins in college, so a familiar name to Ravens' fans is now gone.
Competing for the last spot or two at receiver are a couple of undrafted free agents in Kamar Aiken and Jeremy Butler, a late-round draft pick in Michael Campanaro, and the speedy Deonte Thompson. This will be a close race.
Thompson might have the edge on all these receivers for a couple of reasons. First, he has the most experience of all these players as he has played in 13 games over the last two seasons, recording 15 receptions and 147 yards.
Second, he has the ability to make an impact beyond the wide receiver position. With his speed, he could be a valuable asset in the return game and he showed that in week two of the preseason when he took a kickoff back 108 yards.
If it weren't for the fact that he possessed such speed, he would be on the bottom of my list to make the roster. However, considering all those reasons that I mentioned before, he currently has the upper hand in this race.
Although he is probably most unlikely to make the roster, my personal favorite is undrafted free agent Jeremy Butler. I see him as this year's Marlon Brown.
The 6-foot-2, 218 pound receiver out of Tennessee-Martin impressed the Ravens immensely in practice and training camp. However, after receiving a seven-yard touchdown pass in week one of three preseason, he has yet to do much, totaling three receptions for 26 yards.
Kamar Aiken, entering his fourth NFL season, looked impressive in the first game of preseason action but has slowed down since then. He has caught four passes for 46 yards through the first three weeks. Aiken has had previous stints on the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills, where he participated in just three games combined.
There are two other wide receivers on the roster named Mike Willie and Jace Davis, but they are unlikely to compete for a spot.
As it currently stands, Thompson and Campanaro hold the best shots at making the final cut. The Ravens trading a 2015 pick to snag Campanaro in the seventh round this past May should hold a lot of weight.
With that being said, anything is possible, especially considering there is still one more preseason game. If one of these guys break out in week four, who knows what will happen?
The final game of the preseason is what we call "the bubble game," a game in which barely any of the starters participate in, so all these players will get their shot at making the team. The only question is: Who will take advantage of the opportunity?