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Is it possible for the Ravens to keep seven receivers?

With Ray Rice and Will Hill facing suspensions, and Terrence Cody looking at starting the year on the PUP list, could a spot open up for a seventh receiver?

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

John Harbaugh's belief is simple when crafting a roster. The best 53 men will be on it.

It doesn't necessarily matter when it comes to position. If you're one of the 53 and you can contribute, you'll be on the squad. And that brings us to this question. Could the Ravens begin the year with seven receivers on the 53-man roster?

It sounds inconceivable at first. And for the long term it may not be practical. But it's not necessarily out of the question, and Harbaugh himself alluded to that during his Tuesday press conference.

"Yes, the wide receiver battle — you're talking about for that fifth [or] sixth spot, or seventh spot, around six," Harbaugh said. "It is bunched up, so it's still very competitive because all those guys are doing so well. Nobody has dropped out of the race, and they're all proving they can play."

Of course we all know Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown are on the team. So there are either two or three spots remaining.

"Around six" does seem more likely given the depth of the position. But there's still a chance for seven to latch on.

The contenders

Deonte Thompson has scored two touchdowns in consecutive weeks. Against Dallas he returned a 108-yard kickoff for a touchdown. Against Washington, he scored a 21-yard touchdown. He's showcased blazing speed but has not seen that many reps this preseason.

Michael Campanaro was drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft. The Ravens traded back in to get him, giving up a 2015 draft pick. That won't be taken lightly as the Ravens value their picks considerably. Campanaro had a couple of nice grabs and a 43-yard kickoff return against the Redskins. Even though he didn't play much in the first two preseason games, you could make a case that he's the safest of the final three.

Kamar Aiken is the wild card here. He did see eight special teams reps against Washington but doesn't add the kind of value there that Thompson and Campanaro do. At the same time, he's seen a lot more time at receiver, coming in with Marlon Brown as the top two guys on the second team. Aiken has had a great camp but hasn't done that much over the previous two preseason games — he dropped a catch and had just one other target against Washington. But his whole body of work has been impressive this preseason.