Welcome back to the second session of our Push to Start series. Last week, we profiled four Ravens who have longer ladders to climb: rookie tight end Maxx Williams, linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive end Lawrence Guy and wide receiver Kamar Aiken.
Trimming the 90-man roster is never an easy task, like trying to lose weight while the five-year-old girl sitting at the table next to yours at Starbucks is deliciously munching on a caramel-salted cake pop. Lord help me on a Sunday.
The Ravens' roster this semester looks impossible to whittle down; on paper our 2015 personnel is rock-solid, and could rep more weights than the beefed-up bodybuilders do at Muscle Beach.
I don't think I can make my starvation any more obvious, let's go. Introducing the four Ravens who could #PushToStart this offseason and climb up the ranks:
Javorious Allen, Running back
Why he's on this list: The rookie who stepped into a beast-loaded dungeon will come out ... alive.
Like Lorenzo Taliaferro a year ago, Allen was drafted in the fourth-round of the NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 221-pound bruiser can weave-and-maul through the gaps, but look for OC Marc Trestman to deploy the back in the Ravens' passing attack. The USC Trojan registered 41 catches for 458 receiving yards and a touchdown last year on a pro-styled offense. A lot of our readership has mixed views about Kyle Juszczyk -- as do I -- but for now Allen's best bet is to get in the far left lane and pass Fitzerald Touissant, a challenge we would unanimously agree isn't hands-down.
Trey DePriest, Linebacker
Why he's on this list: In a non-nepotistic sounding way, DePriest has a friend on the team that could pull a few strings, at least show him the ropes.
Along with two other rookies out of Alabama -- defensive back Nick Perry and guard Leon Brown -- DePriest will get to shadow defensive rookie of the year nominee C.J. Mosley the closest. The Alabama byproduct and rookie free agent finished with 88 tackles his senior year. Noted in his NFL Draft Profile, DePriest "looks for contact and is a willing participant." To advance he'll need to outshine Arthur Brown and/or Zachary Orr. DePriest's source of motivation: Albert McClellan is playing the final year of his two-year contract.
Za'Darius Smith, Defensive end
Why he's on this list: Bright outlook for the defensive end if he plays at a high level and produces.
Oh ... and Terrell Suggs is his mentor. T-Sizz and Elvis Dumervil are on the wrong side of 30; both have been in the league for a combined total of 23 years. There's a lot of wisdom to be passed around right now, and if the fourth-round sponge could absorb in their insight, learn the playbook and execute this offseason, you might as well call it a day and take the roof off the Ravens' defense. #NoCeiling
Bryn Renner, Quarterback
Why he's on this list: The Ravens don't hold three quarterbacks, the man behind Joe Flacco usually stands alone. Hold up. Matt Schaub is how old?
Seeing the ball leave Jay Cutler's hands, soar through the air and end up in the gloves of a defensive back ... is normal for Trestman. Cutler's thrown 130 interceptions in 10 seasons. 130.
Schaub on the other hand (hopefully he isn't throwing with it), has been picked off 86 times in 12 seasons. 84 of the ducks were chucked in 11 seasons with the Houston Texans. (Why Gary Kubiak left, wonder no more.)
Renner's stat sheet is cleaner than a newborn's left cheek, and the quarterback from UNC is tough and competitive, according to his 2014's pre-draft analysis. Writing about the once-scrawny kid who stood behind you in the lunch line at West Springfield High School is ... indescribably, weird. Good luck, Bryn.
Alright, cake pop, you win.