A ‘stashed’ player is defined as a young prospect who is retained by an organization for the purpose of development and potential future contributions.
These prospects are often members of the practice squad, former un-drafted free agents or players recovering from injury. They are an overlooked but important part of the team because they can provide the front office with an opportunity to save precious cap space and also help to identify which positions must to be bolstered in the late rounds of the draft. Some even grow into above average long-term starters.
The Baltimore Ravens have several such players on their 2017 offseason roster. Despite the current rough patch in team history, identifying and developing lesser know players is one aspect of team building that has remained constant. The Ravens have some interesting developmental players who are likely to be brought back as exclusive rights free agents - including linebacker/safety hybrid Patrick Onwuasor, corner Sheldon Price, slash player Keenan Reynolds and offensive tackle De’Ondre Wesley. But this list will be limited to Ravens who are currently under contract:
- Willie Henry, Defensive Tackle
A fourth round selection in the 2016 NFL draft, the Ravens carried Henry as a weekly inactive until placing him on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury in November. He has major upside as a disruptive lineman from Michigan, with a quick first step and good burst.
Henry tallied eight tackles in the preseason, but did not receive a single regular season snap due to the Ravens deep defensive tackle rotation. With Brandon Williams and Lawrence Guy both impending unrestricted free agents, Henry should have an opportunity for playing time next season as a rotational 3-technique, or possibly a greater role if he refines his technique this offseason.
- Cavellis Luckett, Inside Linebacker
This extremely fast 245-pound linebacker signed with the Ravens as an un-drafted rookie last season. Luckett spent the entire year, including the preseason, on injured reserve and reportedly had some issues learning the playbook. He was a tackling machine at Middle Tennessee State.
After the unexpected retirement of Zachary Orr, the Ravens are in need of an inside linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range. If he can handle a leadership role on special teams, he could even make veteran linebacker Albert McClellan expendable.
- Stephane Nembot, Offensive Tackle
A massive right tackle born in Cameroon, with great athleticism for a man his size. Nembot had plenty of starting experience at Colorado. Another UDFA who was stashed on injured reserve, he could have used the experience of the practice squad since he is regarded as a raw player.
If he can improve his strength and balance, he could push for the backup swing tackle roster spot, allowing the Ravens to move on from James Hurst and saving their Day 3 draft picks for other needs.
- Matt Skura, Center
Skura was praised as one of the best un-drafted rookie signings last May. He started 40 consecutive games for Duke, earning numerous All-ACC and All-American honors. He held a place on the Ravens practice squad throughout 2016.
Skura is highly intelligent, but not very nimble or strong. While unlikely to be an upgrade over Jeremy Zuttah, he should be in direct competition with John Urschel for a backup interior lineman roster spot this offseason.