As we head closer to the NFL Draft in Philadelphia, preparation for training camp and the preseason will get started shortly after. While the preseason doesn't count, it does matter when it comes to player and team development, as well as chemistry at certain positions. The preseason will also give us a glimpse at what the 2017 Draft class will look like, and maybe a possible sleeper player shines, like Michael Pierce a year ago. The team doesn't know who or where they will be playing this preseason, but they will find out tonight as the NFL unveils every teams preseason schedule on Monday evening.
Last year, the Ravens matched up against the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, and New Orleans Saints in preseason action. They also took a very different approach to the preseason due to the amount of players coming back from injuries, as they limited injured veterans like Justin Forsett, Terrell Suggs, and Joe Flacco. Steve Smith was kept out of the preseason, and Breshad Perriman didn't get his first playing time action at all until the fourth and final preseason game in New Orleans. One of the players they will have to be cautious with this summer is cornerback Jimmy Smith. Who is coming off another injury plagued season.
This preseason will also be very important to some second year players like Pierce, Bronson Kaufusi, and of course, Kamalei Correa. Kaufusi, if he stays healthy, will get a chance to display his talents to the coaches after missing the entire 2016 season with a broken ankle. With the departures of Lawrence Guy and Timmy Jernigan, Kaufusi will have the door open for him to earn a starting role. Pierce cannot afford a sophomore slump like Za'Darius Smith last season, and Correa needs to show that the team made the right choice going with the young kid from Boise State after the sudden retirement of Zachary Orr.
The preseason may not count, but for the Ravens in 2017, it is very important.