An unprecedented volume of injuries has opened the door for some lesser known players to crack the Baltimore Ravens final 53-man regular season roster. These five players will have a prime opportunity to prove themselves when the Ravens take on the Buffalo Bills this Saturday:
- Taquan Mizzell, RB
‘Smoke’ has amassed 116 yards from scrimmage during the first two preseason games; showing off burst, vision and his ability to bring a change of pace to the team’s running back stable. With Kenneth Dixon done for the season and Danny Woodhead nursing a hamstring injury, Mizzell could be a valuable weapon behind Terrance West and Buck Allen. He may still factor into the return man competition as well. Hopefully he continues to perform well against Buffalo.
- Larry Donnell, TE
After suiting up for the Giants the last four seasons, the front office brought Donnell to provide depth after Crokett Gillmore was lost for the year. With nine touchdowns grabs on his regular season resume, he has proven to be a potent red zone target, including a touchdown catch and two-point conversion last week. Injuries and ineffectiveness have weakened the wide receiver corps, potentially allowing the Ravens to carry four tight ends into Week 1.
- Patrick Ricard, FB
An undrafted find who plays with tenacity. Odds are stacked against Ricard cracking an exceptionally deep defensive tackle rotation, so the Ravens experimented with him at fullback against Miami. He does bring some experience to the position after playing fullback in high school. Neither Lorenzo Taliaferro nor Ricky Ortiz have staked claim to the job. While unlikely to bring much as a receiver out of the backfield, he could make up for that with punishing lead blocking. Ricard could also be utilized as the sixth offensive lineman in heavy formations, as James Hurst did as a rookie.
- Sheldon Price, CB
This is Price’s third year with the organization and he is battling for a backup cornerback job behind Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey and Jaylen Hill. When on the field, he has shown his coverage ability as a long, physical man corner. His primary competition for the wide open fifth corner gig appears to be fellow journeyman Trevin Wade. Wade is more suited for the slot, so it may come down the coaches’ preference between outside and inside cornerback. Nevertheless, Price needs a good showing on Saturday to keep pace .
- Chuck Clark, SS
This sixth round rookie’s tackling on defense has been inconsistent thus far. The Ravens usually keep all of their drafted rookies, but not always. Fifth round offensive guard Robert Myers is the most recent example, he was released before the 2015 season. Special teams is Clark’s calling card, but the Ravens already possess a strong core of special teams standouts; including Anthony Levine, Albert McClellan, Patrick Onwuasor and Nick Boyle, among others. At this juncture, Clark seems more likely than not to make the club. Still, he could use a strong game to cement his spot.