The Baltimore Ravens had all summer to figure out who will be placed on the 53-man roster, and identify who emerged as the winners of key competition battles. Positions like inside linebacker, left guard, center, and tight end were up for grabs thanks to injuries and players leaving in free agency.
On Tuesday, Baltimore released their first depth chart of the 2017 regular-season. A depth chart that has little-to-no surprises, but it does leave you curious considering the competitions during training camp. The Ravens depth chart looks like this:
Not a lot of big surprises, but who would've thought that a few months ago we would be seeing James Hurst, one of the worst offensive lineman in the league, start for the 2017 Ravens. Unfortunately, with the departure of Rick Wagner and the injury to Alex Lewis, Hurst was granted a chance at a starting job. Baltimore took care of the right tackle spot by signing Austin Howard, while Hurst started at left guard during the preseason. To his credit, Hurst actually looked decent in August, but a bigger challenge awaits him this season. The team has seen him against legit competition before, with bad results. Baltimore better hope the Hurst they saw this summer shows up, or else Joe Flacco will be landing on his bad back a lot.
One other interesting spot is Kamalei Correa as the starting linebacker opposite C.J. Mosley. You can make the case that Correa, who was already coming off a disappointing rookie year, was outplayed by Patrick Onwuasor this preseason, and maybe Onwuasor deserves the spot over Correa. It just seemed like Onwuasor was around the ball and making more plays than Correa, but the team is sticking with their guns by starting their 2016 2nd-round pick to replace the retired Zachary Orr. If Correa slumps again, expect Onwuasor to jump ahead on the chart, officially labeling Correa as a bust.
Nick Boyle as the starting tight end is also interesting considering Ben Watson is a proven veteran, but Watson is 36-years old coming off a torn Achilles injury. Even so, that didn't stop Baltimore from starting Steve Smith Sr., right off the bat last year after his own Achillies injury. However, Boyle had a good training camp, and was the starting tight end all preseason. He has also played well during his first two years, but the obvious risk is his suspensions. Boyle has been suspended twice, and one more will leave him out for the year. The Ravens have already lost Darren Waller to a suspension, along with Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore to injury. In his third year as a Raven out of Delaware, Boyle must prove to the organization that he can be trusted for a full 16-game season.
The biggest question for this team is the offensive line, and that speaks even louder with Hurst as a starter. General manager Ozzie Newsome released the previously re-signed Jeremy Zuttah, and traded for depth players such as Tony Bergstrom and Luke Bowanko last week. If the team wants to succeed, the offensive line has to prove their doubters wrong, especially when they have to protect an already banged-up quarterback.
What do you think of the Ravens regular-season depth chart?