The Perfect 53-man Roster - Bill Barnwell
TOTAL SPENT: $19.3M
Aaron Donald, LAR $6.89M Madden rating: 99
Mike Daniels, GB $9.84M Madden rating: 91
Michael Pierce, BAL $633K Madden rating: 87
Grady Jarrett, ATL $1.97M Madden rating: 86
This is the most stacked position on our roster and a spot in which we might legitimately have four Pro Bowlers. Donald has taken J.J. Watt’s spot as the most impactful defender in football, and we have three wildly underrated tackles to play alongside him. Daniels finally made the Pro Bowl last season, and Jarrett is likely on his way after continuing to improve upon an excellent 2016 postseason. No defensive tackle made more tackles for loss in the running game than Jarrett’s 10. When we need a traditional nose tackle in run situations, we’ll bring on the 340-pound Pierce, who somehow went undrafted in 2016.
Michael Pierce was the lone Raven selected by Barnwell. The burly defensive tackle is expected to be more disruptive this season due to a lighter workload.
Jack of all trades, master of none. The Ravens do a nice job balancing their colors, but there isn’t anything special about their uniforms.
Baltimore’s color rush ensemble is a sharp look. The Cowboys uniform was deemed the best in the league.
The fourth-year tight end was still grinning when he strode toward the locker room. After missing two practices and a preseason game with a leg injury, Williams said he was giddy just to be on the field.
”It’s not fun being inside, man,” Williams said, referring to the training room. “This is fun. This is why I do this. I’m here to play football.”
“It’s basically three preseason games while we’re out there, because you are seeing a different team three times,” Williams said. “So that can benefit you more than anything, because you’re not actually going against the players you know and the tendencies you know.”
“You talk about these new tight ends a lot and what they’re going to do for our passing game, but I think you can’t discredit the two of those guys [Williams and Boyle] and what they’re capable of doing in both the run and pass game,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “Obviously, a little bit more in the run game, but really, how capable they are of doing everything in our offense.”
Maxx is likely vying for a potential fourth tight end roster spot. His direct competition at the position are Vince Mayle and Darren Waller. Williams is also trying to carve out a role that will give the coaches reason to play him over Mark Andrews in the regular season.
There doesn’t appear to be much of a competition at center right now as Matt Skura is the only one getting first-team reps. However, Skura needs to keep getting better to fill the void left by Ryan Jensen’s departure in free agency.
“The biggest thing for me is being able to hold my own against the big nose tackles and also being able to manage an offense – being able to take Joe [Flacco’s] call in the huddle, decipher it, and then go out and read the defense and make sure everyone’s on the same page,” Skura said.
If Skura improves his ability to anchor against bull rushing nose tackles, he should be a fine replacement for Ryan Jensen.
Take it to the Bank Podcast
Interviews with Cincy Jungle’s Rebecca Toback and Behind the Steel Curtain’s Bryan Davis to review Week 1 of the preseason around the AFC North. Discussion of the remaining battles for starting jobs, UDFAs and Orlando Brown Jr.’s career outlook.