Baltimore will face Miami on Saturday in Week 3 of the preseason. This game is usually referred to as a “dress rehearsal” since the starters usually see extensive action. With so much competition on the roster, this will be the final chance for several Ravens to prove their worth against high caliber competition:
Baltimore’s top four wide receivers are a locked in at this point. Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore are all set in stone to make the final 53-man roster. The questions now are how many receivers the Ravens will carry and who will they be?
Baltimore will likely save a spot for a designated returner. This role will go to either Tim White or Janarion Grant, though neither have particularly impressed this preseason. The Ravens usually carry six or less receivers, so the final spot is shaping up as a battle between Perriman, Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott.
Even after having a strong game in Week 1 of the preseason, Perriman did not see any first or second-team reps against Indianapolis in Week 2. Meanwhile, Lasley continues to receive second-team playing time, although, a bad touchdown drop against the Colts could potentially set him back. Scott has failed to make any impact this preseason so Perriman may have the edge over the fourth-round rookie.
Perriman will need a strong game against the Dolphins if he wants to remain on the roster. However, the writing may already be on the wall for the former first-round pick.
Another previous high-round pick, Kaufusi, seems to on the outside looking in. This is an example of how much depth Baltimore has on their defensive line, as Kaufusi has been buried by other players on the depth chart despite an overall solid preseason showing. Kaufusi was already lower on the depth chart, but after the emergence of second-year player Patrick Ricard and rookie Zach Sieler on the defensive line, Kaufusi has a huge hill to climb to make the final roster.
The Ravens have experimented with playing Kaufusi on the edge as an outside linebacker, but again, Baltimore has excellent depth already at that position. At 6’7, Kaufusi has speed and athleticism, but has struggled against the run. Kaufusi doesn’t currently offer anything that makes him stand out in a crowded group, leaving him as the odd-man out. He will have to take his game to the next level against Miami to make the coaches think twice about releasing the former third-round pick.
The forgotten man on the defensive line, Davis enters his fourth year with the odds stacked against him. Davis has been a solid defensive tackle for the Ravens since being drafted in the third round in 2015, but has failed to take the next step, particularly as a pass rusher. As previously mentioned, with the emergence of Ricard and Sieler at the defensive tackle position, Davis has been pushed down the depth chart from his backup role.
Carl has been extremely quiet this preseason, largely due to the lack of snaps Baltimore has given him so far. Davis had a monster preseason last year, but failed to translate that dominance to the regular season. This may be his final chance to prove he belongs in the crowded position.
The 32-year-old special teams captain is returning from a season-ending ACL tear suffered a year ago. Special teams coach Jerry Rosburg often mentions how invaluable McClellan is to the unit and the teaching of the younger guys. This goes a long way in helping his chances of remaining on the roster, but his lackluster play on defense this preseason may signal the end of his time with the Ravens, especially with the emergence of other capable players on special teams.
McClellan has always been a jack of all trades on defense, playing both outside and inside linebacker. Baltimore has a similar player in Kamalei Correa, who was a second-round pick in 2016. So far, Correa has made more plays than McClellan, so he has the edge currently. McClellan has long been a respected player for the Ravens, but all things must come to an end. McClellan will have to show he can still play on defense to earn a spot on the roster.