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Ravens News 9/5: Revisiting roster decisions, record predictions and more

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

News & Notes: John Harbaugh Sheds Light on Tough Roster Decisions - Ryan Mink

Harbaugh Happy to Still Have Grant and White

The Ravens chose to keep undrafted rookie Janarion Grant on the 53-man roster instead of second-year wide receiver/return specialist Tim White, but it clearly wasn’t an easy call and could change.

Harbaugh said the Ravens just did “what you think is best at the time.” Even though neither returner had a breakout preseason game and each fumbled once, Grant looked a little more dynamic on punt returns this preseason.

Harbaugh said the biggest takeaway is that the Ravens still have both players, as White was added to Baltimore’s practice squad after his release.

“They’re both right there,” Harbaugh said. “I love them both, they both bring a lot to the table, they both have upside. It’s going to be fun to see how they both develop, and I’m just glad they’re both here.”

Harbaugh added that Grant or wide receiver Chris Moore could be the Ravens’ kick returner. Grant will be the punt returner and veteran Willie Snead IV will be the backup punt returner, Harbaugh said.

Janarion Grant continues a 15-year streak of undrafted rookie free agents making the team.

Baltimore Ravens 2018 records predictions: How analysts think the team will fare in pivotal season - Aaron Kasinitz

Sports Illustrated’s Jonathan Jones: 6-10

Take: “Don’t be confused by last year’s 9-7 record, where the Ravens were in the playoff hunt in Week 17. Baltimore went 0-5 against would-be playoff teams and 9-2 against all others. Flacco’s yards-per-attempt slipped to a career-low 5.7 last season, when his best receiving option was 31-year-old Mike Wallace. The Ravens bolstered that group with John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead, but this year isn’t about Flacco finding his magic again. It’s is about when Lamar Jackson will be ready to take over.”

CBS Sports’ Will Brinson: 9-7 (or better)

Take: “Remember, Flacco tore his ACL in late 2015, which ended his season prematurely and left him limping around for much of the 2016 season. No one should weep for Flacco considering how much money he’s made, but he ground his way back to be ready for 2016 with little fanfare. Flacco’s back was wonky for virtually the entire 2017 season as well. Flacco isn’t going magically morph into an MVP candidate, but he could easily have the best year of his career in 2018. (It’s kind of a low bar, to be honest.) “

Oddsmakers have set the Ravens win total at 8.5. 53-percent of all wagers to date have been placed on the under.

Three Rising Stars on the Baltimore Ravens Defense - Jamal Bedell

Kenny Young, Linebacker – Rookie

Kenny Young is a tackling machine. The Ravens drafted him in the fourth round out of UCLA in this year’s draft. Young has been competing with Patrick Onwuasor for the starting WILL linebacker job next to C.J. Mosley. During the preseason, he made an excellent case for why he deserves this spot eventually.

Young finished the preseason with 21 total tackles and one sack. In terms of tackles, Young was tied for 10th in the entire NFL and second on the Ravens. Fellow linebacker Chris Board, who had 26 total tackles, was the only other Raven with more tackles during the preseason.

Baltimore selected Young in this year’s draft because he has incredible range. The Ravens coveted Young’s coverage skills as a linebacker because they struggled in this area last year. Young’s 4.6 40-yard dash speed allows him to play sideline to sideline and beat slow-footed lineman. This season, Young will be tasked with covering backs out of the backfield and dropping back to shade passing lanes. His strength in these areas is why he’ll be starting at WILL Linebacker for the Ravens before the year ends.

Kenny Young could be an influential player this season. His speed would improve coverage in the middle of the field, which has been an area opponents have exploited due to the lack of range from the safeties.