With the addition of 10 new draft picks following a flurry of free agent signings, many position groups were upgraded. Despite a historic 14-2 season, it was evident that the Ravens were lacking in certain areas in their Divisional Round loss to the Titans. What first comes to mind are the middle linebacker and wide receiver spots. With a great commitment to upgrading those position groups over the offseason, both groups undoubtedly look better than they did at this time last year.
However, great uncertainty lies with players who maybe failed to live up to expectations or never had their breakout year. The front office can only wait so long for the development of a player. So, upgrades need to be made. With the help of the Baltimore Beatdown team, here are some players they see being on the roster bubble.
Wide receiver Jaleel Scott is firmly on the bubble entering his third season. After being drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Scott has only caught one pass for six yards in the regular season. Scott made the team last year with a solid training camp and preseason but he will have to really impress this year to make the final roster after Baltimore drafted two receivers to go with the return of Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead, and Chris Moore. Proving to be a valuable player on special teams could give Scott the nod over Moore for the last roster spot among the receivers. Scott must open eyes this preseason to prove that he deserves a shot in 2020.
Chris Board is a player who some have projected to sneak onto the roster. In drafting Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison, Board’s path to the roster has gotten more challenging. He’ll have to beat out Otaro Alaka, which I believe he would, but he’ll then also have to beat out veteran newcomer Jake Ryan as well. The Ravens could very easily just keep three ILB’s (Queen, Harrison, Fort), leaving no space for Board at all. However, if they do choose a fourth ILB, given the youth already at the position, the veteran Ryan may provide the best value. He has a great story coming out of North Dakota St., but he will need to prove he’s worth one of these coveted spots by outplaying these others when play returns.
Daylon Mack is firmly on the bubble entering his second NFL season. The former Texas A&M product was a healthy scratch for the first half of 2019 before being placed on injured reserve to make room for Justin Ellis and Domata Peko on the active roster. Mack got the short end of the stick in his rookie year and could be the odd man out of a crowded defensive lineman room. The Ravens re-signed Ellis in free agency and drafted a pair of defensive tackles in Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington Jr. The competition in this group will be stiff and Mack needs an impressive training camp and preseason to separate himself from the pack.
KR/PR De’Anthony Thomas is unquestionably on the roster bubble. The Ravens signed Thomas midway through last season, and he served as their punt returner and kick returner for eight regular season games. Thomas is explosive with the ball in his hands, but he averaged only 16.6 yards per kick return with the Ravens, which was a career-low. Rookies James Proche and Devin Duvernay will compete with Thomas for the return spots. Eric DeCosta previously mentioned that Proche’s punt return ability impressed him at the Senior Bowl. With many talented players on the roster bubble, the Ravens are likely leaning toward using a receiver that will already made the roster to return kicks instead of using an additional roster spot for a specialist. Thomas will need to clearly stand out from his competition at training camp to make the roster.
DT Justin Ellis is a player who’s roster situation wasn't helped this offseason. With the addition of both Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, retention of Jihad Ward, and the drafting of two defensive linemen in Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington, Ellis, despite being re-signed in free agency, could find himself on the outside looking in. Should Daylon Mack emerge to become a solid contributor, Ellis’ situation would not be helped at all. Ellis proved to be relatively impactful when added mid-season last year. Ideally, due to his ability as an anchoring nose guard, he should be kept. However, with a crowded position group, it may ultimately come down to numbers for the defensive tackle spot.
Another player that unfortunately has to be included in the roster bubble conversation is S DeShon Elliott. Although the high-energy safety has always been a favorite of mine, having his first two career seasons abruptly end due to injury puts more pressure on Elliott to showcase his abilities and stay healthy. Since the loss of Tony Jefferson, Chuck Clark solicited his role as the team’s starting SS and was rewarded with a contact extension. Additionally, the Ravens drafted Iowa S Geno Stone with their 7th-Round Draft Pick. At this point, one could argue that Elliott has an uphill battle to make the roster. Elliott has always had the talent and has shown it in training camp, but health may ultimately decide the fate of Elliott’s future on the Ravens. If I were to predict, the last safety spot will be fought between Elliott and Stone.
Which player has the greatest chance of being cut?
This poll is closed
A. Jaleel Scott
B. Chris Board
C. Daylon Mack
D. De’Anthony Thomas
E. Justin Ellis
F. DeShon Elliot