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Ravens News 9/1: Roster Breakdown and more

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Biggest Takeaways From Ravens’ Roster Cuts - Ryan Mink

Nine offensive linemen make the team

The Ravens have a deep and versatile offensive line with a potential super sub waiting in the wings. Besides the known starters of Ronnie Stanley, Bradley Bozeman, Kevin Zeitler and Alejandro Villanueva, the Ravens have Ben Powers, Tyre Phillips, Ben Cleveland, Patrick Mekari and Trystan Colon. It remains to be seen whether Powers, Phillips or Cleveland will start at left guard. If Phillips isn’t, he would be the top swing/reserve offensive tackle, although Mekari has also spent time there this offseason. Between Phillips and Mekari, the Ravens have backups at any spot on the line. Colon made the team as a top backup at center. Ja’Wuan James is eligible to return from the Reserve/Non-Football injury list after eight games (for Week 10 at Miami).

Thin on defensive line, thick on linebackers

With Ellis and Smith released, the Ravens only have five defensive linemen on the current roster: Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington. At linebacker, however, the Ravens have nine. Jaylon Ferguson turned it on and won a job after some questioned his spot following the addition of Justin Houston.

Breaking down 2021 Ravens’ initial 53-man roster - Luke Jones

RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (4) — Gus Edwards, Patrick Ricard, Ty’Son Williams, Justice Hill Analysis: Though Hill made the cut, he probably shouldn’t feel too comfortable as DeCosta explores other options who might fit in offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s rushing attack in the wake of losing the explosive J.K. Dobbins to a season-ending knee injury. Williams impressed over the summer to win a job, but depth is now a concern here with Edwards being the only established NFL tailback.

TIGHT ENDS (3) — Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Josh Oliver Analysis: Head coach John Harbaugh said Boyle won’t be ready for Week 1, but the Ravens activated him from the physically unable to perform list, meaning he’ll avoid a six-game absence to open the season. You’d anticipate Baltimore re-signing blocking tight end Eric Tomlinson — or adding someone similar — to the roster or the practice squad to lend a hand in the meantime.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (5) — Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington Analysis: There currently isn’t a clear-cut backup to Williams at nose tackle, which is why Justin Ellis is a candidate to re-sign to the active roster or practice squad later this week. Otherwise, keeping only five defensive linemen isn’t out of the question with teams rarely activating more than five for games in today’s pass-happy NFL.

Breaking Down The Ravens’ Initial 53-Man Roster - Bo Smolka

At quarterback, the Ravens opted to keep just two quarterbacks (Jackson and Tyler Huntley) for the first time in four years, releasing McSorley and exposing him to waivers. If not claimed, they will try to bring him back to the practice squad.

Undrafted rookie safety Ar’Darius Washington grabbed one of the final roster spots to begin a new streak for the Ravens; last year marked the first time in 17 seasons that the Ravens did not keep any undrafted rookies on the initial 53-man roster. Washington (5-foot-8, 176 pounds) has demonstrated good instincts and a nose for the ball, was one of the top undrafted players in this year’s draft and was not likely to pass through waivers if cut.

Two other big winners out of training camp to make the 53-man roster were cornerback Chris Westry, signed with little fanfare to a reserve/future contract in January, and running back Ty’Son Williams, who might have secured a spot with his play regardless of the season-ending knee injury suffered by J.K. Dobbins.

NFL roster cuts 2021: Cam Newton headlines newly released players who should be priorities on the open market - Chris Trapasso

OT Tyrell Crosby

Released by: Lions

Draft status: Round 5 - 2018

Positional athleticism: Above-average

One of the annual guarantees in the NFL — new coaches and GMs are content in releasing good players because they have no connection to them. Crosby is the latest example of said phenomenon. Crosby logged more than 1,100 regular-season snaps in his NFL career, the vast majority of which have come at right tackle, the others at left tackle.

The former Oregon star is what every coaching staff should want to see from a Day 3 selection — marked improvement in each season. Crosby’s pressure-allowance rate went from 8.2% in 2019 (when he assumed swing tackle duties) to 4.7% last season in the largest role he’d assumed in his NFL career (424 snaps).

Lamar Jackson, Chase Young highlight The Athletic’s NFL All-Under-25 Team - Lindsay Jones

When considering the NFL’s best young quarterbacks, it’s hard to argue against Jackson’s resume, with an MVP award in 2019 and three consecutive playoff appearances. Jackson’s production gives him an edge here over Justin Herbert, who was a breakout star as a rookie in 2020, and former No. 1 pick Kyler Murray.

Statistically, 2020 was a step back for Jackson: He had almost 400 fewer passing yards and 10 fewer passing touchdowns than he did the year before, but perhaps it was always unfair to judge him by his MVP season production. What’s important to remember is that even in a challenging season in which he missed one game because of COVID-19, Jackson still led the Ravens to the playoffs, and he remains one of the singularly unique and dynamic players in the NFL.

At 24, Jackson enters a critical moment in his career. We know he can run; back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons put him in rare quarterback company. Now we need to see if the next evolution of the Ravens’ offense will allow him to do more. Coach John Harbaugh has called it a “done deal” that Jackson will remain with Baltimore for the long term, but an official contract extension has not yet been reached.