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Ravens News 8/31: Surprises Kept and more

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NFL: Washington Commanders at Baltimore Ravens Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens’ surprise cuts set the stage for more roster turnover - Jonas Shaffer

In some respects, the Ravens’ moves Tuesday did reflect their team-building philosophies. They kept one more tight end than expected (Josh Oliver). They kept one more offensive lineman than expected (center Trystan Colon). They kept not only one of their top special teams contributors (inside linebacker Kristian Welch) but also the rookie who’d been projected to replace him (inside linebacker Josh Ross).

They released a young outside linebacker (Daelin Hayes) and a veteran (Steven Means), leaving the defense with just two healthy players at the position.

General manager Eric DeCosta’s cut-down left the Ravens with an oddly shaped roster that will evolve over the next two days and through Sept. 11, when they open their 2022 schedule against the New York Jets.

The Ravens’ replacements could come from their list of cuts Tuesday. Defensive lineman Brent Urban and Means, vested veterans who aren’t subject to waiver claims and can sign with any team, are expected to rejoin the team.

Ravens cut Urban, Jefferson, Means and waive two recent draft picks to trim roster to 53 - Luke Jones

After a strong preseason, inside linebacker Josh Ross became the only undrafted rookie to make the 53-man roster. The Ravens have now kept at least one rookie free agent on their projected Week 1 roster in 18 of the last 19 seasons with the 2020 pandemic season being the lone exception over that time.

Badie was the only one of the Ravens’ 11 2022 draft picks not to make the initial roster while Hayes was cut with an injury designation and will revert to injured reserve if he passes through waivers.

Anthony Brown top the list of waived players figuring to draw the most interest from other teams as either a potential waiver claim or a candidate to join a practice squad.

The Ravens also waived second-year safety Ar’Darius Washington, who made the 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie last season and missed most of this spring and summer while recovering from a broken foot sustained last November.

Two Ravens Receivers Return to Practice, Ronnie Stanley Still Out - Clifton Brown

James Proche II (hamstring) and Tylan Wallace (knee) returned after being out last week, joining Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson in the wide receiver rotation. Proche and Wallace still have almost two weeks to prepare for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Jets, and Proche was having a particularly strong training camp prior to his injury.

Also returning to practice was rookie cornerback Pepe Williams, who will be competing for playing time in Baltimore’ deep secondary. Williams’ competitiveness raises the intensity of practices, which has quickly made him a favorite among the coaching staff.

“He’s a rookie, and rookies have to go through what rookies go through,” Pass Game Coordinator Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt said. “The kid has a whole lot of energy, and I’m going to bet on a kid like that all of the time because he’s such a hard worker and just a good football player.

Rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones was making plays as a run-stopper and inside pass rusher before injuring his knee during the second preseason game in Arizona. Jones is expected to miss three to five weeks, but Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Anthony Weaver would not be surprised if Jones returns faster than anticipated.

The Ravens released defensive tackle Isaiah Mack, going with just five defensive linemen for now. Brent Urban, who was among those cut, would return as a vested veteran who doesn’t have to clear waivers.

NFL win total projections for all 32 teams: Experts react to our model - Jeff Zrebiec

Baltimore Ravens

Win total: 9.9

That seems about right, just because there’s so much uncertainty about who the Ravens will even have available early in the season. So many of their key players who sustained major season-ending injuries last year are either just getting back to the field or won’t be back for weeks or months. They could be vulnerable early. However, they are well-coached and still have a motivated Lamar Jackson and a relatively deep and talented roster.

NFL Rank 2022: Predicting the top 100 players, with stats, notes and quotes for the league’s best - Jamison Hensley

33. Mark Andrews

TE | Ravens

Age: 27

2021 rank: 98

Signature stat: Since the start of 2019, Andrews’ 26 touchdown catches leads all NFL tight ends, and his 2,914 receiving yards trails only Travis Kelce and Darren Waller among tight ends. He has been incredibly productive from the slot: over the past three seasons, Andrews’ 1,997 receiving yards from the slot are fourth among all players in the league.

42. Lamar Jackson

QB | Ravens

Age: 25

2021 rank: 22

Jackson remains the best dual-threat QB in NFL history, tying the league record with seven games of least 200 yards passing and 50 yards rushing last season. But he’s looking to bounce back from a season in which he was sidelined for the last four games with a bone bruise in his right ankle. This has been Jackson’s best offseason of his career, and teammates and coaches have said he’s throwing the ball with more velocity and accuracy.

56. Marlon Humphrey

CB | Ravens

Age: 26

2021 rank: 49

Signature stat: Since the start of 2017, Humphrey has allowed a completion percentage of 53% as the nearest defender. That ranks fifth among defenders with at least 2,000 coverage snaps over this span. Additionally, Humphrey has allowed just 6.3 yards per attempt as the nearest defender, which ranks fourth over the same span and among players with at least 2,000 coverage snaps.