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15 Ravens players to watch against the Washington Commanders in Preseason Week 2

The Battle of the Beltway will provide another opportunity for players to make their case.

NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Commanders at Ravens Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens will be putting their historic preseason streak on the line yet again in a Monday Night Football edition of the Battle of the Beltway. They’re set to face off with the Washington Commanders in a primetime bout on ESPN.

More importantly, they’ll be looking to have their 2023 roster continue to come into focus through the evaluation of players battling for starting jobs, key roles, and roster spots.

Several members of this year’s rookie class — drafted and undrafted — got their first taste of NFL action last weekend. Many of them not only fared well but looked impressive overall. There were also some roster bubble players that stood out and positioned themselves to make a strong push to make the final cut.

The national spotlight on Monday is an even greater opportunity for these bubble players to showcase themselves again. Even if they don’t make the 2023 Ravens, they might just land a spot on a roster of practice squad elsewhere come the final cutdown day in two weeks.

CB Kevon Seymour

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The eight-year veteran was one the brightest standouts in what was an up-and-down performance by the Ravens’ secondary reserves as a whole in the preseason opener. With three-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey likely out at least through the first two games of the regular season, Seymour’s roster spot is all but secure. In addition to prowess on special teams, he might just be competing for a starting spot to open the year. Another strong performance on Monday would go a long way toward bolstering his case for consideration.

DB Ar’Darius Washington

NFL: AUG 12 Preseason - Eagles at Ravens Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The third-year pro was already in the running for the starting nickel position prior to 2022 fourth-rounder Damarion “Pepe” Williams undergoing ankle surgery, which will sideline him for the first half of the season. With Williams out of commission and veteran Arthur Maulet still missing practice with an undisclosed injury, Washington is poised to further assert himself as the front-runner for the job. He had a strong outing in the preseason opener, where he made a clutch play late that helped keep the streak alive.

OG John Simpson

The fourth-year pro is locked in a tight position battle for the starting left guard spot and according to Head Coach John Harbaugh, he is “making a good case” to win it. The consistency and skill that he has been showing in practice were also on display during his live reps against the Philadelphia Eagles. Simpson got the start and played 37 snaps. Even if doesn’t start or out-snap his competition for the second straight week, as long as he performs at the same or at a high level when he does check into the game, he shouldn’t lose much if any footing.

QB Josh Johnson

Philadelphia Eagles v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The 16th-year journeyman veteran has a prime opportunity to gain ground in the backup quarterback competition, since fourth-year pro Tyler Huntley has already been declared out this week with a hamstring injury. Johnson posted a decent stat line last week going 8-12 for 45 passing yards and a touchdown. However, he will need to show that he can run the offense more smoothly and in rhythm if he has any hopes of unseating Huntley.

OG Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu

The sixth-round rookie is Simpson’s top competition for the starting left guard spot. Even though he didn’t get to start in the preseason opener, he still acquitted himself well in the 33 snaps he did play. After opening camp running with the first-team offense before entering a weekly rotation with Simpson, a big performance could help Aumavae-Laulu regain the advantage in the eyes of the coaching staff. They’ve said nothing but positive things about his development thus far.

RB Keaton Mitchell

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The undrafted rookie only finished with 20 total yards from scrimmage on seven combined touches in the opener. However, he was still one of the brightest standouts nonetheless because of the explosiveness he showed both as a ball carrier and kick returner. Mitchell has been turning heads in practice with his blazing speed and playmaking ability since mandatory minicamp. If he can continue to show that he can contribute in two phases of the game, his odds of making the roster will increase even more.

RB Melvin Gordon

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The former two-time Pro Bowler had a solid outing in the opener with 25 total yards from scrimmage on seven combined touches. However, since he doesn’t play special teams, Gordon will need to show even more on offense against the Commanders if that’s the only phase of the game he’s taking part in. Otherwise, he won’t overtake Mitchell in the running to be the Ravens fourth running back on the roster, assuming they keep that many. The activation of starter J.K. Dobbins off the PUP list only adds to the importance of this game for both players.

WR Tylan Wallace

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 fourth-rounder entered his third training camp firmly on the roster bubble. Now, though, he appears on track to be the Ravens’ sixth and likely final wide receiver to make the final roster. Already known for his prowess as a special teams ace, Wallace has reportedly been having a strong camp as a pass-catcher as well. He was able to translate that into live reps in the preseason opener, where he made a great adjustment to haul in a touchdown pass. Another standout performance would further separate him from his top competition.

OLB Malik Hamm

The undrafted rookie had quite the impressive homecoming in his first game as a Raven. He recorded a pair of tackles and a sack, where he used an excellent spin move to get inside leverage on the Eagles’ right tackle on his way to take down the quarterback.

Hamm followed it up with a strong showing in joint practices with the Commanders. A video clip of him bull-rushing his way through a Washington offensive lineman quickly went viral on Ravens Twitter. Despite the addition of three-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney, another standout performance could go a long way toward making the team consider carrying six edge defenders this year.

WR Laquon Treadwell

NFL: AUG 12 Preseason - Eagles at Ravens Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The former first-round pick is competing with Wallace for the sixth wide receiver spot on the roster. Even though he had just one catch in the preseason opener, his best play came on special teams, where he made a tackle on the opening kickoff of the game. He’ll need more plays like that and some impressive receiving production to leapfrog Wallace.

QB Anthony Brown

Philadelphia Eagles v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The second-year pro is a longshot to unseat Huntley as the primary backup. With a strong outing against the Commanders on Monday, he could start building a case, at least for practice squad consideration over Johnson. Parameters allow for veterans to be signed to the expanded reserves list.

Harbaugh told reporters on Saturday that he plans on having both Brown and Johnson play an entire half each this week. Should Brown check in during the second half, he’ll be in a more favorable situation going up against third and fourth stringers, while Johnson would be playing against starters and primary backups in the first half.

CB Kyu Blu Kelly

The fifth-round rookie only saw the field for 17 defensive snaps last week but was still able to record a tackle and pass breakup. Hopefully, he can see action earlier against the Commanders and play more snaps overall. A strong performance could vault him into the conversation to be a primary backup cornerback — a position that is currently ailing in terms of the health of established and projected starters.

WR Sean Ryan

Philadelphia Eagles v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The undrafted rookie free agent finished as the Ravens leading receiver in the opener with 37 yards on four receptions. He would’ve had even more production had a 14-yard catch not been nullified. He’s had a nice training camp overall thus far and reportedly made an incredible catch in Saturday’s practice, where he sustained an injury. If he plays on Monday night, another impressive game would help his chances of being a prime practice squad candidate or perhaps even get picked up by a receiver-needy team after final cuts.

DB Brandon Stephens

NFL: AUG 12 Preseason - Eagles at Ravens Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The third-year pro had an up-and-down game against the Eagles. While Stephens both made and gave up some plays, the one constant was him being in the right position to contest the catch. Stephens is in contention for both a starting outside corner spot and the starting nickel spot. He could fill the hybrid role that 2022 first-rounder Kyle Hamilton played as a rookie last year.

Consistency is the key to him elevating himself and earning the trust of the coaches to have a larger role on defense. Stephens is also a strong special teams presence as well, which will always increase his chances of seeing the field on defense when he shines there as well.

DB Daryl Worley

NFL: AUG 12 Preseason - Eagles at Ravens Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The nine-year veteran had a fantastic game in the opener from his new safety spot and finished with four total tackles and a pair of sacks. Worley has looked good in his conversion from corner and plays with the physicality that the Ravens love from their second and third-level defenders. He is also a strong special teams player which, coupled with his ability to play both safety and cornerback, makes him a valuable depth piece. Worley could carve out a regular role on defense with more standout preseason performances.

If they play:

CB Jalyn Armour-Davis

The second-year pro returned to practice this past week, albeit on a limited basis, and reportedly didn’t finish Saturday’s practice. If Armour-Davis does play Monday night, it would be good to see him in action. He’s also competing for one of the starting outside corner spots and only played in four games as a rookie.

CB Ronald Darby

While Harbaugh said that starters and established aren’t likely to see any preseason action, the Ravens might want to give Darby some snaps given that he is coming off shortened 2022 season and torn ACL. Since the nine-year veteran officially signed with the team after joint practices with the Commanders, having him play a handful of snaps against one of his former teams might do good in terms of knocking some rust off.

WR Zay Flowers

Even though the first-rounder rookie only recorded one touch for a one-yard gain in his preseason debut, Flowers was arguably the team’s most impressive wideout. He drew a pair of flags on their first scoring drive and threw a nice block on a run play. He followed it up with a dominant showing in joint practices, as well. The team might have seen enough of Flowers against the Commanders that they don’t want to risk putting him on the field in a non-controlled, exhibition environment.