Baltimore Beatdown staff’s reactions to the Ravens initial 2023 roster:
Eric DeCosta has assembled his best roster to date, with talent and depth at the most vital positions and the playmaking personnel to overcome any game script.
The decision to expose fifth round rookie Kyu Kelly to waivers exhibits Baltimore’s win-now mindset and should bode well for them later this season. Keeping Ben Cleveland over Sam Mustipher as the ninth offensive lineman was also a wise decision considering the former’s positional versatility and possible upside. Furthermore, undrafted rookies Keaton Mitchell and Malik Hamm possess the upside ceiling worth developing. And DeCosta did not keep excess special teams only linebackers in response to the kickoff rule change. Shrewd decision making all around.
The Ravens will enter the season shorthanded in the pass defense phase with Marlon Humphrey and Tyus Bowser on the shelf. Nevertheless, this is a roster with the talent to peak late in the season and hopefully advance late in the postseason.
- Vasilis Lericos
I assumed there would be little excitement here as most knew where the Ravens would go. In the end, there’s a bit of surprise but nothing earth-shattering.
The Ravens move on from fifth-round rookie Kyu Kelly, opting instead to take veteran cornerback Arthur Maulet. The Ravens traditionally like to hang onto their rookies, but in recent years have shown they’re not concerned with moving on from them if need be. Kelly is the second cornerback to be moved from their 53-man roster, as cornerback Shaun Wade was another, being traded to the New England Patriots a few years ago.
Seeing Malik Hamm make the roster was another surprise, as many figured he’d be a practice squad candidate. But with Tyus Bowser being placed on NFI, maybe the Ravens see Hamm as more game-ready than fellow rookie Tavius Robinson. I expect to see defensive lineman Brent Urban and cornerback Kevon Seymour back on the roster after an injury move or two. It’s known the Ravens will place cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams on injured reserve, which will free up one spot.
Now it’s about whoever else is going on IR to make room for Seymour/Urban. Or, maybe they only want one on their 53 and opt to keep one on their practice squad.
- Kyle P. Barber
There aren’t any jaw-dropping takeaways from the final round of cuts although I am a little surprised that fifth-round rookie corner Kyu Kelly was among those waived since he is eligible to be claimed by another team and they spent one of their few picks in this year’s draft on him.
I shouldn’t be all that surprised that the Ravens are keeping five off-ball linebackers on the roster given the high value they place on special teams but since both Malik Harrison and Del’Shawn Phillips are coming off strong training camps and preseasons where they showed that they can also make plays on defense, it’s not that hard to understand their reasoning behind it. I couldn’t be more happier for local product Malik Hamm for making his hometown team’s final 53-man roster along with fellow undrafted rookie, running back Keaton Mitchell. Both players balled out in practice as well as in exhibition action and are well-deserving of roster spots.
I fully expect defensive end Brent Urban, cornerback Kevon Seymour and perhaps even defensive back Daryl Worley back on the team in the next day or two once the Ravens get some injury-related maneuvering figured out. Hopefully they’re able to bring veteran quarterback Josh Johnson and center Sam Mustipher back on the practice squad along with Kelly if he clears waivers, as well as former Maryland Terp Dontay Demus Jr.
- Joshua Reed
There are not too many surprises with how the initial 53-man roster turned out for the Ravens. Rookie cornerback Kyu Kelly is the exception in that regard. Reports were not favorable for the rookie out of Stanford throughout training camp and his play in the preseason was spotty. Baltimore has had a hard time finding quality cornerbacks through the draft in recent years, but hopefully Kelly can land on the practice squad and remain in the team’s future plans instead of ending up on another team.
As for other moves, it is hardly a secret that veteran defensive lineman Brent Urban will return to the active roster after the Ravens free up a spot following players going to injured reserve over the coming days. Cornerback Kevon Seymour is another pretty obvious reunion waiting to happen. The worst news to come from today was that outside linebacker Tyus Bowser was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, meaning he will miss at least the first four weeks of the season.
Keeping undrafted rookie running back Keaton Mitchell was a wise decision following his impressive preseason, given he fact that both running back J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards could be on their way out of Baltimore after this season. Mitchell surely would have been poached by another team if he had been released.
- Dustin Cox
The Ravens obviously feel good about either Huntley’s health or Josh Johnson returning via the practice squad. Ben Cleveland making it over Sam Mustipher made too much sense. While Mustipher played well, he’s a good practice squad candidate, Patrick Mekari can back up the tackle spots while Daniel Faalele plays the backup tackle role. Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu didn’t look great in a game action and shouldn’t be relied on as the main backup guard, hence keeping Cleveland who looked good in preseason.
Malik Hamm absolutely earned his roster spot, especially with Bowser going on NFI to start the season. Keeping Keaton Mitchell on as the fourth running back also was great decision. He looked electric in preseason and they have nobody signed for 2024 outside of Hill. Del’Shawn Phillips stuck as a massive special teamer for this year and Ar’Darius Washington finally cracks the initial roster, presumably as the starting nickel.
The biggest shock is the Ravens keeping Arthur Maulet over rookie Kyu Kelly. Maulet has hardly practiced and by no means is a hot commodity. Keeping him over a developmental rookie with a ceiling with the cornerback room struggling with health is puzzling. Maulet could have been cut and not subjected to waivers if they really wanted to have him on the roster.
- Zach Canter