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Ravens News 8/30: Roster Breakdowns and more

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

Breaking down the Ravens’ initial 53-man roster

Jonas Shaffer & Kris Rhim, The Baltimore Banner

Wide receiver (6): Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Devin Duvernay, Nelson Agholor, Tylan Wallace

The position has been one of the Ravens’ biggest weaknesses since Jackson became a starter in 2018. With Beckham, Flowers and Agholor joining the group and Bateman returning, the Ravens, on paper, have a group that should help make the offense dynamic and life easier for Jackson.

Interior offensive line (5): John Simpson, Tyler Linderbaum, Kevin Zeitler, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Ben Cleveland

Linderbaum is the star of this group. Heading into his second season, he’s expected to become one of the best at his position. Last season, according to ESPN, he was the NFL’s best run blocker as a rookie. And the Ravens don’t need to worry much about right guard Kevin Zeitler, who has been more than formidable.

The questions for this group are at left guard. Harbaugh named Simpson the starter after he won a training camp battle against Aumave-Laulu. But Aumavae-Laulu struggled mightily in the preseason, and that might cause concern for the Ravens if Simpson gets hurt. Cleveland, who was expected to be in the mix for the left guard job but fell out of the competition, could see time there if injuries arise

Breaking Down The Ravens’ Initial 53-Man Roster

Bo Smolka, PressBox

DEFENSIVE LINE (4): Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington, Michael Pierce, Travis Jones

On the surface, veteran Brent Urban would seem to be a surprise cut, but the veteran defensive end isn’t going anywhere. The vested veteran probably made a handshake agreement with the team that he will be re-signed as soon as the procedural hurdles involving short-term IR take place.

The Ravens often break camp with six defensive linemen, but that’s a luxury that they can’t afford this year, so Angelo Blackson is among those who land on the wrong side of the roster bubble. The Ravens will fortify this group on the practice squad.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5): Odafe Oweh, Jadeveon Clowney, David Ojabo, Tavius Robinson, Malik Hamm

Tyus Bowser will begin the season on the Non-Football Injury list as he continues to rehab his injured knee, so he does not count against the 53-man roster initially but cannot return to action until Week 5 at the earliest.

The surprise here is the inclusion of Hamm, the undrafted rookie from Baltimore (City College) who played collegiately at Lafayette. Hamm has been sidelined for the past week by an injury and is a candidate for short-term IR, which would give the Ravens a rotation of four linebackers led by Oweh, Clowney and Ojabo, who had a quiet summer.

10 Takeaways From Ravens’ Initial 53-Man Roster

Ryan Mink,

The Ravens released rookie fifth-round pick Kyu Kelly, opting instead for veteran slot option Arthur Maulet. Maulet can provide more help in the slot, where the Ravens don’t have as much depth.

Tylan Wallace won the competition for the sixth wide receiver spot, beating out a crowded and talented field as he improved as a receiver, evidenced by two preseason touchdowns, and is a strong special teams player.

The Ravens kept five inside linebackers, with veteran Del’Shawn Phillips taking the final spot. He beat out fellow special teams contributors Kristian Welch and Josh Ross.

Cornerback Kevon Seymour and defensive end Brent Urban were both released, but both could be re-signed to the Ravens’ 53-man roster soon (after cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams goes to injured reserve) or could go to the practice squad and be called up. Both could be playing Week 1 against the Houston Texans. For now, the Ravens have just four defensive linemen on the 53-man roster with Urban, Angelo Blackson, and Rayshad Nichols all released.

Running back Melvin Gordon III finished last season on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad and is eligible to have the same role with the Ravens, though undrafted rookie Owen Wright could also land on the P-squad.

Ravens 2023 season preview: With big bets on Lamar Jackson, Odell Beckham Jr. and revamped offense, it’s Super Bowl or bust

Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun

In all, the Ravens’ total cash layout of $303,215,795 this season is third-most in the NFL, according to Over The Cap, behind only the New York Jets, who signed Aaron Rodgers to a three-year deal worth $112.5 million after acquiring the future Hall of Famer in a trade, and the Cleveland Browns, who signed quarterback Deshaun Watson to a five-year, $230 million contract last year. When it comes to offensive spending, Baltimore’s $184,661,778 is tops in the league for what is believed to be the first time in the organization’s history.

“Lamar joked a few years ago that ‘EDC’ stands for ‘every dollar counts,’ and that is how I think about it because every dollar does count this year, and we need every dollar we can because we’ve spent,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in May. “We spent a lot of money, and we do it every year because we want to win.”

But given the Ravens’ spending and just two playoff wins since their last Super Bowl title in the 2012 season, the expectation is a championship. To get there, Baltimore, already with one of the best defenses in the NFL, is betting big on the addition of a few new offensive players, an overhauled scheme under new coordinator Todd Monken and, of course, Jackson, who will be asked to run less, throw more and be the leader of a more dynamic spread attack.

2023 NFL season: Projecting win share leaders on offense (quarterbacks + non-QBs) and defense

Cynthia Frelund,

5. Lamar Jackson


My models really like the pairing of Jackson with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. My models also like the catch-and-run potential of the pass catchers on Baltimore’s offense. That said, my models do have some questions about the Ravens’ defense, which means controlling the game on the offensive side of the ball becomes even more crucial in the very difficult AFC North. The volatility in Baltimore’s outcomes is higher than any other team in 2023 — the season could go really well, or it could be tough sledding. My models like the risk, though. And Baltimore was an extremely volatile projection for my models back in 2019, when Jackson went on to become just the second unanimous MVP in league history.