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Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

3 things we learned from Baltimore Ravens’ initial 53-man roster cuts

Gordon McGuinness, PFF


Fifth-round draft pick Kyu Blu Kelly was part of the roster cut-down, showing that the team is not scared to release players after spending draft capital on them. Kelly had his best game of the preseason in the Ravens’ finale against the Buccaneers, but his struggles when playing against starters in the three games saw him earn just a 59.2 PFF coverage grade on 77 coverage snaps this August. It’s also a sign of how many cornerbacks the Ravens have, and while they will hope to add him to the practice squad, they were content enough to risk another team picking him up.

This means that Arthur Maulet, who didn’t feature in the preseason for the team due to injury, has made the roster for now. The Ravens could also look to the market for insurance, with Bradley Roby a potential option. Choosing Maulet over Kelly highlights that Baltimore is weakest in the slot, with limited depth behind Ar’Darius Washington.

Analyzing the Ravens’ roster and what’s next: Surprises, concerns and likely re-signings

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

DeCosta, however, is not done. He’ll start assembling the team’s 16-man practice squad Wednesday afternoon. That group will mostly be composed of players the team let go this week. The Ravens have a few players who look headed for injured reserve, and waiting until after 4 p.m. Wednesday to put them there will preserve their ability to return to action after missing the first four games this season. A couple of players who the Ravens released Tuesday will likely take their place.

Mitchell (shoulder) and Hamm (ankle) were hurt in the second preseason game against the Washington Commanders. They’re expected to miss time, and both will likely be placed on injured reserve, along with second-year cornerback Damarion Williams, as early as Wednesday evening. By including them on the initial 53-man roster, Mitchell, Hamm and Williams can return to action no earlier than Week 5.

Assuming they all go on IR, the Ravens will open up three roster spots for players who will be ready to play in Week 1.

The top candidates to fill those roster spots were let go Tuesday, but they probably won’t leave town. Seymour, one of the team’s better special teams players who played extremely well at cornerback this summer, is expected to be brought back. So, too, is Urban, the popular rotational defensive lineman who will provide experience and depth for a thin position group at the moment. And the third spot could go to Johnson, the journeyman quarterback who will likely extend his third stint with the Ravens. With Tyler Huntley sidelined for the past couple of weeks with a hamstring strain, Johnson is a good bet to serve as Lamar Jackson’s top backup in Week 1.

Ravens 2023 season preview: Defense counting on young pass rushers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo to turn potential into production

Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

Ojabo recalled his first conversation with Smith: “He said he was here to help me and Odafe grow, and he said it’s a partnership, not a dictatorship, meaning we’re here to better each other, trade ideas back and forth and build each other up. … It’s been a couple months now, but it feels like we’ve known each other for years.”

Coaches found much to build on when they reviewed his season. “We’re putting together the teach tapes and things, and Chuck is watching them, and we’re saying, ‘Hey, man, this guy is doing a lot of good stuff for us,’” defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said. “And does that show up on the stats sheet? It may not. Maybe not. But the guy rushed outside; he rushed inside. I thought he really caught his stride at the end of the year. And the sacks, I just really believe they’ll come.”

Smith’s work doesn’t stop with Oweh and Ojabo. If the Ravens are to generate sufficient pass-rush production, they will need inside push from Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Broderick Washington and Travis Jones, all of whom have apprenticed to Smith.

Pierce described the outside linebackers coach as a “godsend.”

Smith said Madubuike, especially, fits into a generation of young interior pass rushers who have followed the path laid out by stars such as Donald and Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs. He said the 25-year-old defensive tackle has “incredible upside.”

Projecting the Best and Worst NFL Defenses in 2023

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer

9. Baltimore Ravens

I had the Ravens in my top five until cornerback Marlon Humphrey went down with a foot injury that will require surgery. If Humphrey returns early in the season and looks like himself, I really like this defense. If he doesn’t, I have concerns.

Trading for linebacker Roquan Smith made a big difference for the Ravens last season. They had Smith for a 10-game stretch (playoffs included) starting in Week 9. During that period, the Ravens ranked third in defensive DVOA.

Marcus Williams is a reliable veteran safety, and defensive back Kyle Hamilton showed off his versatility playing the slot during a promising rookie season. Hamilton could be a breakout star in 2023.

What are the concerns? The Ravens’ pass rush is unproven. They added Jadeveon Clowney but still need young edge defenders like Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo to be impact players. And without Humphrey, corner is a big question. Even with Humphrey, it’s not a deep group.

I trust the infrastructure here with head coach John Harbaugh, and I liked what I saw from defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald last season. I’m bullish on the young Ravens players’ up-front development and the quality of this defense, but given the questions at premium positions, I can’t put them any higher.

2023 preseason All-AFC North Team: Joe Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase duo tough to beat, Ravens well-represented

Jared Dubin, CBS Sports

Offensive line

OT: Ronnie Stanley (BAL), Jack Conklin (CLE)

G: Joel Bitonio (CLE), Kevin Zeitler (BAL)

C: Tyler Linderbaum (BAL)

After playing just seven combined games across the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to knee injuries, Stanley returned to play in 11 contests last year, and checked in as Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 pass-blocking tackle among the 103 that played at least 100 snaps. In other words, he returned to the type of play he’d reached earlier in his career.

Zeitler keps bouncing around the league and putting together quality seasons. He did it in Cincinnati and Cleveland and New York and has done it for the past two years in Baltimore. He’s 33 years old now but plenty of guards have played at a high level deep into their 30s.

Linderbaum, meanwhile, had a solid rookie season and should only improve with more experience. If he can improve his anchor in the passing game (which could prove difficult at his size), he can perhaps reach the same level as he’s already achieved in the run game.