With the preseason schedule half over, the sense of urgency for those on the roster bubble is ramping up. The Ravens must trim their 90-man roster to 75 players by Aug. 27, and then the final 53-man roster must be set by Aug. 31, two days after the last preseason game in St. Louis.
Of course, many of those 53 spots are already spoken for. Coach John Harbaugh likes to say there is competition for every spot, but this just in, Joe Flacco will make this team. So will Ray Rice. And Terrell Suggs. And Marshal Yanda. In fact, 40 or so roster spots are probably already set, which leaves about 50 players fighting for roughly a dozen spots.
In this series we are taking a closer look at some of those players on the roster bubble and assessing their chances of making the team. Yesterday, it was the linebackers. Links to bubble players on offense can be found here. Today, it’s the cornerbacks.
ON THE BUBBLE: CB Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony sweated out the final day of the draft this past spring, finally being selected by the Ravens late in the last round with the 247th pick overall. Anthony also figures to be sweating out the Ravens final cutdown day, as he rests firmly on the roster bubble.
Anthony has struggled in the two preseason games. He's made a few plays as well, but he's had coverage issues and whiffed badly on an open-field tackle in the preseason opener at Tampa Bay.
The Ravens will likely keep five or six cornerbacks, with the depth guys expected to contribute significantly on special teams. Lardarius Webb, Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith and Chykie Brown are locks to make the team. Asa Jackson faces an eight-game suspension to begin the season, which helps Anthony's chances, since Jackson will not count against the 53-man roster while suspended.
Anthony could be competing for a roster spot with Chris Johnson and undrafted rookie Moe Lee. Johnson (migraines) missed about a week of camp and did not play in the preseason opener at Atlanta. But Johnson is a 10-year veteran that the Ravens went out and signed midseason last year, then liked enough to re-sign this past offseason. Johnson, though, will turn 34 in September, and the Ravens spent this offseason trying to get younger.
The Ravens could keep six corners, but they are almost certain to keep two fullbacks in Vonta Leach and rookie Kyle Juszczyk, and that eats away one roster spot.
The Ravens are reluctant to cut their draft picks, but Anthony needs two more strong games to prove he deserves a spot. If he does squeak onto the roster, he'll be right back on the bubble when Asa Jackson's suspension ends midway through the season.
Projection: Practice squad