On one of the biggest stretches of days on the NFL calendar, the Ravens faced the task of cutting a roster from nearly 90 players to 53.
As of 4 p.m. on Saturday, they accomplished that, as the roster was trimmed to 53 players. And, as of Saturday night, the 2019 version of the Ravens is in order.
A few roster hopefuls like Trace McSorley, Jaleel Scott and Otaro Alaka made the team and a few, like running back Kenneth Dixon, were surprise IR entries.
Here are a few things that stood out about the Ravens original 53-man roster:
1. Lamar Jackson and the offense has a bevy of weapons.
The Ravens kept 24 players on the offensive side of the ball (25 if Patrick Ricard is included), but gave Jackson and the offense three running backs and six receivers.
On the skill depth chart, of the nine running backs and wide receivers, three of them (Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill) are rookies. The weapons will mostly be young, especially as Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews enter their second seasons in Baltimore.
Jaleel Scott’s standout preseason was enough to lock down a roster spot, too, as the team decided it was worth it to keep him over an extra defensive lineman or linebacker.
To backup Jackson, roster hopeful Trace McSorley made the team and will likely play special teams to help out the rest of the team. McSorley, a sixth-round pick out of Penn State, finished the preseason 51-of-90 for 533 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Griffin, expected to be recovered from a right thumb injury in time for the season opener in Miami, will back-up Jackson.
Brown, Boykin and Willie Snead are expected to be the top three receivers in the offense with Mark Andrews expected to grow with Jackson in year two.
2. Tricky IR Situation
The NFL has a few tricky rules surrounding injuries in training camp. The Ravens are working around that.
In order to be eligible to be on the Injured Reserve and also eligible to return that season, a player must be on the original 53-man roster at the start of the season.
As reported by Jeff Zrebiec, Iman Marshall — who made the 53-man roster — is expected to be placed on the IR on Sunday. That would make him, a fourth round rookie out of USC, eligible to return this season. Brynden Trawick is expected to be re-signed after being cut on Saturday.
Expectation is that the Ravens will re-sign special teams standout Brynden Trawick either tomorrow or Monday. As a vested vet, he doesn't have to clear waivers. He'd like to be back and Ravens have interest in bringing him back.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) August 31, 2019
The Ravens also put running back Kenneth Dixon, offensive lineman Randin Crecelius, defensive backs Tavon Young and Fish Smithson and linebacker Alvin Jones on IR. Meaning, all of their seasons are over.
Young was one of the players where it was suggested he could have made the original 53-man roster, so he could potentially return this season. But his neck injury proved too serious as he and the team opted for surgery, ending his season.
3. Bodies on the offensive line
With the trade of Jermaine Eluemunor and IR designation of Crecelius, the Ravens opted to keep depth on the offensive line. On the original 53-man roster, the Ravens have nine linemen.
Two of the players talked about to be on the bubble, Patrick Mekari and Greg Senat, both made the team. Mekari is an interior lineman and Senat is a tackle.
Ben Powers started the fourth preseason game and played a significant number of snaps at left guard against the Redskins last Thursday. He figures to be one of the few players in contention to start at left guard. The others are Mekari, James Hurst and Bradley Bozeman.
With 35-year old Marshal Yanda out all preseason, too, the Ravens opted to keep depth up front. Now, this doesn’t have to be permanent — once the Ravens find a few interior linemen they’re pleased with, or there’s an injury, they can part ways with one of the extra and add spots elsewhere on the roster.
4. Lack of bodies on the defensive line, numbers elsewhere
One of the places they could add a roster spot is on the defensive line, a position where they’re hanging onto only five defensive linemen. While Pernell McPhee and Jaylon Ferguson could play the five-technique with their hands in the dirt to get rushes on the inside, the Ravens have a little more versatility than the five-man unit would suggest.
Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce and Chris Wormley figure to be the mainstays on a unit that should be able to hold its own.
And one of the positions where the defensive line could’ve been bolstered in numbers was at the inside linebacker position, where the Ravens decided to keep four in Kenny Young, Patrick Onwuasor, Chris Board and Otaro Alaka.
In the secondary, the Ravens were put in a bit of a bind with Young’s season-ending neck injury. They decided to keep 12 defensive backs as a result, especially as they work through finding a suitable slot cornerback.
The Ravens secondary is, however, likely the deepest part of the roster. Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson will patrol the secondary at both safety spots, while Brandon Carr, Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey will be the team’s starting three cornerbacks. Cyrus Jones is expected to see reps at the slot cornerback, too.
Ravens original 53-man roster:
QBs (3): Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley)
RBs (3): Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill
WRs (1): Chris Moore, Seth Roberts, Jaleel Scott, Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead IV
TEs (3): Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, Mark Andrews
OL (9): Greg Senat, Patrick Mekari, Matt Skura, Ben Powers, Marshal Yanda, James Hurst, Bradley Bozeman, Orlando Brown Jr., Ronnie Stanley
DL (5): Patrick Ricard, Chris Wormley, Daylon Mack, Michael Pierce, Brandon WIlliams
LBs (9): Kenny Young, Jaylon Ferguson, Patrick Onwuasor, Chris Board, Otaro Alaka, Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, Pernell McPhee, Matthew Judon
DBs (12): Jimmy Smith, Tony Jefferson, Brandon Carr, Cyrus Jones, Justin Bethel, Earl Thomas III, DeShon Elliott, Anthony Averett, Chuck Clark, Iman Marshall, Anthony Levine Sr., Marlon Humphrey.
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