The weekend provided our first look at the 2021 draft class and undrafted free agents in Ravens uniforms as rookie minicamp took place in Owings Mills.
Though head coach John Harbaugh stressed the minicamp being more of a “teaching” forum with on-field numbers so low and players learning how to practice at the NFL level, we’ve now reached the point in the offseason where we have a strong idea of what the 2021 Ravens will look like. There’s always some movement on the back end of the roster and still the possibility of a veteran addition or two, of course, but player evaluation is already underway as Baltimore aims to advance to the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
The numbers in parentheses indicate how many players are currently on the roster at that position as the Ravens concluded the weekend with 89 players on the 90-man roster, leaving open the potential of signing one of the tryout players from rookie camp. As we move into the summer and the preseason, I’ll provide updated looks as well as projections of who’s in and who’s out on the 53-man roster.
QUARTERBACKS (4): Lamar Jackson, Trace McSorley, Tyler Huntley, Kenji Bahar
Rookie minicamp observation: Whether it’s the Calvert Hall product Bahar — who was the only quarterback at rookie minicamp — or another signing in the coming weeks, a fourth quarterback serving as a camp arm would be fairly typical while McSorley and Huntley compete for the primary backup job behind Jackson.
RUNNING BACKS (5): J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Ty’Son Williams, Nate McCrary
Rookie minicamp observation: The Ravens kept four tailbacks on the roster last year and Edwards is scheduled to become a free agent after 2021, so there could be a competition for a spot between Williams and McCrary with the latter putting up big numbers over three seasons at Division II Saginaw Valley State.
WIDE RECEIVERS (11): Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace, James Proche, Jaylon Moore, Deon Cain, Binjimen Victor, Donte Sylencieux
Rookie minicamp observation: Bateman and Wallace both flashed their abilities this weekend, but what really stood out watching the position group was the attention to detail and hands-on approach from new assistants Tee Martin and Keith Williams, who have a chance to make a major impact with such a young collection of wide receivers.
TIGHT ENDS & FULLBACKS (9): Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Patrick Ricard, Ben Mason, Eric Tomlinson, Josh Oliver, Eli Wolf, Jake Breeland, Tony Poljan
Rookie minicamp observation: A notable undrafted signing out of Oregon last year, Breeland still couldn’t take part in rookie camp as he continues recovering from a serious knee injury sustained in October of 2019, a concerning sign. Wolf, who also dealt with some injuries on the practice squad last year, made a few nice catches during rookie camp.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (14): Ronnie Stanley, Kevin Zeitler, Bradley Bozeman, Alejandro Villanueva, Ben Cleveland, Tyre Phillips, Patrick Mekari, Ben Powers, Ben Bredeson, Trystan Colon, Greg Mancz, Andre Smith, Adrian Ealy, Foster Sarell
Rookie minicamp observation: The massive Cleveland is regarded by many as the favorite to win the left guard job — with Bozeman shifting to center — but Ealy is a rookie free agent to watch with a 6-foot-6, 321-pound frame and two years of starting experience at Oklahoma, making him an interesting developmental prospect at right tackle.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (9): Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, Justin Madubuike, Justin Ellis, Broderick Washington, Aaron Crawford, Braxton Hoyett, Xavier Kelly
Rookie minicamp observation: The 6-foot-6, 306-pound Kelly was primarily a backup at Arkansas and Clemson, but it’s no secret that the Ravens lack long-term answers on the defensive line beyond 2021, leaving an opportunity for the youngsters in camp to push for a 53-man roster spot.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (7): Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison, L.J. Fort, Chris Board, Kristian Welch, Otaro Alaka, Barrington Wade
Rookie minicamp observation: Northwestern product Blake Gallagher turned some heads trying out at rookie camp, but the 6-foot, 224-pound linebacker ran only a 4.8 40-yard dash at his pro day and this position has no shortage of young options as it is for new inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (7): Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, Pernell McPhee, Jaylon Ferguson, Daelin Hayes, Aaron Adeoye, Chauncey Rivers
Rookie minicamp observation: All eyes are on Oweh’s development, but Hayes was disruptive and practiced with good awareness. Someone in this rotation will need to back up Bowser at the “Sam” linebacker spot and be able to drop into coverage, giving Hayes a path to playing time than you wouldn’t typically anticipate for a fifth-round rookie.
CORNERBACKS (10): Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett, Shaun Wade, Davontae Harris, Khalil Dorsey, Iman Marshall, Chris Westry
Rookie minicamp observation: With Humphrey being forced to move to slot corner after injuries to Young in each of the last two seasons, Wade should provide needed depth inside and could eventually become the nickel corner if Young doesn’t bounce back in his return from a torn ACL suffered early last season.
SAFETIES (8): Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott, Brandon Stephens, Anthony Levine, Jordan Richards, Geno Stone, Nigel Warrior, Ar’Darius Washington
Rookie minicamp observation: Stephens held up well at corner during rookie camp, but the third-round pick is expected to play more safety to give Baltimore a young depth option as Elliott enters the final year of his rookie deal. The undersized Washington, a high-profile rookie free agent, showed a nose for the ball with a couple breakups.
SPECIALISTS (5): Justin Tucker, Sam Koch, Nick Moore, Johnny Townsend, Brian Khoury
Rookie minicamp observation: Khoury was the only specialist at rookie camp and should have an opportunity to at least push Moore for the long snapper job previously held by ex-Raven Morgan Cox over the last decade. Both long snappers played in the XFL.