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Sizing up the 2024 Ravens roster following mandatory minicamp

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The 2024 Ravens’ roster is far from complete.

At this point a year ago, key 2023 contributors Arthur Maulet, Jadeveon Clowney, and Kyle Van Noy were still weeks — or months — away from being signed, so any current roster questions or concerns could still be addressed before the Sept. 5 opener in Kansas City.

This exercise will carry more meaning when we get to the preseason schedule in August, so this look at the roster is based more on track record, contract status, draft standing, and positional need rather than making too much of snapshot observations from a handful of non-contact spring workouts. I currently see 46 players comfortably on the 53-man roster, leaving seven spots to fill. We’ll get a better idea of where players stand beginning with the rep distribution in training camp and continuing with playing time in the preseason games. Not all bubble players are on equal footing, of course, with certain position groups lacking established depth and others having so much talent that the numbers game could squeeze out someone deserving of a roster spot.

Though general manager Eric DeCosta, head coach John Harbaugh, and the rest of the staff and front office are cognizant of the numbers at each position, trying to arbitrarily pick a certain number of wide receivers or safeties isn’t the most accurate way of filling out a 53-man roster. The Ravens always value reserves who excel on special teams, so they’ll look carefully at players’ other attributes in addition to what they bring to their individual position groups when filling the back of the roster. And how the new kickoff rule impacts the makeup of special-teams players will be something worth monitoring.

The numbers in parentheses indicate how many players are currently on the 90-man roster — which actually stands at 91 with David Ojabo carrying an exemption as an international player — at each position. As we move into training camp and the preseason schedule, I’ll provide updated looks that include 53-man roster projections of who’s in and who’s out.

QUARTERBACKS (4)
IN: Lamar Jackson, Josh Johnson
BUBBLE: Devin Leary
LONG SHOT: Emory Jones
Skinny: The question here is whether Leary, a sixth-round rookie, plays well enough in the preseason to prompt Baltimore to keep him on the active roster and not risk losing him on waivers. Teams no longer need to carry their No. 3 emergency quarterback on the 53-man squad, so Leary making it to the practice squad would be the most efficient outcome from a roster-building standpoint. That said, you don’t want to lose your potential backup of the future if he shows enough this summer.

RUNNING BACKS (6)
IN: Derrick Henry, Justice Hill, Rasheen Ali
BUBBLE: none
LONG SHOT: Owen Wright, Chris Collier
PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM LIST: Keaton Mitchell
Skinny: You typically wouldn’t regard a fifth-round rookie as a roster lock, but the Ravens need a No. 3 running back to emerge with Mitchell sidelined until after the start of the regular season. Ali looks like the clear favorite ahead of Wright, but adding another veteran to this mix could alter the conversation and put more pressure on Ali to earn his spot.

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WIDE RECEIVERS (12)
IN: Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, Devontez Walker, Tylan Wallace
BUBBLE: Deonte Harty, Malik Cunningham
LONG SHOT: Sean Ryan, Dayton Wade, Tayvion Robinson, Isaiah Washington, Qadir Ismail
Skinny: Given his all-around presence on special teams and ability to pitch in as a returner, Wallace is likely safe even as he enters the final year of his contract. Harty will need to earn a job as a return specialist after missing spring workouts. Cunningham’s transition from quarterback to wide receiver will be an interesting story to monitor after he flashed some promise in the spring.

TIGHT ENDS & FULLBACKS (7)
IN: Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, Charlie Kolar, Patrick Ricard
BUBBLE: none
LONG SHOT: Scotty Washington, Riley Sharp, Mike Rigerman
Skinny: Ricard’s future felt uncertain at this point last year, but his strong play as an in-line blocking tight end extended his shelf life in Todd Monken’s offense that doesn’t feature as much fullback usage. Kolar’s path to offensive playing time behind Andrews and Likely is daunting, but he’s far ahead of the long shots at the position.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (16)
IN: Tyler Linderbaum, Ronnie Stanley, Roger Rosengarten, Andrew Vorhees, Patrick Mekari, Josh Jones, Daniel Faalele, Ben Cleveland
BUBBLE: Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Nick Samac
LONG SHOT: TyKeem Doss, Tashawn Manning, Julian Pearl, Corey Bullock, Darrian Dalcourt, Darrell Simpson
Skinny: Figuring out what the starting group will look like come September is another conversation, but you at least expect the candidates to make the 53-man roster. Aumavae-Laulu, a 2023 sixth-round pick, must show marked growth from last summer when he went from being a starting candidate at left guard to not seeing a single regular-season snap as a rookie. There’s a clear path for Samac to win the backup center job, but he remained limited in spring workouts and isn’t a roster lock as a seventh-round pick.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)
IN: Michael Pierce, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones, Brent Urban
BUBBLE: Josh Tupou, Deadrin Senat
LONG SHOT: Rayshad Nichols, C.J. Ravenell, Tramel Walthour
Skinny: Short of an injury or two, it’s challenging to find a roster spot for even Tupou or Senat, who both carry ample NFL experience. Nichols has spent the last two seasons on Baltimore’s practice squad, but he was sidelined during spring workouts with an undisclosed injury, which didn’t improve his chances of cracking the 53-man roster.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (6)
IN: Roquan Smith, Trenton Simpson, Chris Board
BUBBLE: Josh Ross, Yvandy Rigby
LONG SHOT: Deion Jennings
Skinny: Given his special-teams ability and previous experience playing in this defense, the 29-year-old Board looks safe as a returning insurance policy backing up the 23-year-old Simpson, who will be replacing former Pro Bowl starter Patrick Queen. But the Ravens still need at least one more useful depth piece to emerge as a special-teams contributor with Ross and Rigby — the latter being an undrafted rookie signing to watch — among the bubble names. The versatile Malik Harrison also factors into this group despite playing more strong-side outside linebacker the last two seasons.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (8)
IN: Odafe Oweh, Kyle Van Noy, Malik Harrison, Adisa Isaac, Tavius Robinson, David Ojabo
BUBBLE: Malik Hamm
LONG SHOT: Joe Evans
Skinny: The competition for meaningful rotation snaps behind Oweh and Van Noy is wide open, but this is an unproven group headlined by Ojabo, the 2022 second-round pick who’s played in just five career games because of injuries. Though one could make an argument for any of the aforementioned names to emerge, DeCosta may find himself pondering a late signing like he did with great success last year. Replacing Clowney’s production is key to Baltimore not suffering too much of a drop-off on the edge.

CORNERBACKS (11)
IN: Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Stephens, Nate Wiggins, Arthur Maulet, T.J. Tampa
BUBBLE: Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams, Ka’dar Hollman
LONG SHOT: Trayvon Mullen, Christian Matthew, Bump Cooper Jr.
Skinny: The additions of Wiggins and Tampa in April’s draft provided quite the lift on paper for a group lacking depth behind Humphrey and Stephens, who are entering a critical 2024 in regards to their respective futures in Baltimore. If he can stay healthy, Armour-Davis likely remains too talented an outside option to give up on, but Williams is vying for a job on a roster with plenty of slot corner options. If you’re looking for a sleeper in the same special-teams vein as a Kevon Seymour or Daryl Worley, Hollman quietly had a rock-solid spring.

SAFETIES (7)
IN: Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton
BUBBLE: Ar’Darius Washington, Sanoussi Kane, Tre Swilling, Beau Brade, Jordan Toles
LONG SHOT: none
Skinny: Listing five safeties on the bubble is much more a product of circumstance than merit with no clear candidate to replace Geno Stone in the important No. 3 safety role. Though Washington has been with the organization since 2021, he mostly worked as a nickel corner in the past. Kane is a seventh-round rookie who projects more as a box safety while Brade and Toles are undrafted rookies. Other than an injured Brade, these individuals all had their moments this spring, but you’d expect DeCosta to add a veteran to the mix, especially with a number of experienced safeties still on the open market.

SPECIALISTS (4)
IN: Justin Tucker, Jordan Stout, Nick Moore
BUBBLE: none
LONG SHOT: Randen Plattner
Skinny: Moore appears to be fully recovered from the torn Achilles tendon he suffered last summer, so Plattner wouldn’t expect to be a threat to his job. There’s nothing to discuss here otherwise.

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