Monday, November 30, 2020

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Taking a look at the 2014 Ravens roster prior to OTAs

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

With the NFL draft and rookie minicamp now in the rear-view mirror, the Ravens’ 90-man offseason roster has taken shape with a 2014 class of rookies and select veterans added to the mix over the last few months.
Baltimore will conduct its first of three weeks of organized team activity workouts next week before completing the offseason workout program with a mandatory three-day minicamp June 17 through June 19. Of course, the roster remains very fluid until the start of the regular season, but the Ravens now have a decent idea of the 90 players they’ll be bringing to training camp beginning in late July.
With that in mind, it’s time to take an early look at the 2014 roster, which includes plenty of mainstays as well as a number of newcomers head coach John Harbaugh hopes will make a difference in helping the Ravens rebound from their first non-playoff season of his tenure a year ago.
The numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of players currently on the roster at that given position. As we eventually move into the preseason, I’ll provide updated looks as well as actual projections of who’s in and who’s out during the different stages of the summer.
QUARTERBACKS (4)
Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Keith Wenning, Nick Stephens
Skinny: The sixth-round selection of the Ball State product Wenning signals that Taylor’s time is likely short as the backup quarterback in Baltimore.
Player to watch: Wenning throws an accurate deep ball and was on the Ravens’ radar as a developmental backup option throughout the pre-draft process.
Player to worry: Taylor will need to have a strong preseason to show other teams he can at least remain a viable backup option after his rookie contract expires at the end of the 2014 campaign.

RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS (7)
Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Forsett, Cierre Wood, Kyle Juszczyk, Shaun Chapas
Skinny: There are still too many unknowns to determine whether the Ravens wind up having one of the deepest backfields in football or continue to have major issues running the football for the second consecutive year.
Player to watch: Taliaferro is the prototypical one-cut runner the Ravens are looking for in Gary Kubiak’s system despite outside concerns about the fourth-round pick coming from an FCS program.
Player to worry: Pierce won’t be 100 percent from offseason shoulder surgery until training camp and put forth a worse yards per carry average than Rice despite most attention falling on the three-time Pro Bowl back last year.

WIDE RECEIVERS (12)
Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown, Deonte Thompson, Aaron Mellette, Michael Campanaro, LaQuan Williams, Gerrard Sheppard, Jace Davis, Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Butler
Skinny: If Steve Smith experiences a renaissance in his new surroundings, this can be one of the team’s most productive units, but that might be asking too much of a 35-year-old wide receiver.
Player to watch: Mellette spent the 2013 season on injured reserve with a knee injury, but the Ravens remain high on his future as an NFL receiver.
Player to worry: Thompson will struggle to make the 53-man roster after a disappointing 2013 season and an arrest earlier this offseason that certainly didn’t put him in the organization’s good graces.

TIGHT ENDS (5)
Dennis Pitta, Owen Daniels, Crockett Gillmore, Nathan Overbay, Phillip Supernaw
Skinny: With the third-round selection of the blocking-minded Gillmore, the Ravens have no concerns at the tight end position, which often thrives in Kubiak’s system.
Player to watch: Gillmore will see plenty of opportunities as a traditional tight end in the base offense, but the Ravens like his upside as a receiver as well.
Player to worry: Overbay was a late addition to the practice squad in 2013 but couldn’t have liked the Ravens signing Supernaw, a former Texans tight end.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (16)
Eugene Monroe, Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah, John Urschel, Gino Gradkowski, Jah Reid, A.Q. Shipley, Rick Wagner, Ryan Jensen, Will Rackley, James Hurst, Reggie Stephens, Parker Graham, David Mims, Brett Van Sloten
Skinny: Right tackle remains this unit’s biggest question mark, but Osemele returning as good as new from back surgery could be the X factor in determining how much the line improves from a disastrous 2013 season.
Player to watch: Wagner is currently projected to be the starting right tackle and the organization has more faith in him than most outsiders realize.
Player to worry: Reid has been a major disappointment as a 2011 third-round pick and could find himself off the roster by the end of the summer with the veteran Rackley being added to the mix at guard on Monday.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (13)
CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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