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Ravens’ Pre-Training Camp 53 Man Roster Prediction

With the offseason nearing the midway point, let’s look at the early roster predictions for the Baltimore Ravens. After a tumultuous 2021 season marred by injuries, Baltimore reloaded in the 2021 NFL Draft and on the free-agent front. General manager Eric DeCosta managed to add a few key pieces to round out the roster for the coming season. Down the stretch of the 2021 season, it became difficult to watch Baltimore field a team featuring players that would have trouble covering USFL wide receivers, let alone NFL wide receivers.

Second Wave Free Agents Added

Baltimore made initial splashes in the 2022 free agency period, much to the surprise of their fan base. Former New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams was signed to a five-year deal for $70 million to solidify the free safety position. Right tackle Morgan Moses signed with the organization to strengthen the right side of the offensive line. After losing Ronnie Stanley to injury, last year’s right tackle Alejandro Villanueva slid back to his natural left tackle position. Right tackle became a weekly wait-and-see approach. Patrick Mekari faired pretty well for playing out of position. Mekari played well enough to secure a three-year extension.

Longtime anchor of the defensive line, nose tackle Brandon Williams, was not re-signed after the 2021 season. After a decade in Baltimore by way of lucrative extension, the team decided to part ways with the fan-favorite defensive lineman. Williams played very well in his time as a Raven. Towards the end of his run, injuries and age began to show. Father Time slows down for no one. This led to Baltimore bringing nose tackle Michael Pierce back after a brief stint with the Minnesota Vikings.

Michael Pierce is a welcome addition to a defensive line in serious need of a youth movement. While Pierce is turning 30 this season, he missed the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns and missed 12 games in 2021. Pierce has not had much wear and tear on the body since his departure from Baltimore following the 2019 season. Sitting out the 2020 season was essentially a year of rest for the six-foot, 340 roadblock. Replacing Williams will be a challenge, one that will have assistant head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver licking his chops.

We all know how bad 2021 was to the Baltimore Ravens backfield. Every running back that suited up in 2020 was placed on Injured Reserve before taking a 2021 regular-season snap. With the exception of veteran Mark Ingram’s free agency exit, Baltimore had a completely different backfield due to injury. Starter JK Dobbins tore his ACL in a preseason game versus Washington. Gus Edwards tore his ACL in practice the same day as All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters. Scat back/special teams ace Justice Hill tore his Achilles.

Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray filled in admirably. Freeman showed flashes of pre-injury form. Murray showed his pure power as a north-south runner and was hot down the stretch of 2021. TySon Williams showed flashes of his abilities but never saw the field due to fumbling and pass protection issues.

During the 2022 NFL Draft, Eric DeCosta seemingly drafted Justice Hill’s replacement in the form of Tyler Badie from Missouri. Baltimore signed veteran power back Mike Davis from the Atlanta Falcons to add depth to the running back room. Davis, a brute standing five-foot-11 and upwards of 230 pounds, looks like a middle linebacker running the football. The perception of this signing is mixed. Some pundits believe he‘s a camp body, and some believe he’s depth on the 53-man roster. I believe he will be active in Week One. The health of JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards will be taken far more seriously this year. Mike Davis will make the team.

The Baltimore Ravens did a pretty good job replenishing the secondary. Incumbent starting free safety DeShon Elliott signed with the Detroit Lions. Cornerback Anthony Averett signed a one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. Backup cornerback Chris Westry left for the Carolina Panthers.

With All-Pro tandem cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters recovering from season-ending injuries, the cornerback group was thin. The team addressed this need when they drafted Jalyn Armour-Davis from Alabama and Damarion Williams from Houston in the fourth round. These picks came two days after Baltimore took Notre Dame free safety Kyle Hamilton with the fourteenth pick of the first round.

Baltimore decided to add depth to the secondary last week. A Baltimore-born and raised Mount St. Joseph graduate like myself, Kyler Fuller decided to return to his roots on a one-year deal. Fuller is a serviceable veteran in the secondary and will provide leadership to the younger players. He possesses a similar skill set to the likeness of Tavon Young.

The Baltimore Ravens went back to the former player well and inked versatile defensive lineman Brent Urban to a one-year contract. Urban, 31 years old, returns to Baltimore after playing in Chicago, Tennessee, and Dallas from 2019-2021. He won’t be a starter but will provide valuable depth behind Calais Campbell and Justin Madubuike. His versatility will mesh well with defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s system.

Predicting The 53

Predicting the complete 2022 Week One roster might seem a bit presumptuous. In fact, there are so many factors that go into the semblance of a roster that predicting the outcome on the first day of June might appear silly. But, I love playing out scenarios in my head and putting them in black and white. So here we are.

Offensively, the quarterback position is solidified. Just about everywhere else is questionable in terms of depth. Mark Andrews is the best tight end in football. His spot is secure. The only starting spot up for grabs is left guard along the offensive line. Let’s take a look at what the make-up of the 2022 Baltimore Ravens may look like.

  1. Quarterback: Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley(2)

  2. Running Back: JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Mike Davis, Tyler Badie (4)

  3. Fullback: Patrick Ricard (1)

  4. Wide Receiver: Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche, Tylan Wallace, Slade Bolden, Makai Polk (6)

  5. Tight End: Mark Andrews, Charlie Kolar, Isaiah Likely (3)

  6. OL: Ronnie Stanley, Patrick Mekari, Tyler Linderbaum, Kevin Zeitler, Morgan Moses, Trystan Colon, Ben Cleveland, Tyre Phillips, Daniel Faalele (9)

  7. DL: Calais Campbell, Michael Pierce, Justin Madubuike, Travis Jones, Brent Urban, Derek Wolfe (6)

  8. EDGE: Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, Daelin Hayes, Vince Biegel (5)

  9. ILB: Patrick Queen, Diego Fagot, Josh Bynes, Zacoby McClain (4)

  10. Corners: Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Kyle Fuller, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams (5)

  11. Safeties: Kyle Hamilton, Marcus Williams, Chuck Clark, Tony Jefferson, Brandon Stephens (5)

  12. Special Teams: Justin Tucker, Jordan Stout, Nick Moore (3)

Roster Omissions

At first glance, a few mainstays appear to be missing. In my opinion, the third-string running back/special teams ace Justice Hill doesn’t make the team. Tyler Badie is similar in size and skillset. Badie, in all actuality, was drafted to make Hill expendable. Staying on the offensive side of the ball, veteran tight end Nick Boyle is a noticeable omission. Even though Boyle restructured his contract to create a lower salary cap hit, do-it-all fullback Patrick Ricard showed that he can do everything Boyle can and more in the offense. Backup offensive guard Ben Powers carries a pretty heavy cap hit for a fourth guard with no experience at center or tackle. The versatility of Tyre Phillips and the potential of Ben Cleveland makes Powers a roster casualty.

On defense, I believe Baltimore keeps an extra defensive lineman on the 53-man roster. With the age of Calais Campbell coupled with the health concerns of Derek Wolfe, the Ravens carry six interior linemen to start the year. Baltimore placed the rarely used Unrestricted Free Agent tag on outside linebacker Justin Houston. I believe Houston comes back on a veteran minimum one-year deal once rookie EDGE David Ojabo is placed on the PUP list to start the year as he rehabs a torn Achilles.

Inside linebackers Chris Board and Kristin Welch, will be replaced by rookie undrafted free agents Diego Fagot and Zacoby McClain. Both undrafted free agents will be contributors on special teams at a much lower price. Veteran linebacker Vince Biegel makes the roster due to his versatility in playing both inside and outside and special teams.

Overreactions Not Necessary

It is still extremely early to reasonably predict the Week One roster of any football team. Surprise camp cuts and out-of-nowhere trades always cause temporary chaos in the dog days of summer. While it is unlikely that Baltimore will make a big splash before the season, mainly due to cap space, it wouldn’t surprise me if they add a veteran wide receiver to compete with the youngsters for a spot. With a handful of our star players recovering from season-ending injuries and our draft class/free agent class filling holes, expect Baltimore to return to form and be a force in the AFC this season.

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