Breaking Down The Ravens' 53-Man RosterPosted on September 01, 2014 by Phil Gentile
QUARTERBACK — Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
Flacco has never missed a game but if he does I have zero confidence in Tyrod Taylor. Wish the team would bring in a veteran backup that can actually run this offense if needed. I can see rookie Keith Wenning getting stashed on the practice squad. The entire team could play well this season but if Flacco has a repeat of his 2013 campaign it won't matter. He is the key to the Ravens success in 2014.
RUNNING BACK — Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Forsett
As Ravens fans we are accustomed to watching a dominant running game, which is why last season's struggles was so shocking. While I think the running game will be better with an improved offensive line and Ray Rice seemingly healthy it's no guarantee.Bernard Pierce finished the preseason with a respectable 4.2 yards per carry average but it's Taliaferro who could be a breakout star this season if given the carries. Forsett will fill the Rice role while he's suspended and then I see him being let go.
SUSPENDED: Ray Rice (two games)
FULLBACK — Kyle Juszczyk
'Nuff said. Juice will be a nice weapon in Kubiak's offense. Let's just hope he can block when needed.
WIDE RECEIVER — Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro, Deonte Thompson, Kamar Aiken
One of the few position battles that I predicted correctly. Tons of talent here. Torrey Smith fills the Andre Johnson role in Kubiak's offense and should have a huge year. Steve Smith will make clutch catches ala Anquan Boldin. Jacoby is mainly around for special teams but he'll make a big play in the passing game from time to time. Marlon Brown and his eight redzone touchdowns last season takes a step back this year with Pitta healthy. Thompson is just depth and Campanaro is a project.
TIGHT END — Dennis Pitta, Owen Daniels, Crockett Gillmore
Now that Flacco has his thunder buddy back I'm projecting Pitta for 80-90 catches this season. We saw the numbers Owen Daniels put up in Houston and Pitta is far more talented. Speaking of Daniels, the "leg soreness" that he's dealing with scares me a bit, especially since the season hasn't even started yet. Crockett Gilmore could be a weapon in a year or two but right now he's more of a blocking option/special teams guy.
OFFENSIVE LINE — Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah, Marshal Yanda, Rick Wagner, Gino Gradkowski, John Urschel, Jah Reid, James Hurst
I'm worried about this unit being much better than last year. Osemele is healthy which helps and the acquistion of Zuttah is clearly an upgrade over Gradkowski. The real question mark is Rick Wagner, who was inconsistent in the preseason and gave up three sacks in the season opener last season vs. Broncos.
DEFENSIVE LINE — Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Tyson, Timmy Jernigan
This unit was looking like the deepest position on the roster before Kapron Lewis-Moore and Brent Urban were lost for the season. If intense workouts mean anything than Ngata is headed for a bounce back season. Brandon Williams was my favorite draft pick in recent memory and I think he is ready for a breakout season. Jernigan will get his opportunity eventually. This unit will need to be better at pressuring the quarterback, though, if they want to help out the lackluster secondary.
INJURED: Terrence Cody (placed on the reserve physically unable to perform list and can’t return until Week 7)
INSIDE LINEBACKER — Daryl Smith, C.J. Mosley, Arthur Brown, Albert McClellan, Josh Bynes, Zachary Orr
All the talk is about the young duo of C.J. Mosley and Arthur Brown but don't forget Daryl Smith led this team in tackles last season. Mosley, though, appears to be the real deal and will likely start over Brown. McClellan and Bynes have experience as starters over the past couple seasons and they should help in case they are called upon to contribute. I honestly know nothing about undrafted rookie Zachary Orr (except that he's an undrafted rookie apparently) but he must have shown some potential in training camp to get a roster spot over 2013 draft pick John Simon.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER — Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw, Pernell McPhee
Suggs and Dumervil combined for 19.5 sacks but only five total sacks over the final eight games of the season (and that includes a three sack performance from Dumervil in Week 10). For this team to be successful defensively they need to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and force turnovers. Upshaw is a beast against the run and McPhee is versatile enough to play a DE/OLB role.
CORNERBACK — Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson
Wow where do I start? Webb and Smith must both be 100% healthy or else this team would be carrying more than four cornerbacks. Still I think they should have found a nickel cornerback via trade during camp. This position is one injury away from being severely vulnerable to the pass happy offenses around the NFL. Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson have both shown flashes of potential but neither has done it consistently. Look for Sammy Seamster to get stashed on the practice squad as a guy who could be added to the roster if Webb's injury lingers into the regular season.
SAFETY — Matt Elam, Darian Stewart, Terrence Brooks, Jeromy Miles, Anthony Levine, Brynden Trawick
It's Matt Elam and some question marks. I think the former Florida Gator takes the next step this season to being one of the better safeties in the league. Veteran Darian Stewart appears to be the Week One starter but rookie Terrence Brooks was making some plays at the end of the preseason so maybe he is developing faster than expected. Miles, Levine, and Trawick sounds like like a law firm than football players. Look for them to fill in at cornerback as well if needed.
SUSPENDED: Will Hill (six games)
SPECIALISTS (3) — Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker
Justin Tucker is without question one of the best kickers in the league and a great dancer. Sam Koch is a fan favorite and the locker room's reigning cornhole champion. Morgan Cox is.....well he's a snapper. The Wolfpack is together for another season and we couldn't be happier.