The first draft of the Ravens’ season-opening 53-man roster is in. But it’s far from final.
After paring down their 90-man roster over the past two days and parting with a handful of notable names Tuesday — wide receiver James Proche II, running back Melvin Gordon III — the Ravens are expected to solidify their roster with a handful of other moves this week. As players head to the injured reserve, new spots will open up.
With less than two weeks remaining before the Ravens’ season opener, here’s how their first 53-man roster breaks down.
Quarterbacks (2): Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley
Jackson has missed 10 games over the past two seasons because of injury, including last season’s playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. In that 24-17 loss, Huntley had the Ravens on the brink of an upset win, but fumbled the ball at the goal line. The Bengals returned it for the winning touchdown. So for the Ravens, having a good backup like Huntley, especially one with a similar playing style as Jackson and some experience, is paramount.
Huntley has nursed a hamstring injury since the Ravens’ first preseason game on Aug. 12, and his status for Week 1 is still unclear. Josh Johnson, who was released, shined during the preseason while Huntley was out and could prove to be a reliable backup until Huntley returns from injury.
Running back (4): J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Keaton Mitchell
With Dobbins leading this group, the biggest question he faces coming into this season surrounds his health. When Dobbins is healthy, he is among the best running backs in the NFL, but he has played in just 23 games over his first three seasons.
Mitchell was one of the stars of training camp. An undrafted rookie out of East Carolina, Mitchell flashed his speed throughout camp and then produced in games. Mitchell has also returned kickoffs, which likely gave him an edge over Melvin Gordon III, who was released.
Wide receiver (6): Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Devin Duvernay, Nelson Agholor, Tylan Wallace
The position has been one of the Ravens’ biggest weaknesses since Jackson became a starter in 2018. With Beckham, Flowers and Agholor joining the group and Bateman returning, the Ravens, on paper, have a group that should help make the offense dynamic and life easier for Jackson.
The biggest concern with this group is health. Beckham hasn’t played a full season since 2019, and Bateman has missed 17 games over his first two seasons. Flowers’ size (5 feet 9, 182 pounds) could also limit his durability, though he didn’t battle any injuries in college.
Tight end/fullback (4): Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, Charlie Kolar, Patrick Ricard
Andrews has been Jackson’s favorite target since he became a starter, and now he’ll have dynamic receivers surrounding him who should make getting open easier. Likely blossomed as a reliable pass catcher last year, but the biggest hurdle for the two co-stars was being effective when they were on the field together.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken led an explosive offense at Georgia that played to the strengths of his top two tight ends, Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington. If Monken can do that with Likely and Andrews, the Ravens’ offense will be even scarier.
Offensive tackle (4): Ronnie Stanley, Morgan Moses, Patrick Mekari, Daniel Faalele
As with the tight ends, this group could have been set in stone on the first day of camp. Health is another major concern here, though. Stanley has played in just 18 games over the past three seasons and is the anchor of this offensive line. At his peak, Stanley was the best left tackle in the NFL, named a first-team All-Pro in 2019. Moses came on strong down the stretch last season at right tackle, while Mekari and Faalele should provide good depth.
Interior offensive line (5): John Simpson, Tyler Linderbaum, Kevin Zeitler, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Ben Cleveland
Linderbaum is the star of this group. Heading into his second season, he’s expected to become one of the best at his position. Last season, according to ESPN, he was the NFL’s best run blocker as a rookie. And the Ravens don’t need to worry much about right guard Kevin Zeitler, who has been more than formidable.
The questions for this group are at left guard. Harbaugh named Simpson the starter after he won a training camp battle against Aumave-Laulu. But Aumavae-Laulu struggled mightily in the preseason, and that might cause concern for the Ravens if Simpson gets hurt. Cleveland, who was expected to be in the mix for the left guard job but fell out of the competition, could see time there if injuries arise.
Defensive line (4): Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones
The Ravens are expected to re-sign Brent Urban, who was also released last year before quickly rejoining the team. Even with Calais Campbell’s offseason departure, this won’t be an easy group to run against. The Ravens had the NFL’s third-most efficient run defense last season, according to Football Outsiders, after trading for inside linebacker Roquan Smith. There’s still questions about the pass rush, though. Madubuike had a career-high 5.5 sacks last season but needs to be more consistent. Jones, who had a strong preseason, is the group’s wild card.
Outside linebacker (5): Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, Jadeveon Clowney, Tavius Robinson, Malik Hamm
Hamm, a Baltimore native, was a surprise inclusion despite a strong camp. But Tyus Bowser’s lingering knee injury, which kept him on the non-football-injury list and out until at least Week 5, likely forced the issue. The rest of the group has a strong pedigree: Oweh and Clowney are former first-round picks, and Ojabo is a second-rounder. Whether that will translate into high-level production is unclear. Oweh had a strong camp, but he struggled to carry over his summertime success last year. Ojabo had a discouraging preseason. Clowney’s coming off a largely unproductive season. And Robinson’s a fourth-round pick.
Inside linebacker (5): Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison, Trenton Simpson, Del’Shawn Phillips
Smith and Queen should be one of the NFL’s best inside linebacker duos. Smith, coming off his first All-Pro season, will lead the defense as its signal-caller. Queen, who had a stellar camp, will be playing for a lucrative deal as he enters maybe his final season in Baltimore. Neither will come off the field much, but Harrison, Simpson and Phillips should all contribute heavily on special teams.
Cornerback (8): Marlon Humphrey, Rock Ya-Sin, Brandon Stephens, Ar’Darius Washington, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Ronald Darby, Damarion “Pepe” Williams, Arthur Maulet
Kevon Seymour, like Urban, is expected back in Baltimore. Kyu Kelly, who struggled in camp and against starters in the preseason, became a rare Ravens draft pick cut after his first camp. He could return as a practice squad member. Williams is expected to be placed on injured reserve, which would sideline him for at least four games.
For now, though, Humphrey’s early-season availability is one of the Ravens’ biggest question marks, especially with a Week 2 road game against the Cincinnati Bengals looming. The Ravens will need Ya-Sin and probably Stephens to step up at outside cornerback in his absence. Washington locked down a roster spot in camp and now could start in the slot.
Safety (3): Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, Geno Stone
Williams and Hamilton’s diverse skill sets have meshed almost seamlessly in their first offseason together. Williams should be one of the NFL’s best center-field safeties. Hamilton’s role could fluctuate until Humphrey returns, but he’s primed to build on his impressive rookie season. Stone was solid after stepping in for the injured Williams last year.
Special teams (3)
Specialists (3): Justin Tucker, Jordan Stout, Tyler Ott
Tucker’s the NFL’s best kicker. Ott is a former Pro Bowl long snapper who’s helped cushion the blow of losing to Nick Moore to season-ending Achilles tendon tear. Stout has the leg strength to ascend to the NFL’s top tier of punters. He just needs to deliver more consistently.