The Ravens first step of the 2019 season was a positive one as they routed the Jacksonville Jaguars, 29-0, at M&T Bank Stadium on Aug. 8. They have three more preseason games left, and for those on the roster bubble, those three weeks will be crucial.
Here are three players whose stock is rising, and whose is falling, after the first preseason game:
CB/PR Cyrus Jones
The Baltimore native had one of the highlight-reel plays of the night with his 19-yard interception return for a touchdown. It wasn't a good pass from backup quarterback Tanner Lee, but give Jones credit for reading and reacting. Jones, who played just five defensive snaps for the Ravens last season, has looked increasingly comfortable as a slot cornerback this year, and while he still isn't the first or second option there, that should help solidify his roster spot.
Jones' primary role on this team will still be as a return specialist, and he fair-caught all three punts sent his way. It's worth noting, though, that handling punts cleanly is Job No. 1 for a returner, and it cost both Tim White and Janarion Grant the job last year, which ultimately led Jones back to Baltimore.
OLB Tim Williams
In what is viewed as a make-or-break summer for the former third-round pick, Williams has had a strong training camp and was a factor early against the Jaguars with three tackles, a half-sack and a quarterback hit. He started at one outside linebacker spot, giving him a chance to play in first-down situations and not just as a situational pass rusher.
Williams has had his preseason moments in the past as well, so he needs to maintain that consistency, but on a team with a major need at edge rusher coming into camp, his progress is encouraging.
K Kaare Vedvik
Vedvik might have burst back onto the radar screens of kicking-deficient teams as he went 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts, including a 55-yarder, against the Jaguars. For good measure, Vedvik also unleashed a 58-yard punt, though former special teams coach Jerry Rosburg has said it would be very difficult to handle both roles regularly at the NFL level.
a terrible assault at the end of last preseason
, and after a spring and summer in which he was not as consistent as a year ago, this was an impressive rebound for Vedvik, who said after the game that he was more emotional than he thought he would be kicking in his first game action in nearly a year.
There's never been much doubt about his leg strength. Now the only question is, will GM Eric DeCosta's phone ring?
RB De'Lance Turner
Turner actually had the Ravens' longest run at 21 yards, but he didn't see action until the second half, while Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon and rookie Justice Hill all played in the first half. Presumed starter Mark Ingram didn't play at all. Turner also wasn't on any of the top special teams units, which suggests he's a solid No. 5 in the pecking order at running back.
It's possible Dixon and Turner are battling for one roster spot, and Dixon, who carried four times for 21 yards, has looked good this summer and appears to be ahead. It's also possible that both Dixon and Turner will be on the outside looking in, as the Ravens could opt to keep just three running backs (plus fullback Patrick Ricard).
WR Antoine Wesley
Wesley is trying to make this team as a No. 6 receiver, and he's been one of the standouts of training camp, with a good combination of size (6-foot-4) and sure hands, but he dropped the only pass thrown his way against the Jaguars. Wesley also did not work with any of the top special teams units.
Wesley has a few more weeks to make his case for a roster spot, but if top draft pick Marquise Brown progresses as expected, and with tough roster decisions looming elsewhere, it seems more likely that the Ravens will keep just five receivers on the initial 53-man roster.
As with other undrafted receivers who have flashed early in training camp in previous years, Wesley needs to shine when the lights are on.
DL Gerald Willis
The undrafted defensive lineman from Miami has a lot of upside and is one of the more intriguing undrafted rookies in camp. But his role was limited against the Jaguars, with one tackle in 15 second-half snaps, and Patrick Ricard's strong week doesn't make Willis' path to the roster any easier.
The Ravens probably will keep six defensive linemen in Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Chris Wormley, Willie Henry, Zach Sieler and rookie draft pick Daylon Mack. The throwback, two-way player Ricard essentially gives them a seventh. An eighth defensive lineman probably doesn't fit in the equation.
Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox