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Ravens' Mock 53-Man Roster

August 26, 2019
For those on the Ravens' roster bubble, the moment of truth is nearly upon them. The Ravens' 90-man roster must be slashed to 53 players by Aug. 31 at 4 p.m., meaning they have basically one final preseason game against the Washington Redskins Aug. 29 to make a final push for inclusion on the 2019 team.

The truth is, virtually every spot on the roster is already spoken for, but it's possible a player will win a spot in that final preseason game. With no starters expected to play, those lower on the depth chart will have every opportunity to state their case.

Defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale noted that in 2016, then-rookie defensive lineman Michael Pierce "made the team after the fourth game of the preseason against New Orleans, because he wrecked that game. Things like that happen. ... There will be guys that make the team off this fourth game."

With that in mind, and with one final audition to come, here's an educated guess at what the Ravens' 53-man roster will look like on Aug. 31:

QUARTERBACK (3) -- Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley

The skinny: McSorley's strong showing against the Eagles (19-for-28, 203 yards, 2 TDs) reduced the likelihood that he would pass through waivers should the Ravens want to keep just two quarterbacks and sneak him onto the practice squad. 

McSorley can also contribute on special teams and gives the Ravens some insurance in case there is any setback for Griffin, who has missed most of the preseason with a thumb injury that is expected to be fully healed for Week 1.

RUNNING BACK (4) -- Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Patrick Ricard (FB)

The skinny: The omission of Kenneth Dixon is one of the toughest calls. Running backs coach Matt Weiss said he might be their most talented back, but his career has been marred by injuries and suspension, and his lack of special teams role is a big factor. That said, the Ravens could look to trade from this position of surplus.

Tyler Ervin also is a close call as the No. 4 running back and return specialist, but Hill could be an option on kick returns, and the Ravens have other needs elsewhere. 

TIGHT ENDS (3) -- Nick Boyle, Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst

The skinny: Not much suspense here. The only question is how big a season Andrews will have, and whether Hurst can bounce back from a disappointing rookie year. Andrews was the Ravens' best offensive player this summer.

WIDE RECEIVER (6) -- Willie Snead, Chris Moore, Seth Roberts, Miles Boykin, Marquise Brown, Jaleel Scott

The skinny: Michael Floyd has been trending upward, while Roberts has been sidelined for the past three weeks. But Roberts looked strong early in camp, and he and Jackson work well together, particularly in the red zone. Head coach John Harbaugh suggested Roberts' injury would not linger into the regular season.

Snead and Moore are known quantities, while rookies Boykin and Brown bring a lot of promise. Scott wins a final roster spot based on his physical upside at 6-foot-5 and his ability to play special teams.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8) -- Ronnie Stanley, Jermaine Eluemunor, Matt Skura, Marshal Yanda, Orlando Brown Jr., James Hurst, Ben Powers, Bradley Bozeman

The skinny: Eluemunor appears to have won the underwhelming competition at left guard, and while this group is lacking a true backup tackle, Eluemunor showed well there against Green Bay, and the valuable Hurst could fill in anywhere except maybe center. The Ravens are hoping Powers advances quickly. 

Second-year tackle Greg Senat's injury derailed his chances, and undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari flashed at times but is destined for the practice squad. The Ravens will be watching the waiver wire closely.

DEFENSIVE LINE (5) -- Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Chris Wormley, Willie Henry, Daylon Mack 

The skinny: Five seems like a dangerously low number along the defensive line, but two-way player Patrick Ricard is a sixth defensive lineman, excelling in that role this summer, and linebacker Pernell McPhee can also play on the line of scrimmage at times. 

Zach Sieler is the only true defensive end behind Wormley but didn't do enough this summer to warrant a spot. Gerald Willis was considered one of the favorites from the undrafted rookie class to make the team, but he never quite got up to speed and has been slowed recently by an injury.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (4) -- Patrick Onwuasor, Chris Board, Kenny Young, Otaro Alaka

The skinny: This is the Ravens' thinnest position group, and Board's concussion in the second preseason game, along with the abrupt retirement of newly signed inside linebacker Paul Worrilow, secures a roster spot for the undrafted Alaka, who hopes to become the next undrafted inside linebacker to succeed in Baltimore. 

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5) -- Matthew Judon, Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, Jaylon Ferguson

The skinny: There are still questions about whether this group can consistently generate a disruptive pass rush, but McPhee has shown well in his return to Baltimore and Bowser has come on strong of late. Ferguson, the third-round rookie, started to flash late in training camp. The odd man out here is former Broncos first-round pick Shane Ray, who had vowed to become a starter with his next team after a strained exit in Denver. 

CORNERBACK (7) -- Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Anthony Averett, Cyrus Jones, Maurice Canady, Justin Bethel 

The skinny: The Ravens need to place Tavon Young on season-ending injured reserve, and that opens a spot for Canady. One complication: If the Ravens and Young think he can return from his neck injury for the second half of the season, they will want to designate him to return from IR, and in that case he must be on the original 53-man roster. Speaking of IR, that's where rookie fourth-round pick Iman Marshall lands, as he's been dealing with a hamstring injury for much of August.

Bethel also complicates things because he is a Pro Bowl special teams player with little role defensively, and the Ravens must weigh giving a roster spot to such a player, but they signed him this offseason knowing that. Jones has made strong progress as a nickel back, which could be a factor with Young's injury, and he will be the top return specialist.

SAFETY (5) -- Earl Thomas, Tony Jefferson, Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott, Anthony Levine

The skinny: The Ravens are four deep at safety, and Levine will play dime linebacker more often than true safety and continues to be the de facto captain of the special teams unit. The Ravens have worked Clark as a slot cornerback in light of Young's injury, and he and Elliott have to be two of the most physical backup safeties in the league. Like Levine, veteran Brynden Trawick can play dime backer and excels on special teams but gets caught in a numbers crunch. 

SPECIALISTS (3) -- Justin Tucker, Sam Koch, Morgan Cox

The skinny: No suspense here. The biggest news coming from this group was the trade of Kaare Vedvik to Minnesota for a fifth-round draft pick. The "Wolfpack" marches on.

Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka    

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox