A personal article for me today as I am a lifelong fan of the Baltimore Ravens. I became a fan back in the 2000s when guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were leading the team. When they won Super Bowl XLVII, it was around my 18th birthday and I can say it was one of the best birthday presents ever.

So quickly going over the 2018 season. The Ravens drafted Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson with the 32nd pick in 2018. Longtime Raven Joe Flacco was eventually benched for Jackson and they never looked back. The team ended with w 10-6 record but unfortunately lost in the Wild Card Round to the Los Angeles Chargers due to Jackson struggling.

Now the 2019 season begins. Flacco was traded to the Denver Broncos, C.J. Mosley signed with the Jets, and longtime Raven Terrell Suggs signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

However, they did not only lose a lot of players, but they also gained a lot back. They signed star safety Earl Thomas III from the Seattle Seahawks and Mark Ingram II from the New Orleans Saints. In the draft, the Ravens selected Marquise “Hollywood” Brown with the 25th overall selection. The latter two acquisitions look to help Jackson improve in season two while Thomas will no doubt boost the secondary.

Here are my predictions for the final 53-man roster.

Quarterbacks

Credit: Denny Medley/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Lamar Jackson
  • Backups: Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley
  • Offseason Cuts: Joe Callahan

Joe Flacco is gone and Jackson is the clear-cut starter. Look for him to improve in season two, particularly in the passing game. Griffin III was brought back after an impressive stint as the Ravens’ 3rd string QB.

Rookie McSorley is an interesting prospect. He won’t see the field as a quarterback and the team is looking to try him out on Special Teams and even in some defensive packages. He may be a practice squad candidate but if he impresses in the preseason with his athletic skill set, the Ravens may want to keep him on the 53-man roster in fear of losing him. So I have him making the roster.

Running Backs

Credit: Chuck Cook/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Mark Ingram II
  • Backups: Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Patrick Ricard
  • Offseason Cuts: Kenneth Dixon, Tyler Ervin, De’Lance Turner, Christopher Ezeala

Ingram II was brought in from the New Orleans Saints and looks to be the top running back for the Ravens. He may be 30 but his skillset between the box will make him a weapon in the offense. Gus the Bus Edwards was very impressive during his rookie season, showing that he is tough to bring back and is a nice complementary back to Ingram II. Hill is a 4th round selection and will get plenty of touches as the speed back option. Ricard can play fullback in certain packages and also provides depth as a defensive lineman.

As far as the cuts, Dixon has shown flashes of brilliance but injuries have hurt his career so far. Ervin and Turner will have to impress in the preseason to show they deserve a roster spot. They could make an impact as a kick returners or special teamers.

Wide Receivers

Credit: Baltimore Ravens Website
  • Starters: Marquise Brown, Willie Snead IV, Miles Boykin
  • Backups: Chris Moore, Jordan Lashley, Seth Roberts
  • Offseason Cuts: Michael Floyd, Joe Horn Jr., Sean Modster, Jaleel Scott, Antonie Wesley

You don’t draft a WR in the first round to come off the bench. I have Brown being the top target in the Ravens offense despite some early injury scare. I have Snead IV and fellow rookie Boykin starting alongside Brown as a nice young starting core in Baltimore.

I have Moore being a lock too. He is a vertical threat that also showed his skills as a kick returner. Roberts is a veteran that can be a nice option in the offense. The last person I had was a toss-up between two second-year players in Scott and Lashley. Both will have to really impress in the preseason to show they deserve a roster spot.

Floyd has had an up-and-down career and might be on the outside looking in unless he impresses in camp. Horn Jr., the son of Saints Legend Joe Horn, maybe a practice squad candidate.

Tight Ends

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starter: Mark Andrews
  • Backups: Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle
  • Offseason Cuts: Cole Herdman, Charles Scarff

The tight end group might be the best in all of football. Andrews showed flashes of brilliance in the offense and might be the lead man heading into the regular season. Baltimore’s first-round pick last year Hurst has the speed and catching ability to be a solid option in the offense. Boyle also makes the team here, as the team’s primary blocker in the tight end group.

Offensive Line

Credit: Baltimore Ravens Website
  • Starters: Ronnie Stanley, James Hurst, Matt Skura, Marshal Yanda, Orlando Brown Jr.
  • Backups: Bradley Bozeman, Ben Powers, Jermaine Eluemunor
  • Offseason Cuts: Randin Crecelius, Patrick Mekari, R.J.Prince, Patrick Vahe, Alex Lewis, Isaiah Williams, Marcus Applefield, Greg Senat, Darrell Williams

The left tackle, right guard, and right tackle spots seem to be locked in with Stanley, Yanda, and Brown Jr. respectively. Left guard and center seem to be up for grabs. Hurst and Skura were the starts last year and if they impress in camp once again.

I have the team keeping three backup linemen as they can plug into the line when they need to. They would rather keep backups that can play multiple positions than someone who plays strictly one spot.

Defensive Line

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starters: Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Willie Henry
  • Backups: Chris Wormley, Zach Sieler, Daylon Mack
  • Offseason Cuts: Gerald Willis

The defensive line group has a lot of depth. Williams was a Pro Bowler last season as the lead man while Pierce and Henry will round out the starters. Wormley and Sieler impressed last season and look to be the top backups.

Mack and Willis are both rookies (Mack being a 5th round pick while Willis went undrafted) that need to show that they can play. Mack gets the edge here given his draft status but Willis could also make the Ravens roster come Week 1. If the team decides to let go Hybrid fullback/defensive end Picard, Willis may make the team instead.

Linebackers

Credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Matthew Judon, Patrick Onwuasor, Kenny Young, Jaylon Ferguson
  • Backups: Chris Board, Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee, Shane Ray
  • Offseason Cuts: Otaro Alaka, E.J. Ejiya, Alvin Jones, Silas Stewart, Matthew Thomas, Aaron Adeoye, Markus Jones, Michael Onuoha, Tim Williams

Losing Mosley and Suggs hurts but the team believes that they have players that can make up for the loss. Judon finished 2017 with seven sacks and looks to be the top ‘backer for the Ravens. Ferguson was a 3rd round pick that finished his Louisiana Tech career with 45 sacks. I have him as the starter outside of Judon.

The inside linebacker spot looks to be up for grabs but I have the young guys in Onwuasor and Young as the starters. Guys like Bowser, McPhee, and Ray will look to provide depth at the position. Baltimore is known for playing a lot of linebackers to keep them fresh, so look for all those guys to get a crack at the roster in the preseason.

Cornerbacks

Credit: Baltimore Ravens Website
  • Starters: Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr
  • Backups: Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett, Iman Marshall, Cyrus Jones, Justin Bethel
  • Offseason Cuts: Terrell Bonds, Maurice Canady, Bennett Jackson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste

Humphrey, I believe, is on the rise to be one of the cornerbacks in the NFL. He’ll no doubt be the lead man in the position group. The Ravens have played multiple corners so in reality, Carr, Smith, and Young will look to be starters at times, depending on the defensive scheme for that week.

Averett and Marshal are young guys that need time to develop while Jones and Bethel I believe make the roster due to their skillset when it comes to Special Teams.

Safties

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starters: Earl Thomas III, Tony Jefferson
  • Backups: Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott, Anthony Levine
  • Offseason Cuts: None

As of now, the Ravens have five safeties on the roster and I have them all making the roster. Free-agent prize Thomas III can still play at a high level and Jefferson will look to improve alongside Thomas.

Clark and Elliott are young safties that can be good with a little more development. Levine has played both safety and linebacker and in 2018, he played all over the field. He’ll be one of the leaders on the team.

Specialists

Credit: Baltimore Ravens Website
  • Kicker: Justin Tucker
  • Punter: Sam Koch
  • Long Snapper: Morgan Cox
  • Preseason Cuts: Matthew Orzech, Kaare Vedvik

The specialist are given here. Tucker is the best kicker in the league, Koch is one of the punters in the league, and Cox is one of the best long snappers in the league. Know as “The Wolf Pack,” they’ll be together once again as one of the best specialists in the NFL.

While I am a huge Ravens fan, I am a realist. The 2019 Baltimore Ravens 2019 mainly depends on Lamar Jackson. New Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman is a perfect fit for him. Roman is know making Colin Kaepernick a star when he was with the San Francisco 49ers and making Tyrod Taylor a Pro Bowl-caliber QB when he was with the Buffalo Bills. The addition of Brown, Ingram II, and Boykin will look to be legit weapons in the offense while guys like Andrews, Edwards, and Snead IV showed last year they help the team win games.

The defensive side may not be what it was in the 2000s but Thomas II, Jefferson, Smith, Humprhey, Young, and Carr is a great secondary while the defensive line depth will help out in the latter part of the season. The only question is the linebacker position because, after Judon, there are plenty of unknowns as far as who needs to steps up.

It should be a fun season to watch but the Ravens are in a tough division. With the Pittsburgh Steelers continued success and the rise of the Cleveland Browns, it’ll be a three-way race for the AFC North crown.

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