Here it is. With final cuts just a day away, it's time to put on my projection hat and take a guess at what the Ravens' final 53-man roster will look like.
I'll say this: putting this roster together was incredibly difficult. Seriously, I agonized over a couple decisions for much longer than I should have. If it's difficult for me, I can't even imagine what it's like for the Ravens' coaches and front office personnel.
Below the list of players, I've got a few notes on some of the more controversial/complex decisions. I reserve the right to adjust my projections based on any information I receive out at The Castle later today.
As always, I welcome any feedback, be it positive ("Dan, you're right on the money"), or negative ("Dan, you're an idiot. What the hell were you thinking?").
Away we go...
QBs (2): Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger
RBs (4): Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain, Jalen Parmele
WRs (6): Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Donte' Stallworth, Demetrius Williams, Marcus Smith
TEs (3): Todd Heap, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta
OL (9): Michael Oher, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda, Jared Gaither, Oniel Cousins, Chris Chester, Tony Moll, Ramon Harewood/Waiver wire tackle
DL (9): Cory Redding, Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, Trevor Pryce, Terrence Cody, Paul Kruger, Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou, Arthur Jones
LBs (8): Terrell Suggs, Jameel McClain, Ray Lewis, Jarret Johnson, Antwan Barnes, Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden, Prescott Burgess
CBs (5): Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, Josh Wilson, Chris Carr, Prince Miller/Waiver wire corner
Safeties (4): Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Tom Zbikowski, Haruki Nakamura
Specialists (3): Billy Cundiff, Sam Koch, Morgan Cox
In limbo (Don't count against the active roster at this point):
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo - Physically Unable to Perform list
RB Matt Lawrence - Physically Unable to Perform list
CB Cary Williams - Reserve/Suspended list
- No, Troy Smith is not listed above. Sorry.
- I feel pretty confident in the number of players that will be kept at the various positions, with the exception of the wide receivers, defensive linemen and safeties.
- I think there's a decent chance Harewood ends up on Injured Reserve with his knee issues. If not, he makes the 53.
- Burgess barely makes the roster because of his special teams abilities. He could be the new "ace" with Ayanbadejo out.
- I take Miller over Travis Fisher only because Fisher is a vested veteran, and if he's on the roster Week 1, his entire base salary is guaranteed. But I think a waiver wire pickup is a good possibility here instead of either of these guys.
- I had Ken Hamlin on the roster until last night. He played his way off my 53 with his poor performance, allowing me to keep six receivers. Also, his status as a vested veteran makes him tougher to keep. But Hamlin's status all boils down to where Reed is at. If Reed goes on PUP or the team thinks he might be out for a while, Hamlin likely stays around.
- The Marcus Smith/David Reed decision was by no means an easy one. Smith just does more on special teams.
- I'm not at all convinced that Cundiff will be the kicker. That's just what my gut is saying at this point.