I've given you four offensive players to keep your eye on in tonight's preseason opener against the Panthers.
Now, it's time for the defense.
Here are a few guys battling for playing time who you should watch tonight:
Jameel McClain, ILB
Without a doubt, McClain has been the biggest surprise of training camp. Coming into Westminster, he was thought to be a distant third in the race for the inside linebacker job next to Ray Lewis. Now, he's leapfrogged Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe and has gotten the vast majority of the reps with the first-team defense. McClain is a good pass rusher, is fairly strong against the run, and can turn and play in coverage. He's shown all those traits in camp; can he show them in preseason action when the lights are on?
Travis Fisher/Cary Williams/Prince Miller, CBs
OK, so I'm lumping all three of them into one. It's my blog, I do what I want. Anyway, if any of these fellas want a roster spot, now's their chance to earn it. The Ravens are so low on cornerbacks right now that a journeyman who is with his fourth team in five years (Fisher) will likely be the top cornerback tonight, and an undrafted rookie (Miller), will probably be the nickel back with the first-team. Jobs are there for the taking, and these three will be jockeying for spots tonight and throughout the rest of the preseason.
Paul Kruger, DE
Kruger, last year's second-round pick, underwent a position change this offseason, bulking up 25 pounds and moving from outside linebacker to defensive end. The now-275 pound lineman says he is handling the extra weight well and has kept his speed, which has shown in the first couple weeks of camp. He's moving well, but needs to be more consistent from play to play. Kruger should see time both on the outside and inside tonight.
Ken Hamlin, S
Hamlin has been itching to hit someone from the day he came into training camp, and he'll get a chance to lay the lumber tonight against the Panthers. A former starter with the Seahawks and Cowboys, Hamlin will back up Tom Zbikowski at the free safety spot tonight, and should get plenty of reps. He'll have an opportunity to show that he's comfortable in the Ravens' defensive scheme. If I'm a Panthers receiver, I'm keeping my head on a swivel if Hamlin is on the field.