The Baltimore Ravens fully kick off their 2021 training camp this week. There is plenty of excitement surrounding the team this year, as many believe that this could be a special season for Baltimore.
Throughout the course of both training camp as well as the preseason, many players will be looking to establish themselves as they fight for a roster spot. There will be intense battles at multiple different positions that will most likely force the Ravens to make some difficult decisions when it’s time to cut their roster down to 53 players.
Let’s take a look at four important 2021 training camp battles for Baltimore.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Baltimore has their top-five wide receivers all-but locked in right with Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins, Devin Duvernay and Tylan Wallace. However, the sixth receiver spot is most likely going to come down to either Miles Boykin or James Proche, two of the Ravens’ recent draft picks. Boykin hasn’t lived up to expectations after being a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. He has been a good blocker in the run game, but he doesn’t seem to be on the same page with quarterback Lamar Jackson all the time from a receiving perspective. Proche was a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft, and got very limited opportunities to showcase himself over the course of his rookie season, only catching one pass. Having a full training camp and preseason should help both players show why they deserve to be on the roster, since at this point it’s likely only one of them makes it.
Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
After trading away tight end Hayden Hurst during the 2020 offseason, a part of the Ravens’ offense felt like it was missing when the team decided not to utilize a true third tight end on the roster for most of the season. However, this offseason, Baltimore is expected to have a fierce competition for a spot behind both Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. Players such as Josh Oliver, Eli Wolf, Jacob Breeland, Eric Tomlinson and Tony Poljan will be vying for the presumed third tight end role. Even rookie Ben Mason could see some time there if the Ravens envision him in that kind of role. Regardless of who ends up coming out on top, Baltimore has plenty of solid options that can make an impact both as a receiver and a blocker, much like Hurst did.
Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
There are plenty of 2021 training camp battles that will happen along the offensive line for the Ravens. However, none seems bigger than the left guard starting job that will be fought for by multiple players, and the presumed three biggest challengers all have the same first name. Ben Cleveland, Ben Powers, and Ben Bredeson are all candidates to take over at now-center Bradley Bozeman’s old position, as well as veteran Michael Schofield. It seems like Cleveland is the early favorite, but a lot can change in the coming weeks. Other players who will be fighting for an established role include Patrick Mekari, Tyre Phillips, Trystan Colon, Andre Smith and more. With Baltimore having so much depth on their offensive line at the moment, they might have to cut or try to trade a few talented pieces that would likely made the roster if not for the plethora of talent at the position.
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
It’s no secret that Baltimore values their secondary, especially considering how elite their unit is currently. While the team has two good starting safeties in DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark, their cornerback room consists of four players who could start on a good amount of NFL teams today. It seems like the Ravens’ top six cornerbacks at the moment are Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett, and Shaun Wade. Those six are all-but locks to make the roster, and that could make it hard for other talented players to earn a spot with the team in 2021. Davontae Harris, Khalil Dorsey, Iman Marshall and Chris Westry are some of the names who will have to put on strong performances during training camp and the preseason in order to be considered for a roster spot. Harris and Dorsey showed flashes in 2020, while Marshall and Westry are very unproven yet intriguing talents. While it is possible that Baltimore keeps seven cornerbacks this season, players on the outside looking in could be facing quite the uphill climb to being on the 2021 opening day roster.