Just over a week to go before the Baltimore Ravens head to the Mile High city to take on the Denver Broncos for the NFL season opener. The Ravens have been hard at work over the past month trying to compile a 53-man roster, as the team always does before the season begins. But when it comes down to Ravens’ wide receivers, the task at hand is a little more difficult than previous years.
Last season, the Ravens had six wide receivers on the roster. Currently, the team has eight. There is a chance that the team could potentially keep all eight wideouts. Here’s a look at the players hoping to have their name on the roster next week.
1. The veterans
Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Brandon Stokley should have no reason to worry about not clinching a roster spot.
Smith has stepped up as the number one receiver on the Ravens’ offense after Anquan Boldin left for San Francisco. The Ravens will be looking to Smith the most out of any wideout on the roster this season. He is one of Flacco’s most reliable targets, if not the most reliable target on the Ravens’ offense.
Jones is known for his versatility as well as stepping up and making big plays. The wide receiver was also very valuable for the Ravens on special teams last season as a punt and kick returner. With one of the most memorable catches of the year against the Broncos in the playoffs, as well as a kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half of Super Bowl XLVII, Jones has proved that he can play under pressure and help carry the team to success.
Stokley will spend most of his time on the field in the slot position, filling in where injured tight end Dennis Pitta typically excels. The fourteen-year veteran will also be an asset to the Ravens on offense this year because of his his experience. The younger players can learn just by watching a player like Stokley that has been in the league for so many years.
2. The returners
Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, and LaQuan Williams were on the Baltimore Ravens roster when the team won the Super Bowl back in February. But none of these men have had a breakout moment to prove themselves on this team.
Doss reported to camp healthier than ever, and has remained in good shape throughout the preseason. However, he has yet to have a standout moment since taking the field. Doss seems to come into practice prepared, but is not always able to execute his skills.
Thompson surprised a lot of people at the beginning of training camp. He returned to the field with superior strength and speed, showing many signs of improvement from last season. But a foot injury has sidelined Thompson with no definite date of return.
Williams turned heads during the Ravens’ first preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He scored two touchdowns for the team in the Ravens 44-16 win over the Bucs. But repeating his performance from that game has proved to be somewhat challenging.
3. The rookies
Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown are both trying to prove themselves as players deserving of a roster spot this season.
Mellette scored a touchdown on each of his first two receptions in the NFL. In addition to his initial success on offense, he has been practicing with special teams as a gunner, blocker on kick returns and an end on the punt rush. Mellette blocked a punt during the Ravens second preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Marlon Brown joined the Baltimore Ravens organization as an undrafted rookie out of Georgia. He has notched 90 receiving yards so far in the preseason, as well as catching all four balls thrown to him during the matchup against Carolina in preseason Week 3.
The Baltimore Ravens must have their roster completed by Saturday evening at 6 pm E.T.