Ravens' preseason stock watch

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
10:00
AM ET
A look at who's rising and falling on the Baltimore Ravens this preseason ...

FALLING

Elam
1. Ravens' tackling. The Ravens' inability to wrap up led to big plays and scores. Rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley wasn't the same force in the middle and got stiff-armed on one run. Safeties Matt Elam, Brynden Trawick and Omar Brown also had poor showings as tacklers. Trawick, in particular, went high for a big hit instead of making the stop, which led to a touchdown. The Ravens can't have those lapses by their safeties, especially when they're the last line of defense.

2. Ball security. The Ravens' running backs fumbled twice for a second consecutive preseason game. The biggest problem is with Justin Forsett, a smallish back who has coughed it up twice in 12 touches. He has speed and big-play ability, but the Ravens have to be wondering whether they can trust him with the ball. Fumbling hasn't been a major issue with the Ravens. Since coach John Harbaugh took over as coach in 2008, Ravens running backs have lost the ball 18 times, which is tied for the seventh-fewest in the NFL.

3. Owen Daniels. The 31-year-old tight end was among the disappointments in training camp. Daniels lacked explosion and failed to get separation from linebackers. He made only one catch in the preseason opener for six yards. Now, Daniels missed the final two days of camp and didn't play in the second preseason opener because the Ravens wanted to "rest his legs." This is troubling when you consider he broke his leg last season.

RISING

Pierce
1. Bernard Pierce. He looked like an NFL starting running back when he replaced the soon-to-be suspended Ray Rice with the first-team offense in Dallas. Pierce ran with power and decisiveness, hitting lanes that weren't there a season ago. In two preseason games, Pierce has 92 yards on 17 carries, a 5.4-yard average that appears gaudy when compared to his 2.9-yard average in 2013. The impressive part has been his consistency. Nearly half of his 17 carries have produced runs longer than 4 yards.

2. Deonte Thompson. After slipping on the wrong side of the roster bubble, Thompson had a much-needed huge game. He had kickoff returns of 108 and 50 yards. These types of explosive plays stick with teams when they're making their final cuts. What hurts Thompson is he has been a non-factor as a receiver. The Ravens don't need a kickoff returner because Jacoby Jones is one of the most dangerous in the league. There are plenty of other backup options -- cornerback Asa Jackson and wide receiver Michael Campanaro -- who can make an impact beyond special teams.

3. Pernell McPhee. The pass rusher looks like he's carrying a few extra pounds. But McPhee is driving that weight into quarterbacks. He has been collapsing the pocket whether he's lined up on the inside or out on the edges. McPhee was the only consistent pass rusher in Dallas, and his ability to hurry throws is even more important with the current state of the Ravens' secondary.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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