- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Examining the Baltimore Ravens' roster:
Flacco finished the preseason with a 102.6 passer rating, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions. Taylor put together a solid but not spectacular preseason. He will be the primary backup for the fourth straight season unless the Ravens can upgrade after the final cutdown is made. Rookie sixth-round pick Keith Wenning appears headed to the practice squad.
Running backs (4)
Rice, Pierce, Taliaferro and Juszczyk are locks to make the team. Rice has been suspended for the first two games of the season, which allows the Ravens to carry Forsett.
Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Brown and Jones have long secured spots. Aiken still gets a spot even though he hasn't made a catch in the past two preseason games. His presence on special teams (tackling on coverage teams and blocking on return teams) gives him an edge. The decision is whether to keep Campanaro or Deonte Thompson. Both are slot receivers who can back up Jones as the returner. Even though Thompson has been impressive in the preseason, Campanaro gets the final spot because he has more upside and the Ravens invested a draft pick in him.
Tight ends (3)
Pitta is the clear-cut No. 1 tight end, and Gillmore will help immediately as a blocker. The question mark is Daniels, who has missed the past two preseason games because of fatigued legs. He gets a spot right now, but it's a peculiar situation.
Offensive linemen (9)
Monroe, Osemele, Zuttah and Yanda are the guaranteed starters, and Wagner was officially named the starting right tackle last week. Gradkowski and Shipley, two starters from last season, appear safe. Reid has "earned" the backup tackle spot, according to coach John Harbaugh. Urschel remains ahead of Ryan Jensen and continues to work as the second-team right guard.
Defensive linemen (5)
Ngata, Canty and Williams have been the starters throughout training camp and the preseason. Jernigan and Tyson are the Ravens' top two backups. If Terrence Cody (hip) gets removed off the physically unable to perform list, he becomes the sixth defensive lineman. At this point, the Ravens can go with five linemen because Pernell McPhee can move to defensive end in a pinch. Nose tackle Derrick Hopkins, who was on my projected 53-man list last week, can be kept on the practice squad.
There won't be much change here because the Ravens return every linebacker from last season's team. The only addition is Mosley, the No. 17 overall pick in this year's draft. By not keeping a third quarterback, the Ravens create room to keep a strong special-teams player like McClellan.
Smith and Webb are the starters, if healthy. Brown and Jackson have both worked with the first-team defense this offseason and are safe. The Ravens moved Levine from safety to corner in the last preseason game, which helps with the depth at this position. Levine's versatility on defense and value on special teams earns him a spot. Franks has played better than expected in the past two preseason games. The Ravens will keep Franks unless they can upgrade once final cutdowns are made Saturday. Undrafted rookie Tremain Jacobs will probably end up on the practice squad.
Elam and Stewart remain the starters. Brooks is rising up the depth chart with his playmaking ability, and Miles is a core special-teams player. Trawick moves into the projected 53-man roster this week because of his impact on special teams. He gets the nod over a defensive lineman like Hopkins. Hill is on the suspended list until the middle of October.
There is no drama on special teams. Tucker, Koch and Cox team up for the third straight season.