Baltimore Ravens: D.J. Bryant

Here are my takes on some recent news with the Baltimore Ravens:

News item: There is speculation that David Carr could wind up being the Ravens' backup quarterback. Carr hasn't played in a game since 2012, but he's working out with his younger brother Derek Carr, a highly rated draft prospect, and has some history with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

Opinion: It's hard to be picky when the best remaining free agent quarterbacks are Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn and Rusty Smith. I would take Carr over them. The Ravens need to wait to see if they can draft a talented young quarterback or pick up someone after the draft. The Houston Texans could release either T.J. Yates or Case Keenum, both of whom have started under Kubiak, if they take a quarterback early in the draft.

News item: The Ravens announced outside linebacker D.J. Bryant signed his exclusive rights tender. He was on the practice squad in 2012 and spent last season on the injured reserve (left knee).

Opinion: Bryant remains a long shot to make the Ravens' roster this season because of their depth at outside linebacker. The Ravens return all five outside linebackers (Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, John Simon and Pernell McPhee) who were on the 53-man roster all last season.

News item: NFL Network's Albert Breer said the Ravens are looking for a starting running back considering Ray Rice's legal issues and possible suspension from the league.

Opinion: As I wrote Wednesday, running back has to be among the priorities for the Ravens because they don't know what they're going to get out of Rice this year or in the future. I expect the Ravens to start looking at running backs in the third round, when they have two picks.

News item: Joe Hortiz, the Ravens' director of college scouting, believes Notre Dame's Zack Martin can play guard or tackle in the NFL. "He may not fit the ideal tackle mold in that he's not 6-foot-7, 320 pounds," Hortiz said. "But when you watch him, he’s such an efficient player that you can't say he can't do it."

Opinion: Martin has become a popular pick for the Ravens in recent mock drafts, and there's a good reason for it. He could be the final piece in an upgraded offensive line. The Ravens re-signed left tackle Eugene Monroe, traded for center Jeremy Zuttah and gets back left guard Kelechi Osemele from season-ending back surgery. With Marshal Yanda at right guard, the Ravens should use a pick in the first or second round to find their fifth starting lineman.

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By this time next week, we'll know if the Baltimore Ravens started their title defense off with a win or a loss in Denver. But let's not jump too far ahead. There was the preseason finale Thursday night, which the Ravens lost 24-21 in St. Louis. For my thoughts on the game, you can click right here. Let's see if we can find some meaning in the final meaningless game of the summer in the Wake-up caw ...
  • John Eisenberg, of the team's website, predicts the 53-man roster. Spoiler alert: He has seven wide receivers making the team, including Marlon Brown, Tandon Doss and Aaron Mellette. He also has a couple of bubble players who impressed Thursday night, running back Bobby Rainey and safety Omar Brown, surviving the final cuts.
  • Backup linebacker D.J. Bryant suffered a significant left knee injury at the end of the first half, The Baltimore Sun reports. "That looks like a season ender," coach John Harbaugh said. "We’ll know [Friday] after we get the MRI but all indications are there’s substantial ligament damage there, nothing that he can’t come back from. Obviously, he’ll work on that. I’m sure he’ll get surgery and rehab it." Bryant wasn't expected to make the team, but it's still a rough way for a player trying to make his hometown team to end his preseason.
  • Comcast SportsNet asks the question: Did Caleb Hanie change the Ravens' minds on keeping more than two quarterbacks? My answer is no. He was 20-for-39 for 272 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Hanie also missed Mellette on a couple of throws. Expect the Ravens to keep two quarterbacks (Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor) for a fourth straight year, unless Taylor has complications from a head injury.
  • Former Ravens special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo reflects on the Super Bowl season. You can click here to read his thoughts and see his picture with Michael Phelps, who has officially replaced Poe as the team's mascot.
  • Here are five things that The Baltimore Sun learned from the preseason finale. This is impressive considering it didn't look like there were five people at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Thursday night.

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