Baltimore Ravens: Most Intriguing Training Camp Battles


Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh (left) shakes hands with safety Will Hill (33) against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC wild card playoff game at Heinz Field. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL Draft out of the way, it is now time to shift our attention to training camp, which is just a couple months away. It may be early, but there are already some position battles brewing that should draw plenty of attention. Regardless of who comes out on top, the Baltimore Ravens training camp is sure to be an entertaining one. Here are the most intriguing training camp battles to look out for.

Strong Safety:

Last season’s starting safety, Darian Stewart, left the team in free agency to join the Denver Broncos. As a result, Will Hill, who started at free safety last season after serving his suspension, is slated to move to the strong side. This position seems to fit him pretty well, as Hill is a guy who loves to lower the boom on opposing ball-carriers.

Hill is expected to be challenged for that starting spot by third-year man Matt Elam, who has failed to meet expectations after being drafted in the first-round in 2013. Considering Elam’s inconsistent play and Hill’s standout performance last season, this battle is certainly Hill’s to lose.

Tight End:

After getting drafted in 2010, Dennis Pitta appeared to be the tight end of the future in Baltimore. Those in the Ravens locker room also dubbed him as having the best hands on the team. However, Pitta’s progress has been hampered by recurring hip injuries.

Pitta’s health concerns have opened the door for other players to step in and claim that starting role, which he once owned. Enter Maxx Williams. Williams was the clear-cut best tight end in this year’s draft class and has the makings of a big-time playmaker at the professional level.

The only other name that even has a real shot of cracking the lineup at this juncture is Crockett Gillmore, who saw some time last season due to injuries, but isn’t the playmaker that Pitta and Williams are. If Pitta is healthy, he could still win the battle, but Williams is sure to make a convincing case. 

More from Baltimore Ravens

Backup Running Back:

After his breakout season in 2014, Justin Forsett’s starting job is not in jeopardy. On the contrary, there will be a little bit of heat when it comes to the backup running back position.

Bernard Pierce was waived this offseason, after being arrested for a DUI, which meant good news for Lorenzo Taliaferro. Taliaferro is a powerful runner and he had a solid rookie season, rushing for 292 yards and four touchdowns.

Taliaferro will have some stiff competition though. The Ravens drafted USC running back Javorius “Buck” Allen in the fourth round. The roster also includes second-year player Fitzgerald Toussaint, who played sparingly last season, and undrafted free agent Terrence Magee out of LSU.

No. 4 Cornerback:

Not too long ago, the No. 3 cornerback position would have been a training camp battle to watch, but it doesn’t seem like much of one anymore after the Ravens signed former Patriots corner Kyle Arrington. He should have the nickel spot locked down.

There are probably three true contenders for that fourth spot. One is Rashaan Melvin, who really came on strong last season after virtually coming out of nowhere. Melvin was called upon to step up and grow up really fast and he held his own, which is why the coaches love him.

Breathing down his neck are Asa Jackson and rookie fourth-rounder Tray Walker out of Texas Southern. Jackson has battled both injuries and off-the-field concerns, but he has shown some flashes of what he can do and has contributed in the return game. We haven’t seen Walker in action yet, but the Ravens drafted him for a reason.

Next: Ravens Rookies Ready to Make Impact