Baltimore Ravens: Five Things To Watch At Mandatory Minicamp


The Baltimore Ravens being their mandatory minicamp tomorrow at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Md. and every Raven is expected in the building. This is the first time the entire team will be in attendance, and they are not expecting any holdouts. If for some reason there is a surprise holdout, that would be breaking news to us all.

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There are many people in the industry that have said the Ravens have one of the top rosters in all of football. Peter King ranked the Ravens as his top team in his offseason power rankings. While the Ravens have once again done a terrific job of acquiring more and more talent, there are still questions that remain. This week we will finally get a sense of how some of these issues will resolve as we get closer and closer to live football.

Who will start alongside Steve Smith Sr.?

This could have been a much broader topic trying to figure out which wide receivers will make the roster in general, but we have previously touched on the subject. There are a two guys who are virtual locks to make the team in Breshad Perriman and Marlon Brown. Each will be given an opportunity to make their case for the starting job, but based on experience alone, Brown will likely have the upper hand. However, the Ravens didn’t spend a first-round pick on Perriman to not get his chance. The recent success of rookie wide receivers coming in and making an immediate impact puts pressure on Perriman to be a factor right away. Could one of the other receivers on the roster make a push for a starting job? Of course. Kamar Aiken and Jeremy Butler have seen a lot of reps during OTAs, but they are likely destined for a role in the slot. Someone needs to step up and take charge during training camp, and the battle starts this week.

Who wins the backup running back job?

Justin Forsett is coming off a phenomenal year for the Ravens and is the unquestioned starter at the position. What remains to be seen is who will be the primary ball carrier behind him. Lorenzo Taliaferro had moments of brilliance in 2014 and has slimmed down this offseason. The only question mark with him is his hands because Marc Trestman values backs that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Fourth-round pick Buck Allen showed he has the skills to play at this level while at Southern California and has the hands, but isn’t the bruiser that Taliaferro is. It’s likely that Taliaferro gets goal-line work and Allen gets looks as a third-down back. Injuries to running backs are more common than most positions, and the Ravens need to know who they turn to if something should happen to Forsett.

How will the secondary look?

Ozzie Newsome was not going to let the secondary be the the reason this team fails once again. He brought in Kendrick Lewis, Kyle Arrington and Cassius Vaughn as new additions and could also have Jimmy Smith on the field as well. The Ravens now have a surplus of cornerbacks in the mix and it will be interesting to see how many make the team. There could be as many as six corners on the roster. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has praised Matt Elam‘s progress this offseason, and there should be a good battle between Elam and Will Hill. The Ravens could have gone from having one of the worst defensive back fields to one of the best in a matter of months.

Who steps up as the third pass-rusher?

The Ravens are blessed to have two terrific players in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil to put heat on opposing quarterbacks. They can’t do it all on their own, however. Last season it was Pernell McPhee who stepped up, but he’s now in Chicago. They spent a fourth-round pick on Za’Darius Smith and are hoping that Kapron Lewis-Moore can create the same menace he has shown when healthy. There have been rumors that Arthur Brown could get a look at the outside linebacker position. There is also the possibility that it is someone that is not on the roster as a veteran option could be signed as we get closer to training camp.

Escaping camp without injury

This is the number one goal for every team in the NFL, but the injury bug has been a serious problem in Baltimore over the last year. The team will already be without two wide receivers, Michael Campanaro and Aldrick Robinson. Undrafted rookie free agent Julian Wilson broke his foot in the rookie minicamp. Contact is not permitted during minicamp practices, but that was also the case during the rookie camp when Wilson went down with his injury. You see it in every sport where an athlete gets injured without contact. John Harbaugh’s primary concern in these mandatory sessions will be ensuring that he enters training camp with his entire roster healthy.

Next: Top Five RBs in Ravens History

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