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2011 Ravens Roster Breakdown

Now that the 53-man roster has been decided, let’s take a player-by-player look.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Categories: 2011 Roster, Ryan Mink

The Ravens’ 53-man roster was set Saturday. Let’s take a player-by-player look at how it all fits together:

OFFENSE

Quarterback (2)

Joe Flacco: Entering his fourth season, Flacco’s the unquestioned leader of the offense. He wants to be more aggressive in the passing game, and the Ravens want him to lead them to a Super Bowl.

Tyrod Taylor: Flacco’s backup has impressed Ravens coaches throughout training camp with his poise, toughness and playmaking ability. He would provide quite a change of pace if Flacco were to go down.

Running Back (3)

Ray Rice: Rice is one of the game’s elite playmakers. Behind a revamped offensive line and new fullback, Rice has gained bigger chunks during the preseason and should improve on last year’s numbers.

Ricky Williams: The 12-year veteran will supply a big-bodied complement to Rice and is also superb in pass blocking and receiving out of the backfield, which makes him great in 3rd-and-long situations.

Anthony Allen: The seventh-round rookie beat out veteran Jalen Parmele due to his strong running this preseason. Allen could see some short-yardage situations, but more likely will help on special teams.

Fullback (1)

Vonta Leach: The Pro Bowler is a devastating blocker who just loves to hit people. He helped Arian Foster have a breakout 2010 season and plans on aiding Rice in doing the same in 2011.

Tight End (3)

Ed Dickson: A big, fast target who can expose the deep middle of the field, Dickson will become an integral target in 2011 as he and Dennis Pitta step into Todd Heap’s previous role.

Dennis Pitta: The sure-handed Pitta has a knack for finding openings in the defense, yet can also stretch the field. He and Dickson are both seen as starters by Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron.

Kris Wilson: An eight-year veteran, Wilson has a background more as a blocker than a receiver, which supplements his younger counterparts. He also has been providing veteran leadership.

Wide Recevier (6)

Anquan Boldin: Improved chemistry between Flacco and Boldin should help the Ravens’ top wideout notch bigger stats this season. He’s a physical football player and great in the red zone.

Lee Evans: The deep threat the Ravens have long desired is now in Baltimore. Evans can blow the top off a defense with his speed and has shown a good early connection with Flacco.

Torrey Smith: Despite some problems with preseason drops, Smith’s talent will be put to use as someone who can stretch the field both on deep passes and in turning short throws into long gains.

Tandon Doss: The sure-handed fourth-round rookie looks to be a chain-moving machine. He has a knack for getting open and also gets up the field quickly after making the catch.

David Reed: He must serve a one-game suspension, but after that, Reed could turn into another shifty, big-play option for the Ravens. He’s got great quickness and leaping ability to make plays.

LaQuan Williams: The undrafted free agent turned out to be a preseason gem, showing his playmaking skills as a receiver and punt returner. Williams figures to be a major special teams contributor.

Offensive Line (9*)

Bryant McKinnie (LT): Signed on Aug. 24, McKinnie has been working to get into game shape. The former first-round pick from Miami has the size (6-foot-8), talent and experience to excel.

Ben Grubbs (LG): Grubbs has been a Pro Bowl alternate the past two seasons and is looking to take that next step in 2011. He’s consistent and feeling good after an offseason ankle procedure.

Matt Birk (C): The biggest question with Birk is how well his knee will hold up after preseason surgery. When healthy, Birk is one of the NFL’s top technicians and a veteran starting anchor on the line.

Marshal Yanda (RG): Retaining the mauling Iowan was a major offseason priority for the Ravens. He brings the physical Baltimore brand of football and could have a Pro Bowl year in his natural position.

Michael Oher (RT): Oher excelled as a right tackle in his rookie season, bringing a nasty style that helped the Ravens have one of the top running games in the league. He has openly accepted the position shift.

Mark LeVoir (T): The veteran supplies experienced depth both at tackle and perhaps at guard, where he played during the third preseason game.

Jah Reid (T): A third-round rookie, Reid was competing for the starting job for most of camp before the McKinnie signing. He’s big, physical and athletic, but needs refinement on his technique.

Bryan Mattison (G/T): A former defensive lineman, Mattison pulled off a successful switch to offense and is on the active roster after three years on the practice squad. He’s a gritty competitor.

*Andre Gurode (C): The five-time Pro Bowler is slated to provide excellent depth behind Birk at center, and could perhaps slide to play some guard if needed. He’s coming off knee surgery as well.
*Officially signed Monday. One player will have to be waived after D. Reed suspension is lifted

DEFENSE

Defensive Tackle (5)

Haloti Ngata: The two-time Pro Bowler is one of the best defensive players in the game and a dominant force as a run stopper. He’s a growing factor in the pass-rush department.

Terrence Cody: In his second season, Cody will step in for Kelly Gregg as the starter at nose tackle. He’s a massive run stuffer who is also athletic enough to push the pocket.

Cory Redding: The veteran got better and better as last season went on and projects to be a starter along the line once again.

Arthur Jones: A year after playing in just two games, Jones is expected to mix in with Redding in 2011. Now trimmer and more explosive, he consistently got into the backfield during the preseason.

Brandon McKinney: Entering his sixth year, McKinney is a standout backup along the front lines. He also started four games last season, recording 10 tackles. He’ll work behind Cody.

Defensive End (3)

Pernell McPhee: Perhaps no Ravens draft pick showed up more in preseason games than McPhee, who logged one sack and nearly had three forced fumbles (all reversed after replay). If he keeps making plays, he could factor in as a pass-rushing option, and will also help on special teams.

Michael McAdoo: The 6-foot-7 specimen was a surprise addition to the 53-man roster, but the Ravens weren’t willing to risk losing that kind of talent, even if it is raw at this point. McAdoo could provide another pass-rush option as he continues to learn and grow.

Albert McClellan: The former Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year is a hard, sure tackler who shows his effort on every play. He could turn into a special teams monster.

Outside Linebacker (4)

Terrell Suggs: A year after notching 11 sacks, Suggs will look to maintain his Pro Bowl form. He’s looked just as impressive this preseason and could be aided by more help on the opposite side.

Jarrett Johnson: Entering his ninth season in Baltimore, Johnson said he feels healthier and stronger than last year when he was coming off shoulder surgery.

Paul Kruger: One of the highlights of the preseason, the former second-round pick seems to have flipped the switch and is consistently getting pressure. He could be a major pass-rushing factor.

Sergio Kindle: A year after missing the entire season due to a fractured skull, Kindle is at least on the field again. He’s an ideal special teams weapon and could be used as a pass-rushing specialist as he continues to rebound.

Inside Linebacker (5)

Ray Lewis: The ageless wonder is still a playmaker and of course a team leader. Lewis said he can’t imagine himself playing past 37 years old and is now 36, so this could be his final year.

Jameel McClain: In his first year as a starter, McClain had a breakout season that earned the former undrafted free agent a second-round tender. He may be the leader in the race to start next to Lewis.

Dannell Ellerbe: The former undrafted rookie has had a more mature outlook this season and could capitalize on his athletic potential. He’s a big thumper in the middle who has a nose for the football and will challenge McClain for starting time.

Brendon Ayanbadejo: The veteran is a standout special teamer who is also in phenomenal shape after a year spent returning from injury. He’s good in coverage and could fill in on third downs.

Jason Phillips: After excelling in the fourth preseason game, Phillips forced his way onto the roster. He’s a hard-nosed tackling machine who excels on special teams coverage.

Cornerback (6)

Domonique Foxworth: The Ravens’ top cornerback in 2009 returned from his season-ending knee injury a bit too fast and has since slowed down a bit. He’s a top-notch NFL cornerback when fully healthy.

Chris Carr: Once a nickel corner, Carr showed he can step in as a full-time starter last year and was re-signed this offseason. The smart, consistent corner could play outside or inside in 2011.

Jimmy Smith: The Ravens’ first-round draft pick has displayed his elite athleticism throughout the preseason. He’s tough to break when in press coverage and will likely have a bigger role as the season goes on and he learns the intricacies of the NFL.

Cary Williams: Last year’s special teams standout has forced his way onto the field with another good preseason. Williams is big and long, which plays into Baltimore’s desire to get more physical outside.

Lardarius Webb: Perhaps the team’s fastest cornerback, Webb is now completely healthy after returning from a knee injury last season. He adds another possible starter and more depth to the corps. Webb could also be the team’s punt returner.

Chykie Brown: The rookie from Texas should be a standout special teams member with his combination of size and speed. In a deep position, he likely won’t see too many defensive snaps, but has potential.

Safety (4)

Ed Reed: A year after finishing tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (8) in just 10 games, Reed is healthy and ready to play from the get-go. This could be his best season yet.

Tom Zbikowski: With Dawan Landry’s departure, Zbikowski will be relied on to help at strong safety. His strengths are in pass coverage, where he filled in as a starter for Reed at the start of last season.

Bernard Pollard: The free-agent addition has made an immediate impact. He’s a big hitter who is a wrecking ball against the run and when blitzing the quarterback. Coaches say Pollard and Zbikowski will play according to scheme.

Haruki Nakamura: He’s a smart, devoted worker that is one of the key members of the special teams unit. Nakamura is also versatile, as he can fill in as a safety or cornerback.

Specialists (3)

Billy Cundiff (K): The 2010 Pro Bowler will likely shatter his own touchbacks record and has been rock solid on his field goal attempts since making 89.7 percent of them last season.

Sam Koch (P): The Ravens’ punter arguably should have been in the Pro Bowl last year. Like Cundiff, he was re-signed to a long-term deal and will look to make Baltimore one of the top special teams units.

Morgan Cox (LS): Back from a season-ending knee injury, the accurate, strong snapper will pick up where he left off with his excellent connection with Cundiff and Koch.

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