COMMENTARY | The beginning of 2013 training camp is just under two weeks away for the Baltimore Ravens. For the defending Super Bowl champions, their roster is nearly set.
There will likely be a free agent signing or trade before the season begins, but for the most part, the team will assemble it's final 53-man roster from the players currently under contract.
While this could change any day with a signing or two, here is a pre-training camp roster prediction:
Quarterbacks (2): Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor - while the Ravens have veteran Caleb Hanie on the roster, it's unlikely that they will use a third roster spot on a quarterback given Flacco's nonexistent injury history.
Running Backs/Fullback: (4): Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen, Kyle Juszczyk - Allen's special teams play will earn him a roster spot, and Juszczyk takes over as a hybrid fullback and tight end.
Wide Receivers (7): Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, Tandon Doss, David Reed, Aaron Mellette - ultimately the team's depth and need for several contributors in the passing game could lead to seven receivers making the team, opening the door for seventh-round pick Aaron Mellette.
Tight Ends (3): Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Billy Bajema - the Ravens re-signed Bajema when they released Vonta Leach, and he will battle with rookie Matt Furstenburg for the third tight end spot.
Offensive Linemen (9): Bryant McKinnie, Michael Oher, Gino Gradkowski, Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, Ricky Wagner, A.Q. Shipley, Ramon Harewood, Morgan Cox - the biggest omission is Ryan Jensen, who may not be able to contribute right away. The Ravens could find a way to put him on injured reserve, similar to how they handled Tommy Streeter last season. Veteran Jah Reid may fall victim to a numbers game in the competition to make the team.
Defensive Linemen (7): Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty, Arthur Jones, Brandon Williams, Marcus Spears, Pernell McPhee, Deangelo Tyson - defensive line is perhaps Baltimore's deepest position. While McPhee is learning to play outside linebacker, he is still versatile enough to contribute as a defensive end as well. The team may move on from Terrence Cody before the season begins.
Linebackers (9): Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, John Simon, Courtney Upshaw, Arthur Brown, Daryl Smith, Jameel McClain, Josh Bynes, Albert McClellan - the biggest uncertainty right now is who will win the two starting jobs at inside linebacker.
Cornerbacks (5): Lardarius Webb, Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson - the notable omission is seventh-round pick Marc Anthony, who will face an uphill battle to make the final roster.
Safeties (5): Michael Huff, Matt Elam, James Ihedigbo, Omar Brown, Christian Thompson - while Thompson is suspended for the first four games of the season, there aren't any legitimate contenders for a roster spot besides the five projected to make the team.
Kicker (1): Justin Tucker - the Ravens aren't bringing any competition in for Tucker, and after going through a grueling training camp competition last season, the kicker job in Baltimore is Tucker's for the long run.
Punter (1): Sam Koch - Like Tucker, Koch's job is as safe as can be heading into the season. The Ravens didn't feel the need to bring in competition for Koch, and he'll go through training camp without any pressure.
Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He is the co-host of Ravens Central Radio and is the editor of Cat Crave.
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