Jumping the gun on the Ravens’ new season, Press Box’s Bo Smolka put together what he called a “highly unofficial two-deep, with projected starters and top backups” depth chart.
QB: Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson
RB: Alex Collins, Buck Allen
WR: Michael Crabtree, John Brown
WR: Willie Snead IV, Chris Moore
TE: Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle
LT: Ronnie Stanley, Andrew Donnal
LG: Alex Lewis, Jermaine Eluemunor
C: Matt Skura, Maurquice Shakir
RG: Marshal Yanda, Nico Siragusa
RT: James Hurst, Orlando Brown Jr.
[Notes: This lineup only shows 10 positions instead of 11, as it will change based on whether the Ravens use three receivers, two tight ends, two running backs, etc. Hurst appears ready to step in as the starting tight end right away, while Boyle would fill the blocking/H-back role. When the Ravens start with three receivers on the field, it appears the top guys are Crabtree, Brown and Snead. Says Smolka, “Crabtree and Brown would probably line up as the top two in a traditional set, but Snead and Moore were the most impressive during spring workouts and will be on the field a lot.”]
DE: Brent Urban, Chris Wormley
DT: Willie Henry, Michael Pierce
NT: Brandon Williams, Carl Davis
Rush: Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith
SLB: Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser
MLB: C.J. Mosley, Albert McClellan
WLB: Patrick Onwuasor, Kenny Young
LCB: Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young
RCB: Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr
FS: Eric Weddle, Chuck Clark
SS: Tony Jefferson, Anthony Levine
[Notes: While this defensive depth chart looks a lot like last year’s, there has been some reshuffling along the defensive line with Williams moving back to nose tackle, where he originally made a name for himself, and Henry overtaking Pierce for a starting role. There are no surprises at outside linebacker, inside linebacker or safety, essentially keeping the same lineup as last season. At cornerback, Smolka sees second-year Humphrey taking over the starting job opposite Smith with Carr, an 11-year veteran, moving into a backup role, even though he’ll likely see the field plenty.]
Wishful thinking maybe, but Smolka’s premature depth chart looks decent enough in talent and experience across the board to give Ravens fans some optimism after several disappointing seasons. Of course the key is keeping everyone healthy, something which seems improbable based on recent historical tendencies.
Also, perhaps not shocking to point out, the Ravens plan to make Lamar Jackson active each gameday, but Smolka correctly has Flacco as the starting quarterback. You may see Jackson actually catching a pass in the NFL before he actually throws one.