The Ravens close out their three-game preseason on Saturday, Aug. 28, at Washington, which will give those on the roster bubble one final chance to state their case for inclusion on the 53-man roster.
The Ravens must slash their roster from 80 players to 53 by Aug. 31 at 4 p.m.
With OTAs and nearly a month of training camp in the books, virtually every roster spot is already spoken for, but a late twist, such as the trade of rookie cornerback Shaun Wade, can create opportunity. Plus, performance on the field can make a difference. Defensive lineman Michael Pierce, then an undrafted rookie, made the team in large part because of a breakout game in the preseason finale in 2016.
With one game remaining, here are three players on the roster bubble who could most benefit from a strong game against Washington:
CB NIGEL WARRIOR
Warrior spent last year on the Ravens’ practice squad as an undrafted safety from Tennessee, and then this spring and summer has worked as a cornerback. “We know he can play safety,” defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said early in training camp. “Now we’re going to see where he’s at corner-wise, and he’s done a nice job.”
At one point, Warrior was buried on the Ravens’ deep cornerback depth chart, but in the past couple of weeks, Iman Marshall and Khalil Dorsey were placed on injured reserve, Davontae Harris was released, and now Wade has been traded.
Warrior missed about a week of practice and the preseason opener with a knee injury, then tied for the team lead in tackles (4), including one for a loss, and broke up a pass in the 20-3 win at Carolina. That lost practice time surely didn’t help his chances, but another strong game could put him right in the conversation for a final roster spot.
S AR’DARIUS WASHINGTON
Like Warrior, Washington’s chances to make the team ticked upward in light of Wade being traded to New England. Of the undrafted rookie free agents in camp this year, Washington has the best chance to make the team. The Ravens love his instincts and his nose for the ball, which help compensate for his undersized (5-foot-8, 176 pounds) frame. A safety by training, Washington can also line up as a nickel defender, giving the Ravens a backup option to Tavon Young.
The Ravens are already four deep at safety with Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott, Brandon Stephens and Anthony Levine, and second-year safety Geno Stone has made a strong push as well. Washington played 10 special teams snaps against Carolina, among the highest on the team, so a good performance in that phase would be a big help.
RB TY’SON WILLIAMS
Williams has been gaining fast on Justice Hill for the No. 3 running back job, and with Hill still sidelined by an ankle injury, Williams has one more chance to seize it at Washington. Williams has 20 carries for 89 yards this preseason, including his tackle-breaking, 20-yard touchdown at Carolina that head coach John Harbaugh called “a great football run.”
Williams (6-0, 220), who spent virtually all last year on the practice squad, has been consistent and physical this summer as a rusher, receiver and blocker. However, he played just three special teams snaps at Carolina, and that’s a role the No. 3 running back will have. His biggest task now is convincing Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Chris Horton that he can handle that part of the job.
“I just want to see how he goes out, how he executes our game plan, and the things we’re asking him to do,” Horton said earlier this week. “Is he being physical? Is he running? That’s just a really big part of what we do. If you can do those things and you earn a spot on this team, well, then, you know what? We’ll find a role for you.”
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