It’s a surprising move from a franchise that is usually loathe to cut their own draft selections – especially rookies – just a few months after the Ravens picked Badie in the sixth round of the 2022 draft.
After serving as the University of Missouri’s bellcow back with 322 touches in 2021, Badie was pegged for an early role in Baltimore’s backfield with Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins still recovering from last season’s injuries.
The former Tiger earned praise from observers and coaches throughout training camp and the preseason, especially for his ability to contribute in the passing game.
However, Badie didn’t flash as rusher or receiver in preseason, with 23 carries for 65 yards and four catches for 14 yards. He was outplayed by 2019 fourth-rounder Justice Hill, who made a successful recovery from a 2021 Achilles tear to return as a special teams and passing down contributor in Baltimore.
It seems that Badie was released in favor of running back Kenyan Drake, who is expected to sign with the Ravens this week. Drake was one of several veteran backs to become available in recent days – along with Marlon Mack and Sony Michel – so the Ravens likely figured that Badie would be able clear waivers and be added to the practice squad.
It’s a gamble – Badie could get claimed to another team’s 53-man roster – but with multiple more proven running backs on the market, the Ravens are hoping to sneak the rookie onto their practice squad. If there are any setbacks to either Dobbins or Edwards, Badie could quickly find himself back in the Ravens’ plans for this season.
Ravens Waive Mason, McCrary
The Ravens made additional moves to clear out their backfield on Tuesday, waiving fullback Ben Mason and running back Nate McCrary.
Mason was a controversial 2021 fifth-rounder who didn’t make Baltimore’s 53-man roster as a rookie and instead joined the New England Patriots’ practice squad. He re-signed with the Ravens in the offseason, but so did Patrick Ricard on a four-year deal, blocking Mason’s path to a roster spot.
McCrary spent most of 2021 on the Ravens’ practice squad as an undrafted rookie, only making one appearance with just one carry. He re-signed with the Ravens in 2022 but failed to distinguish himself during the preseason.
Both Mason and McCrary could return to Baltimore’s practice squad, though McCrary may not get a spot if Badie clears waivers.
Undrafted Auburn LB Also Cut
The Ravens also waived undrafted rookie linebacker Zakoby McClain, a former Auburn standout who earned second-team All-SEC honors as a senior. McClain finished with 10 tackles in the preseason but was clearly outplayed by fellow undrafted rookie Josh Ross.
Ross’ special teams prowess and quick trigger on defense earned him a roster spot, as Jim Harbaugh revealed on Monday night. Third-year linebacker and special teams ace Kristian Welch also made the team for a second year in a row.
The NFL’s 2022 expansion of practice squads to 16 players could mean that the Ravens have room to retain McClain if he clears waivers.