Breaking Down the Ravens’ 2021 Practice Squad

Ravens Trace McSorley

Getty Baltimore Ravens practice squad quarterback Trace McSorley takes reps during training camp at M&T Bank Stadium in July.

The Baltimore Ravens have added 14 players to their practice squad, according to the team’s official roster, with a healthy mix of youngsters and veterans to provide extra depth to the team this season.

The NFL has adopted flexible roster rules for the second season in a row, expanding the practice squad to a maximum of 16 players, up from 10 in years past, and allowing more veterans than in previous seasons.

The Ravens have taken advantage of the expansion, keeping the maximum of six players with more than two accrued NFL season on their practice squad, filling out the rest of the spots with early-career players.

With the Delta variant still spreading rampantly across the United States, the coronavirus is likely to impact the NFL season, especially since games will not be postponed due to any team’s COVID-19 outbreak. Teams can elevate two players from the practice squad to the active roster the day before a game without needing to remove any currently-rostered players.

Here is the full breakdown of the Ravens current practice squad.

Anthony Levine Sr., Defensive Back/Linebacker

‘Co-Cap,’ a longtime locker room leader in Baltimore, will return to the team for a 10th season, serving as a serviceable depth piece and valuable mentor for the Ravens’ strong but young secondary. While Levine’s contributions on defense have waned in recent years, he remains an asset on special teams should the Ravens seen any injuries to that unit. He’s made some memorable appearances for the Ravens over the years, including a game-sealing interception against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018.

He also showed off his special teams prowess with this 60-yard rush on a fake punt during the Ravens’ season-opening drubbing of the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

Beloved by teammates and coaches alike, Levine’s presence will continue to have a steadying impact on the Ravens this season.

Trace McSorley, Quarterback

McSorley was the Ravens’ third-string quarterback in 2019 and 2020 and came into training camp looking to establish himself as the team’s backup quarterback behind Lamar Jackson. A back injury limited the Penn State product’s preseason availability, and the stellar play of Tyler Huntley put McSorley on the chopping block once the Ravens decided to keep just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. Don’t be surprised to see him elevated to the active roster as an insurance policy against an injury to Jackson or Huntley.

Jordan Richards, Safety

Richards, who won Super Bowl LII with the New England Patriots, was cut by the Ravens on August 23 after being outplayed by the Ravens’ younger defensive backs. He played 79% of the Ravens’ special teams snaps last season, but hasn’t appeared regularly on an NFL defense since 2018 with the Atlanta Falcons. He’s another candidate to be activated for game days given the premium the Ravens place on special teams play.

Andre Smith, Offensive Tackle

Smith, the sixth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, was signed by the Ravens in 2020, but opted out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He re-signed in Baltimore this season and came into camp competing for the swing tackle spot, but failed to distinguish himself in the preseason. He was cut alongside Richards, but returns to the practice squad as an emergency option at OT.

Justin Ellis, Defensive Tackle

Weighing in at 350 pounds, ‘Jelly’ is a mammoth DT who had several productive seasons as an Oakland Raider before arriving in Baltimore in 2019. He only played in four games during his first season as a Raven, but stepped up in 2020 when injuries impacted the Ravens’ defensive line, playing 34% of the team’s defensive snaps. Depth at other positions prevented Ellis from making the 53-man roster, but his experience and run-blocking prowess makes him a valuable depth piece on the practice squad.

Chris Smith, Outside Linebacker

Smith signed in Baltimore at the end of July to bolster the team’s edge defender corps, with an outside chance to make the team. Once the Ravens signed Justin Houston, however, Smith’s path to the 53-man roster became extremely difficult. He failed to stand out in the preseason, leading to his release on August 31. The Ravens have six OLBs on the roster after re-signing Pernell McPhee this week, so it would likely take more than one injury for Smith to see significant game time this season.

Jaylon Moore, Wide Receiver

Moore signed with the Ravens after going undrafted in 2020 and spent the year on the team’s practice squad. Moore had a solid training camp, but the Ravens’ newfound receiver depth prevented him from making the roster. Baltimore’s wideouts did struggle with injuries during the preseason, so Moore could be elevated to the active roster if his fellow receivers suffer any setbacks.

Binjimen Victor, Wide Receiver

Victor spend his rookie season on the New York Giants‘ practice squad after going undrafted out of Ohio State. Victor’s solid preseason wasn’t enough to earn him a roster spot, but a strong showing against the Washington Football Team on August 28 turned more than a few heads. The former Buckeye caught all five of his targets for 85 yards and a leaping touchdown, albeit against Washington’s backups. Like Moore, he could get activated during the season if the Ravens’ other wideouts can’t stay healthy.

Devin Gray, Wide Receiver

Gray, the third wideout on the Ravens’ practice squad, signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2018 after going undrafted out of Cincinnati. The former Bearcat spent his first two NFL seasons on the Falcons’ practice squad before signing with the Ravens in June. Of the three receivers on the practice squad, Gray is probably the lowest on the totem pole. He’s unlikely to see the field in Baltimore this season.

Adrian Ealy, Offensive Tackle

After declining to take an OT during the 2021 NFL Draft, the Ravens leapt at the chance to sign the undrafted Ealy out of Oklahoma. He earned a 81.0 grade on 421 pass-block snaps from Pro Football Focus in 2020 on his way to a second-team All Big-12 selection. Ealy played well in the preseason, but failed to emerge as the Ravens’ best option at swing tackle, logging only seven snaps in pass protection. His year-over-year improvement as a Sooner could make him a part of the team’s future plans at right tackle if he can continue his development as a pro.

Tony Poljan, Tight End

Poljan signed with the Ravens after going undrafted out of UVA. A jumbo tight end who knows how to use his 6-foot-7, 257-pound frame, Poljan is a perfect fit in a Baltimore offense that values its tight ends. He logged a 69.4 run-block grade in college and showed strength and intelligence as a blocker in the preseason. On most teams, he’d need a lot of development as a receiver to earn snaps, but he landed in the best spot possible, as the Ravens’ run-focused offense uses heavy sets with multiple tight ends more than any other team in the NFL.

Blake Gallagher, Linebacker

Gallagher went undrafted out of Northwestern and tried out with the Ravens back in May, but failed to earn an offer from Baltimore or any other team. He earned a second-team All-Big Ten selection after a solid 2020 season that saw him lead the Wildcats with 9.5 tackles for loss. With the Ravens scrambling for linebacker depth after L.J. Fort’s season-ending injury, Gallagher’s high motor and powerful tackling make him a solid fit on the Ravens.

Jake Verity, Kicker

Verity was an early preseason standout for the Ravens, hitting three field goals and two extra points in two games against the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, including a 53-yarder. That stirred up speculation that the Ravens could trade him to a kicker-needy team, a belief shared by Baltimore’s All-Pro kicker Justin Tucker. He hit all four of his extra points against Washington, but missed a 40-yard field goal, and the Ravens were unable to garner any interest from other teams.

Johnny Townsend, Punter

Townsend was drafted, a rarity for punters, by the Raiders in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He averaged 43.2 yards per punt in his rookie year, but was waived by Oakland prior to the 2019 season. Townsend briefly signed with the Ravens during the 2020 preseason, eventually joining the Kansas City Chiefs‘ practice squad. The Ravens signed him in December 2020 after longtime starting punter Sam Koch was placed on the COVID-19 list, playing one game for Baltimore.