Five Ravens to watch in Thursday's preseason opener
The Ravens make their preseason debut Thursday night against the visiting Saints, but they'll likely be without their top draft pick from 2015.
No. 26 overall pick Breshad Perriman will likely be watching from the sidelines after missing 10 straight practices with a bruised knee. Head coach John Harbaugh hasn't ruled out his rookie receiver, but he remains doubtful to play.
Perriman's absence would give other receivers on the depth chart a chance to show what they can do. Here are five players to keep an eye on against New Orleans
Aiken gained the inside track on the starting receiving job opposite Steve Smith with a strong minicamp. Injuries to Perriman and Marlon Brown have widened the gap, but Aiken still needs to show he is capable of carrying the load. He probably won't get more than a quarter of work with Joe Flacco, but the Saints secondary could be for the taking.
The second-round tight end out of Minnesota is listed behind Crockett Gillmore, but this will be our first look at Williams' athletic ability on an NFL field. Gillmore flashed potential last season and has been the better player by far in camp, but he finished last year with just 10 catches. Ravens fans are dreaming of Williams becoming the second-coming of Rob Gronkowski, but filling Dennis Pitta's shoes would be a solid consolation prize.
Last year's fourth-round pick is battling it out with this year's fourth-rounder, Buck Allen, for the No. 2 running back spot behind Justin Forsett. Taliaferro arrived at camp looking leaner and he wants to be more than just a bruiser at the goal line. He has the edge in pass protection, but Allen has better skills as a receiver out of the backfield. Both Taliaferro and Allen should get their share of touches.
Schaub has had a disastrous camp so far, struggling with inaccuracy and interceptions. Harbaugh remains confident in his veteran backup, but Schaub hasn't been the same since finishing his seven-year run with the Texans on an interception binge. Flacco hasn't missed a game since becoming Baltimore's starter as a rookie, but if Schaub is ever forced into action, he needs to prove he can complete passes to his own teammates again.
Lewis-Moore returns to the lineup after missing his first two seasons with devastating injuries. The defensive end out of Notre Dame may be on his last shot to stick in Baltimore, but injuries along the defensive line could buy him some extra time. Brent Urban will be out 12-to-14 week after tearing his biceps last week and DeAngelo Tyson has been hampered this week with an undisclosed injury. Lewis-Moore, who tore his ACL in his last college game and ruptured his Achilles last preseason, will have to show that he still has the leg strength to play on the defensive line.