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Ravens Camp: The Linebackers

WHO’S IN CAMP:
- Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Dannell Ellerbe, Jarrett Johnson, Paul Kruger, Jameel McClain, Jason Phillips, Brendan Ayanbadejo, Tavares Gooden, Albert McClellan, Prescott Burgess, Antwan Barnes, Edgar Jones, Sergio Kindle (injured)

WHO’S ON THE BUBBLE:
- Jason Phillips, Brendan Ayanbadejo, Albert McClellan, Prescott Burgess, Edgar Jones

OPENING DAY ROSTER PREDICTION:
- Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Dannell Ellerbe, Jarrett Johnson, Paul Kruger, Jameel McClain, Brendan Ayanbadejo, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Sergio Kindle (PUP), Prescott Burgess

Summary:
The linebacking corps is headed by veteran Ray Lewis--you may have heard of him before. Entering his 15th season, Lewis will go to work with a strong supporting cast in veterans Jarrett Johnson, Terrell Suggs, and second-year standout Dannell Ellerbe.

Ellerbe is the most intriguing as he came to the Ravens as an undrafted free agent last season from the University of Georgia. He is entrenched in the position-battle to be Lewis’ sidekick; third-year backers Tavares Gooden and Jameel McClain are providing the competition. At the end of camp, however, look for Ellerbe to emerge as the opening day starter.

Antwan Barnes and Paul Kruger are both expected to have expanded roles this season; especially in terms of providing a pass-rush on third downs.

The interesting battle going on right now in camp is for the final few spots at the position. Undrafted rookie Albert McClellan is making a strong showing for a roster spot; but for that to happen, the Ravens would have to part ways with either Jason Phillips (drafted 5th round 2009), Prescott Burgess (drafted 6th round 2007), or Edgar Jones—a highly-versatile three-year veteran.

There has been some speculation that veteran Brendan Ayanbadejo could be the odd-man out, but that’s unlikely as he still plays at a high level on special teams—something John Harbaugh places very high on his value scale.

Phillips, who miss all of his rookie season due to injury, could very well be on the chopping block. While he hasn’t played poorly during camp, he has not done much to force the hand of the coaching staff.

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