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Mailbag: Would Ravens start Rashaan Melvin over Lardarius Webb?

As we wait for the Baltimore Ravens' preseason to kick off Thursday night, let's click open the Twitter mailbag ...

@jamisonhensley: Not at all, and Lardarius Webb isn't a lock to start. He hasn't played well in training camp, and he looks like he's lost a step. Webb said he failed the conditioning test (which is essentially a running test) because he put on extra muscle. But he can't get beat deep as badly as he did against rookie Darren Waller, who is not known for his speed. I would say Webb remains the favorite to start opposite Jimmy Smith because of his experience, and he's been taking first-team reps in camp. The Ravens, though, won't hesitate to go with Rashaan Melvin if Webb struggles in the preseason. Melvin exceeded expectations as a fill-in starter last season, and coach John Harbaugh considers him "a pit bull." This is something that bears watching over the next four weeks.

@jamisonhensley: Rookie first-round pick Breshad Perriman is certainly falling behind. He hasn't practiced since injuring his knee in the first practice of training camp. As one NFL coach used to tell me, if training camp practices were meaningless, no one would be having them. The question is how much has Perriman fallen behind. The Ravens believe he'll keep up with the offense because he's a smart player. Still, he's losing valuable reps with quarterback Joe Flacco. This is the time of the year when quarterbacks and receivers develop their rapport. That's why the Ravens need him to get back on the field as soon as possible. @jamisonhensley: Darren Waller, a rookie sixth-round pick, keeps making plays this camp, which is why the Ravens have given him first-team reps. Known more for his size (6-feet-6) than his speed, he has surprised cornerbacks with his ability to get down the sideline. Waller told a team official that he always wanted to be fast for his size. Now, he just wants to be fast. Whether he makes the team depends on how many receivers the Ravens are planning to keep. If Baltimore decides to carry six, Waller is battling Jeremy Butler, Aldrick Robinson and DeAndre Carter for the final spot. It's been a 50-50 proposition for sixth-round picks to make the 53-man roster under coach John Harbaugh. Since 2008, four of the eight sixth-rounders (safety Haruki Nakamura, guard Ramon Harewood, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and center-guard Ryan Jensen) have made the team.

@jamisonhensley: No. Justin Forsett is going to be the starting running back for the Ravens if he's healthy. His experience and patience fits the Ravens' stretch zone-blocking scheme well. Forsett looks great in camp, and there's no reason to doubt that he'll be a force once again. That said, the Ravens' young backs have been solid. Lorenzo Taliaferro looks faster after dropping weight since last season, and rookie Buck Allen has been more elusive than many thought. Still, Forsett tops the depth chart.

@jamisonhensley: DeAndre Carter has the best shot, but this could be one of the rare years where an undrafted rookie isn't on Baltimore's 53-man roster. Carter will have to make the team as the returner, and that means unseating early favorite Michael Campanaro. A lot can change before the Ravens make their final cuts Sept. 5. There's plenty of time for someone to surprise.