BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens experienced quite an interesting phenomenon last season when it comes to the corner-back position. Injuries plagued the position at an alarming rate. They recently reached an extension with Jimmy Smith that will ensure that one of the best young corners is around for years to come. Veteran corner Lardarius Webb agreed to reduce his salary to stay around as well. Webb battled a back injury for most of the season while Smith suffered a season ending foot injury. Asa Jackson is currently the top nickel corner; he is also coming off of a season ending injury.
The uncertainty at the position leads many to believe that the Ravens will address the corner-back position with their first selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. The team has said that they have looked closely at the position and that they like this year’s group of corners. There are particular things that the Ravens look for in corners but they do understand that those traits come in a range of sizes and styles.
Assistant general manager Eric Decosta spoke a couple of weeks ago at a pre-draft press conference. “We’ve looked at the corners, and we think it is a pretty good class. They come in all different shapes and sizes some guys play inside, some guys can do both. Some guys are big, some guys are small, some guys are fast, some guys are good with their hands.” DeCosta continued; “You want guys that are tough, you want guys that have ball skills, and you want to know what they can do for you. We want guys that bring something to the table for us in Baltimore, and they’ve got to be fast, they’ve got to be tough, they’ve got to be coach-able, smart, tough, disciplined and durable. Those [traits] are really what we look for.”
There have been many prospects tied to the Ravens throughout the draft season. Michigan State corner Trae Waynes is likely to be gone by the time the Ravens select. Here are the top five corner-back prospects that are likely to be available when the Ravens use the 26th selection:
- Marcus Peters Washington
Peters is the best press corner in this draft class. He is an excellent fit for the Ravens man scheme.
- Kevin Johnson Wake Forest
The local product is another outstanding press corner. He has excellent movement ability and is a tenacious defender.
- Jalen Collins LSU
Collins is more of a project but has the height, weight and speed that makes him a desirable project. He has limited starts at LSU but showed flashed.
- Eric Rowe Utah
Rowe is another long prospect. He showed surprising athleticism at the Combine. The former safety has said that he prefers to play corner because of his fondness for press coverage.
- P.J. Willliams Florida State
Williams faced his share of top receivers at Florida State and was asked to play press coverage against all of them. Before the 2015 season, he was one of the top corners in college football.
Just missed the cut:
Steven Nelson Oregon State
Ronald Darby FSU
Byron Jones Connecticut
DeVante Bausby Pittsburgh State