Post-Draft Breakdown: Cornerbacks

What do the Ravens already have at cornerback, and what questions remain after the draft?

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 10:40 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

Cornerback is currently an interesting position for the Ravens – one with many differing factors that could go a number of ways.
 
They recently nailed one of the top talents in the NFL Draft in Colorado’s Jimmy Smith, who figures to start right away.
 
The veteran tandem around him – Domonique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb – could form a solid triumvirate in the secondary, which every team needs now in the pass-happy NFL.
 
But what about the group behind them?
 
It all depends on what happens with the current labor situation and what the Ravens do in free agency.
 
Here’s what is known and unknown, now that the draft is over:
 
What We Know…
 
The Ravens have high expectations of Smith, who dropped to 27th-overall because of perceived character concerns.
 
He might not start Week 1, but as a first-round draft pick, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder could be the big, lockdown corner that makes defensive coordinators drool.
 
We know that Webb and Foxworth will return, as they are both under contract. 
 
Webb should benefit from the added playing experience he saw in 15 games last year, making a full return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2009.
 
We also know that Foxworth is as close to 100-percent healthy as he can get, as he claimed before the collective bargaining agreement expired in March.  The seven-year veteran still has to test it in full-speed action, but Foxworth’s progress throughout rehabilitation was promising.
 
The Ravens also have some semblance of depth on their current roster, with Cary Williams and fifth-round draft pick Chykie Brown each having an opportunity to make the team. 
 
Both Williams and Brown have long arms and are aggressive, which are key skills at both corner and special teams.
 
What We Don’t Know…
 
Will the Ravens look to re-sign guaranteed unrestricted free agents Chris Carr and Fabian Washington, and potentially Josh Wilson, when the NFL and players negotiate a settlement?
 
Along with Webb, the Ravens had four corners last year, with Carr and Wilson starting the Ravens’ last eight regular-season games together.
 
Wilson’s three interceptions – including a game-winning pick 6 against the Houston Texans in Week 14 – and 15 pass deflections were a boost to a secondary that many pundits questioned heading into the season.
 
And many of those same pundits called Carr the Ravens’ best corner of 2010.
 
Should the Ravens want to look outside of the familiar stable of names via free agency, other options include the high-priced Nnamdi Asomugah., Pittsburgh’s Ike Taylor, Washington’s Carlos Rogers and Buffalo’s Drayton Florence, along with undrafted rookie Kendric Burney of North Carolina.

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