Ravens Could Get Physical At Corner

Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams can provide the Ravens with rare size on the edge.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

Heading into the 2011 campaign, the Ravens are getting a good look at a luxury many NFL teams covet in Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams.

With several of their veteran corners getting time off recently, the Ravens have trotted out the 6-foor-2, 210-pound Smith and 6-foot-1, 190-pound Williams with their starters.

The sight of the two big, physical corners grappling with the Ravens’ wideouts inside the 5-yard contact zone has Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano smiling.

“When they prance out there, it’s very comforting,” said Pagano.  “You’ve got two 6-1, 6-2 guys out there with long arms and guys that can run. It makes it really difficult [for opposing offenses].

“When you play tight coverage, it forces the quarterback to put it in tight windows and makes it really hard for the receivers to get off the line. They’ve got to earn everything, so those guys are doing a great job.”

Should he continue his solid play during the preseason, Smith has a shot at starting Week 1.  The first-round draft pick has the rare combination of speed, strength and length.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Smith ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times.

The All-American from Colorado has enjoyed using those attributes on the practice field.

“These receivers run right into you and throw you off of them,” Smith said.  “I like it. I like the physicality of it.” 

Williams boast similar measurables to Smith.  Coming out of Washburn University, Williams ran the 40 in 4.43 seconds and possesses the long arms that help keep opposing wideouts at bay.

“I think it’s definitely an advantage,” said Williams.  “It’s not every day you see guys over 6 feet at corner. I feel like we’ve got good physical attributes – height, length, rangy and can run.  That is scary, especially when you’re going up against guys who have smaller receivers.”

A former practice-squadder with the Tennessee Titans, Williams figures to be a contributor in nickel and dime packages while performing on special teams, mainly because the Ravens have a deep cornerback group that includes Domonique Foxworth, Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb.

That doesn’t mean Williams isn’t competing for a starting role, however.

“I don’t worry about the depth chart and all that stuff,” he explained.  “I just come out here and try to be a pro and stack good practices on top of good practices.

“It’s hard to make this team as a corner.  We don’t have any slouches.  We know what we have here, and there’s a unity to this group.”

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