After losing top cornerback Domonique Foxworth for the season to a torn ACL, the Ravens needed some help in the secondary.
Thus, with multiple highly-regarded cornerbacks in the free agent market, including Fred Smoot and Shawn Springs, the Ravens used the flexibility of a year without a salary cap and an open roster spot to sign……Chris Hawkins. The former LSU Tiger, who was cut by the Jaguars in July after they signed him as an undrafted free agent, has been brought in to help bolster the Ravens’ secondary. With this pickup, the Ravens placed veteran free agent signing Walt Harris on the IR, ending his season with the Ravens, and probably his NFL career.
Read on to see what the Ravens’ cornerback corps is looking like now.
Click “Continue Reading” as Joe will take you on a magical ride through the ever-confusing maze that is the Ravens’ defensive secondary.
First, let’s just take a look at the depth chart. This is my projection, but if everything goes according to plan, it should be pretty right on. More on the asterisks next to two of the names in a bit.
|Fabian Washington||5’11”||175 lbs.||5 years|
|Lardarius Webb*||5’10”||180 lbs.||1 year|
|Chris Carr||5’10”||185 lbs.||6 years|
|Travis Fisher||5’10”||194 lbs.||9 years|
|Cary Williams**||6’1”||185 lbs.||2 years|
|Chris Hawkins||6’0”||186 lbs.||Rookie|
|K.J. Gerard||6’1”||192 lbs.||1 year|
Now, you may be thinking to yourself: “Who? I don’t know half of these players.” Well, self-proclaimed #1 fan with the Ravens flag waving at your house, don’t feel too bummed out about it. Other than Fisher, who the Ravens quietly signed this offseason, the guys below Chris Carr don’t have much more experience than special teams. And if nothing changes in terms of personnel, they may be required to play several downs a game. The more intriguing facts, however, are that only one of these guys was a first round pick (Washington, 23rd overall), two were undrafted free agents (Hawkins, Gerard) and one was a 7th-rounder (Williams).
Let’s take a quick gander at the two players with asterisks next to their names. These asterisks show just how delicate this situation is as Lardarius Webb is nursing a torn ACL and has an unknown return date, and Cary Williams will be out of action for the first two games of the season, being that he was suspended by the NFL. When you take into account those two absences (Webb may not miss regular season time, that remains to be seen), it puts even more pressure on the unproven guys at the bottom of the depth chart to step up.
Whether the Ravens make another move remains to be seen. As you can see in that depth chart, the current crop is weak, and without upgrades, it may be a bumpy ride in the secondary all season long. Domonique Foxworth was supposed to be the leader, and become one of the NFL’s best this season. He tore his ACL and is on IR. Walt Harris was supposed to provide some insurance for the corps. He has all sorts of injuries and issues, and he is on the IR.
The Ravens are always into the “Next Man Up” slogan, but in this case, the BEST Man Up would be a free agent. If you can get a Smoot or Springs, awesome. If you have to settle for something less, that’s alright. But being the genius he is, Ozzie Newsome can’t take a look at that depth chart and truthfully saythat the Ravens’ cornerback corps is as good as it needs to be to contend for a Super Bowl, and that’s the level it needs to be at this year. I applaud the pickup of Hawkins for some additional depth, but depth is depth. What the Ravens need now is proven NFL talent with a track record that can be comparable to most cornerbacks in the league. Right now, that’s maybe one or two guys, both of whom are recovering from torn ACLs (Washington and Webb). Chris Carr has been stepping up during training camp, and that is absolutely necessary. While he and Washington have looked good in camp, there’s no way they can carry the weight of Foxworth, Harris, and (maybe) Webb.
You better hold on, Ravens fans, it’s gonna be a rocky ride in Baltimore.