Derek Cox: The Answer At Cornerback For The Baltimore Ravens?
By Eric Misotti
Sep 22, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Derek Cox (22) defends a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Chargers 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
On Wednesday the Ravens brought in Journeyman cornerback Derek Cox on a one-year deal worth $775,000. This is a move that adds depth to the position, but does very little to solve their problems at the position.
Even though Cox, a third round pick in the 2009 draft, is an upgrade over Dominique Franks, it is still a huge risk to go with him as the No. 3 corner. If the Ravens lose a starter to injury and are forced to play Cox with the starting defense then this team could be in big trouble.
Although Cox showed flashes of being a starting cornerback with the Jaguars from 2009-12, he turned out to be one of the biggest bust of the 2013 free agency when the Chargers signed him to a four year, $19.8 million dollar contract. Since the contract, he has been cut by both the Chargers and the Vikings.
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It is no secret that the Ravens are thin at the cornerback position aside from starters Ladarius Webb and Jimmy Smith. Coming into training camp, one of the top positional battles was for the 3rd cornerback spot between Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson. Thus far, Brown has had a very below average camp and it looks like Asa Jackson will be the man for the job come week one.
Each starter has sustained an injury during camp which has raised the question of who will be there to fill in. For the second straight game, the Ravens are going with Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks as their starting cornerbacks, who have both struggled mightily to produce at a high level.
Although the signing adds both depth and competition at cornerback, there is a reason Cox has been cut twice in five months. The Ravens have not been shy in the past about taking on struggling players as reclamation projects but do not expect this to be the answer at cornerback for the team. Ozzie and Co. will be more active in the market as players start to get cut and he can gauge the interest of the league in potential trades.
I would expect the Ravens to bring in at least one or two more players to compete at the position and add depth just in case Webb or Smith were to go down with injury. Even after the Cox signing, cornerback continues to be the most glaring need for a defense that is expected to produce at a high level in 2014.