Baltimore Ravens: 3 players poised for big sophomore seasons
By Joe Schiller
Few expected the Ravens to target a cornerback with their first pick in the draft last season but that’s exactly the direction Ozzie Newsome went. Looking back, it was an extremely wise decision and in a small sample size, Marlon Humphrey has shown the traits to be a No. 1 corner.
Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr were the primary starters at the beginning of the season but Humphrey quickly worked himself into an important role. In small spurts, he showed flashes and potential, matching up with the top receivers from opposing teams. More confidence warranted more playing time and it proved to be vital. When Jimmy Smith suffered a torn Achilles in Week 13, Humphrey was called upon.
Humphrey thoroughly outplayed Carr down the final stretch of the season despite customary rookie growing pains. Pro Football Focus ranked him as one of the top rookie cornerbacks and he allowed the fifth-lowest catch percentage among the position.
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As Smith continues to recover, the Ravens were smart to exercise Carr’s 2018 team option. But going forward, the confidence in Humphrey will continue to grow and he’ll be expected to act as one of the team’s top secondary players. If last season was any glimpse at what’s to come, Humphrey will be the Ravens’ No. 1 this season.