The 10 best cornerbacks in the history of the Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens' defensive history is rich with talent in the secondary.
Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens
Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens have built a winning culture throughout the decades on the back of strong defenses. While some of their best players have been up front in the box, they have continuously churned out solid cornerback play to help create some of the most effective units of their respective eras.

The Ravens' best defensive backs have often played safety, but the last three decades have produced a handful of cornerbacks that used to give receivers nightmares over the years. Considering how well Baltimore has developed talent at this position over the years, the future looks bright.

These 10 players have put the work in and established themselves as the best cornerbacks in franchise history. Depending on how players like much-hyped neophytes Nate Wiggins and T.J. Tampa perform, this list could have some movement in the years to come.

Criteria for selection

These cornerbacks were chosen based on a combination of:

  • Statistical Achievements
  • Impact on Success
  • Longevity
  • Memorable Moments

The top 10 cornerbacks in Baltimore Ravens history

10. Brandon Stephens

Stephens has been a contributor for three seasons in an elite Baltimore defense, which is more than can be said for most third-round picks. Stephens went from a toolsy player with a lack of clarity as to his role in the pros to someone who is asked to single-cover some of the best in the game often.

Stephens is on track to earn a fairly sizable contract in the coming years, as he will mix it up with anyone as a tackler while recording his first two interceptions in 2023. If his ball skills continue to develop, Stephens could be both a much-improved player and a long-term asset for Zach Orr and the Ravens.

9. Cary Williams

A Division II player who was cast aside by the Titans in 2009, the former Washburn Ichabod had a journeyman career that included five teams in eight seasons. His fondest memories in the NFL are with the Ravens, as he rose from a core special teamer to a playmaker on the outside who earned a big contract with the Eagles.

Williams would ultimately record four interceptions in 50 games with the Ravens, starting every game for two straight years. After winding down his career in Philadelphia, Williams can look back fondly on his days with the Ravens, especially as it pertains to his efforts in securing a championship.

Between intercepting Tom Brady to send the Ravens to the Super Bowl and holding down the fort in the regular season, Williams is forever immortalized as a Ravens champion.

8. Samari Rolle

One of many Rolles who have made it to the NFL, Samari may be more fondly remembered by Tennessee Titans fans after making an All-Pro team during his seven-season stint. After his time in Nashville was up, Rolle managed to make Baltimore a second home, establishing himself instantly as one of the best CB2s in the league in the late 2000s.

Rolle picked off eight passes in four seasons with the Ravens, becoming one of just a few cornerbacks who sustained high-level play in both his 20s and 30s. While quarterback instability made it difficult for him to taste the same level of postseason success as others on this list, that doesn't negate his overall play.

7. Brandon Carr

While his final year in Baltimore wasn't amazing, Carr was a beloved member of the clubhouse who was the most durable defensive back of his era. Carr did not miss a game due to injury for 11 straight seasons, and he contributed to Ravens teams that won 33 regular season games in his three seasons.

Carr may not have had the best performance during his final year with the Ravens, but his overall tenure was quite impressive. Carr recorded six interceptions, two sacks, and 150 tackles during his three seasons with Baltimore, providing the veteran stability and cohesion the Ravens thought they were getting when they signed him.

6. Marcus Peters

The Peters era may have ended poorly in Baltimore, but let's not forget how dynamic he was when he first arrived in town. Only three Ravens cornerbacks have ever been named to the Pro Bowl, and Peters (who arrived via a huge in-season trade with the Rams) is one of them.

Peters was named a First-Team All-Pro in a 2019 season spent primarily with the Ravens. Peters, who led the league in interception yardage thanks to three pick-sixes, had a legitimate claim to the title of best cornerback in the NFL that year. Ultimately, peters had eight interceptions in 36 Ravens games.

Peters isn't higher on the list due to how brief his tenure was, as he started to fall off in 2022 and was cut by the Raiders after a poor 2023 season. While it's sad to see him fall off so quickly, his peak was so impressive that it made him one of the main reasons Baltimore was as dominant as they were.

5. Duane Starks

The legendary 2000 Ravens defense is known more for an elite defensive line and Ray Lewis having perhaps the most outstanding season a middle linebacker has ever put together, but the secondary was just as deadly for opposing quarterbacks. Throwing on Starks and Chris McAlister was a tall order.

In just four seasons with the Ravens, the No. 10 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft recorded a mind-boggling 20 interceptions. Between the 1999 and 2001 seasons, Starks defended 56 passes (including 23 in the 2000 campaign) to make himself one of the premier play disruptors in the league.

The 2000 defense eventually broke up, with Starks signing a contract with the Cardinals after 2001. Much like Peters, the fall-off was immediate and sharp, as injuries limited him to just 35 games in five seasons. No matter what else happened in his career, Starks will remain a Ravens legend.

4. Lardarius Webb

Webb is one of the great what-ifs in Ravens history. While he was a dynamic playmaker at both cornerback and safety late in his career, Webb was beset by injuries at the peak of his powers. If only the Webb we saw during the 2011 season was able to withstand the bumps and bruises of the NFL.

In that season, Webb was rarely targeted. When he was, he often picked up one of his five interceptions. Webb was a true No. 1 cornerback who was great year after year, but never got the hype from the rest of the league that his play clearly warranted.

Webb missed 14 games in the next three years due to injuries (primarily an ACL tear in 2012), and his inability to recapture his speed helped facilitate a transition over to safety. Webb is a lifelong Raven and has nearly a decade of memories, but it's fair to wonder how truly great he could have been if his peak was longer.

3. Jimmy Smith

Smith was one of the most perpetually underrated players in the game during his 11-year tenure with the Ravens. While he was never an All-Pro player, Smith overcame a host of injuries to become a terrific playmaker who was tasked with shutting down some of the best receivers in the AFC.

Smith is another case of injuries robbing a Ravens corner from becoming truly elite. Smith played 11 seasons in Baltimore, but he played more than 12 games in a season just twice and played 10 or fewer three times. Even in limited action, Smith was able to keep earning spots as a starting corner thanks to his size and consistency.

When it was all said and done, Smith walked away from football with 374 tackles, 74 passes defended, and 14 interceptions. Another member of the secondary for Baltimore's second Super Bowl, Baltimore having Smith, Webb, and Williams in their starting defenses suffocated even the best playmakers.

2. Marlon Humphrey

Humphrey has quickly become one of the game's better cornerbacks when his body will allow it. After coming to the NFL with a fair degree of hype, the former Alabama star has lived up to the hype. Heading into the next few years, Humphrey should be viewed as a key member of the team's new-look secondary.

Humphrey has been a Pro Bowl player three times and a First-Team All-Pro selection, and he's still in his late 20s. Humphrey has both 13 interceptions and 13 forced fumbles, furthering his reputation as a playmaker who can turn the tide of a game with a well-timed punch or well-timed jump of a route.

No. 44's contract situation and the recent selection of Nate Wiggins leave some serious ambiguity in his status going forward. While he's here, however, Ravens fans should enjoy a high-level performer with a knack for causing turnovers doing what he does best on a team looking to win now.

1. Chris McAlister

While the Ravens have historically flipped some of their best cornerbacks after just a few seasons, they held onto McAlister for as long as possible. No cornerback has the combination of production, reliability, and performance in big games that McAllister put together.

Another No. 10 overall pick in 1999 who paired with Starks on the outside, McAllister was the No. 1 cornerback on one of the greatest defenses of all time and the best of the new millennium. With four interceptions, McAlister was by no means along for the ride. He was a catalyst for their success.

McAlister was a Ravens lifer (if chose not to count a whopping two-game stint with the Saints) who piled up 26 interceptions, three Pro Bowls, and two All-Pro teams. McAlister's injuries at the end were tough, but his longevity and play when healthy despite the bumps and bruises make him the clear choice for No. 1 on this list.

With his career in the AFC coincided with the prime years of all-time greats like Champ Bailey and Ty Law, there was a three-year stretch where McAlister was right there with them. Baltimore fans will appreciate his services to a very successful decade of Ravens football more than the rest of the NFL.

The 3 best cornerbacks in Ravens history by interceptions



Years with Ravens



Chris McAlister




Duane Starks




Lardarius Webb