Here's why the Ravens should take a cornerback in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft

This may not be the most popular pick, but taking a cornerback would be a great move for the Ravens in Round 1.
Clemson v South Carolina
Clemson v South Carolina / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Throughout the pre-draft process, two major needs have been outlined by Baltimore Ravens fans and the media, offensive tackle and wide receiver. The consensus seems to be that the Ravens will draft one of these positions in the first round on Thursday, but cornerback could end up being the choice.

The holes at the offensive line and receiver are prevalent, but cornerback is a huge need as well. The Ravens have some nice pieces in their cornerback room, but their only starting-caliber outside cornerbacks are Brandon Stephens and Marlon Humphrey.

Stephens is coming off of a great season for the Ravens, where he started 16 games recording 2 interceptions and 11 pass deflections. He also held opposing receivers to a lowly 80.6 passer rating.

Humphrey is still a fantastic player, but he's had some durability issues over the past few seasons. He missed five games in 2021, while also sitting out seven games this past season. Humphrey is fantastic when he plays, but the injury concerns are valid.

The rest of their cornerback room consists of a few slot guys who are limited on the outside. This includes recently resigned Arthur Maulet, Ar'Darius Washington (who has injury concerns as well), and Damarion Williams.

The Baltimore Ravens need to pick a cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft

The Ravens have always preached the concept of selecting the best player available, especially in the first round of the draft. Obviously, it's possible that a good receiver or offensive tackle falls to the Ravens at 30, but many teams with needs at those positions pick before the Ravens.

Teams like the Dolphins, Cowboys, and Steelers all have needs at tackle and they all pick before the Ravens in the back end of the first round. The Bills and Lions could look to take a receiver in Round 1 as well. This may put the Ravens in a tough position.

If the Ravens are given the choice of reaching on a tackle or receiver in round one or taking a legitimate first round cornerback, they will take the cornerback. They've always done it this way and they've gotten some great results in doing so.

3 cornerbacks the Baltimore Ravens could select in 2024 NFL Draft

Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

McKinstry is the most common cornerback being mocked to the Ravens. He fits exactly what they are looking for. He's a first round talent out, but he has had some injury concerns resulting in him falling down some boards.

Many mock drafts have McKinstry falling to the back end of the first round, and it seems unlikely that the Ravens would pass on him. We know the Ravens love their Alabama defenders and McKinstry would provide them with another high-upside outside corner.

He'd also have a clear path to playing time, with Marlon Humphrey having experience playing inside as well, freeing up snaps for McKinstry.

Nate Wiggins, Clemson

There's a lot to like about Nate Wiggins. Wiggins is an elite athlete, running a 4.28 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and he measured in at 6-1. He's a fluid defender with great instincts when it comes to making plays on the ball. He also played at a blue-blood school, and Eric DeCosta has shown a desire to draft players coming from major programs.

Wiggins does have some downsides, though, which are leading to him falling down some boards. For starters, he weighed in at just 173 pounds at the combine, which could lead to some injuries for Wiggins in the future.

He also isn't the most willing tackler. Due to his small frame, Wiggins showed some struggles coming downhill and making tackles.

Due to these issues, Wiggins has a solid chance of being available at 30. If he is, the Ravens would certainly have trouble passing on a player of his caliber.

Cooper DeJean, Iowa

DeJean might be the least likely of the three to make it to 30, but he's a great fit. DeJean is one of the most versatile players in this draft, with the ability to play in the slot, at safety, and at outside cornerback.

The Ravens absolutely love players like DeJean. They love having versatile chess pieces in their defense, so DeJean would be a perfect fit. Much like Kyle Hamilton a couple years ago, DeJean may fall in the draft due to teams not knowing what his best role will be. If he does fall into the lap of the Ravens, they wouldn't pass on him.