Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
Can Baltimore Ravens corner Lardarius Webb return to Pro Bowl Caliber form?
The Baltimore Ravens will most likely lose top corner back Cary Williams in free agency this off season. If that happens they will be left with veterans Cory Graham, Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson and Lardarius Webb who is coming off of his second major surgery since entering the NFL.
When healthy Webb is, by far, the Ravens best corner back in terms of cover skills and understanding the game at the NFL level. If Webb is capable of coming back at 100% this season it will be up to he and Corey Graham to mentor the younger players like Smith, Brown and Jackson. The "if " in this situation is a big "if" though. Webb will be counted on as the teams top corner and he has not shown the ability to stay healthy throughout an entire NFL season. Maybe it is his reckless style of play, maybe he is just accident prone but the Ravens could find themselves very thin at the corner position as well if Williams leaves and Webb gets injured again. that would leave them with Graham and a combination of Smith and/or Brown.
Jimmy Smith has the physical tools to excel in the NFL but for whatever reason he has not put it all together yet. He is out of position frequently and has also missed a good amount of time due to injuries. Jimmy could learn a lot from a veteran player like graham who was not blessed with the physical tools that Smith was but has made his way on the field by showing his skills on special teams and hard work in practice.
Asa Jackson is still a question mark as he never really saw the field last season. He should really try and spend as much time working with Webb as he can. The two posses similar skill sets and if Jackson wants to make an impact at the next level following Webb would be his best bet.
As much as Ravens fans love to complain about Cary Williams, they really would be much better with him on the roster. Webb is an excellent slot corner and if the Ravens could develop either Brown or Smith to line up wide opposite Williams the secondary could be dominant. Unfortunately, in the salary cap era, that probably will not be possible. Which means that Webb may end up on the outside, covering the other teams top receiver, which may not be what he is best suited for, Especially if he is not 100%.