Chykie Brown didn't have many opportunities to rotate in with the secondary a year ago.
That was probably a good thing, considering it meant Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith and Corey Graham were healthy throughout the season. Therefore, it may be easy to overlook Brown as a cornerback that can be a capable option on the field within this defense.
But look no further than to the last time Brown had a chance to prove himself on a big stage. The Ravens were taking on the Giants in 2012, and Brown was asked to be the third cornerback for that game. He was tasked with defending Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz at times, and more than held his own. He finished the game with four pass deflections and two tackles for loss.
Now, Brown will have the chance to go against receivers like that on a game-to-game basis. Of course, he'll have to win the third cornerback job first.
But it should be one that Brown gets. Based on their preseason play from the past two seasons, Brown looks much more ready for regular game action than Asa Jackson, his top competitor. Brown is also a physical corner at the line of scrimmage, which works well in Dean Pees' defense. Of course, it's after the initial jam where Brown needs work. Sometimes his trails stumble, or sometimes he'll read a play wrong.
Then again, Brown was one of the most improved cornerbacks in training camp last year. It was evident in practice. But with Webb, Smith and Graham ahead of him on the depth chart, he was only getting in the game if someone got hurt.
Brown will have his chance to show that the Ravens were smart to draft him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He'll hope to keep the secondary, a strong suit to this defense last year, moving along soundly.
"He’s had his chance to get out on the field and [gain] experience, but now he gets thrown in and it’s his," Webb said during the first week of OTAs. "He’s going to get to show you all what he’s capable of."