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Graham Looking to Become a More Complete Defender

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With numerous questions surrounding the Ravens secondary heading into 2013, Corey Graham is looking to emerge as a defensive playmaker.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback Corey Graham, entering his second season as a Ravens, has his sights set on emerging from a tight cornerback competition as a defensive playmaker. The team lost Ed Reed (an all-time great ballhawk), Bernard Pollard (a hard-hitting enforcer), and Cary Williams (tied Reed for the team lead 4 INTs in 2012, also intercepted 2 passes in the playoffs) this offseason. Suffice to say, the Ravens are looking for more playmakers to emerge on the back end.

Graham has already made his name around the league as a special teams standout, but left Chicago for Baltimore last season for a chance to prove that he become a great defensive player as well. Graham was able to snag 4 interceptions in 12 starts last season, including two Peyton Manning passes in the divisional playoff win against Denver (one of which he returned for a touchdown). Graham has shown flashes of being the playmaker that the Ravens will need on defense in 2013. Graham is also adept at bringing down receivers after a catch is made against him, he ranked fifth in NFL last season among cornerbacks allowing an average of 5.7 yards per completion.

In an interview with the team's official site, Ravens' secondary coach Teryl Austin raved about Graham's knowledge of the game, "I think what he does is he understands football, understands the scheme. If they complete it on an out, that's great. They have to complete eight or nine of those to score a touchdown on us, we don't worry too much about those. We just made an emphasis to stay over the top and I think he did a great job of following that."

Graham's knowledge of the scheme could in fact give him an edge entering traing camp, as he battles former first-round pick Jimmy Smith for a starting spot.