Since Kyle Arrington's signing, many have shoed him in as the automatic starter at nickel corner. Most have placed Rashaan Melvin on the back burner, probably due to his performance in Foxborough.
Granted, New England was a disaster for Melvin. However, one must look at the strategy employed. The Ravens sat back in cover four, with the cornerbacks at least 10 yards off. Yards were bound to be given up. If anything, Melvin was a solid tackler.
Melvin being the starting nickel is the ideal scenario. As a 6'2" cornerback, he has the length to play press, coupled with enough agility and fluidity to play cover 2 and cover 3 zones adequately. His coverage versatility is something that neither Arrington or Lardarius Webb can offer, as both are predominately off man corners when playing outside the numbers.
Arrington offers good coverage in the slot, but cannot match Webb's versatility, particularly his blitzing prowess. Even though Webb was not employed as a blitzer last year, in 2013 however, he was tremendous. The week 10 clash against Cincinnati distinctly comes to mind. Webb batted down 2 balls at the line of scrimmage, and forced a few hurries coming in untouched, after expertly disguising his blitz.
In retrospect, I truly hope the coaching staff does not have the same thought process as excited fans. The best player has to get the job, and for that to happen, the third corner position should be declared open for competition. Just don't cut out the guy with starting experience from the discussion.