The Baltimore Ravens enter the 2016 season with higher expectations in its secondary. The Ravens secondary allowed big plays down the field all season long and the Ravens pass defense only forced six interceptions during the entire 2015 season which was a league low. What can the Ravens and Ravens’ fans look out for?
On the positive side, the starters are coming back
Jimmy Smith: Smith will look to rebound after a season that saw him hesitant in his own abilities coming off a Lisfranc injury. Smith got better as the season wore on culminating in what could have been a two interception - including a pick-six - performance in week 16 against the Steelers, if not for Courtney Upshaw’s offside penalty. Smith will be the de-facto number one cornerback and he'll have a chance to ascend to superstar status, granted his full recovery.
Shareece Wright: Wright was even better than advertised. Though he is not a player that ca be considered a ball-hawk, he is assignment sound and in the post-bye portion of the 2015 regular season, his pass defense was a big reason for the defense's turnaround. Wright's only job as the second corner will be to remain consistent. He was cut from the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers for below par play. He only needs to repeat last season's performance to entrench himself as a mainstay in the Ravens secondary.
The slot cornerback crew sees change
Jerraud Powers: Powers found himself in a similar situation to Ravens cornerback Kyle Arrington. Both were not brought back from their respective teams for financial reasons. But unlike Arrington, Powers is good. He made a lot of plays for the Arizona Cardinals and his awareness and smarts allow him to jump quick outs and flats before the ball is even thrown.
Tavon Young: The rookie comes in with no pressure to perform immediately, the best possible situation. Young will not have too much on his plate which will allow him to perform without thinking too much. His spot on the roster is nearly guaranteed.
The battle for roster spots
If Will Davis comes back healthy from his ACL, he should find a spot as the fifth cornerback on the roster, if his play against the Steelers is an indication of his talent He will find competition in Arrington who does possess above average cover skills granted to him by good agility and change of direction. However, Arrington struggles immensely in a decisive area: ball skills. Too often in the debacle called last season did Arrington struggle do turn his head around, thus giving up big plays.
The battle will be rounded out by rookie Maurice Canady who is likely to have a spot as he is the only clear outside corner who is not slated to start and the upstart Sheldon Price who will look to displace Arrington.
Final Depth Chart Prediction
Field Corner: Jimmy Smith
Boundary Corner: Shareece Wright
Slot Corner: Jarraud Powers
Slot Corner: Tavon Young
Fifth Corner: Will Davis
Sixth Corner: Maurice Canady
Cuts: Jumal Rolle, Kyle Arrington
Practice Squad: Sheldon Price