Following five seasons with the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens signed Kyle Arrington in May of 2015. Regarded as a slot cornerback specialist with ball hawking ability, Arrington did not make the impact that many were hoping for last season.
Playing for the Ravens in 2015, Arrington suited up for 15 games, but only saw the field on less than 32 percent of the defensive snaps, including five games with single digit snaps. He did not assist the special teams unit much either, playing in less than 10% of the snaps in that phase. For the season, Arrington’s stat line was three passes defended and 22 tackles, both the lowest totals of his career.
Entering the 2016 season as a 30-year-old, Arrington is facing increased competition for his backup cornerback roster spot. He is officially listed as the second string right cornerback behind Jimmy Smith on the depth chart for the preseason opener. Rookie Tavon Young and sleeper Sheldon Price round out the depth chart on the right side. Opposite Smith, Shareece Wright is listed as the starter, followed by veteran addition Jerraud Powers, promising young player Will Davis and rookie Maurice Canady.
The signing of Jerraud Powers should have been a red flag to Arrington since Powers is another veteran slot specialist. The slot corner competition was compounded when the Ravens selected Tavon Young in the fourth round, another player with ideal size and instincts to cover the slot who also brings special teams potential. Will Davis is yet another corner who should be able to excel as the nickel back. Despite being listed behind Arrington on the early depth chart, Davis played ahead of Arrington last season with limited time in the system after a midseason trade.
Ideally, the Ravens want to carry six cornerbacks into the regular season. At least three corners who specialize in lining up on the outside, a solid two-deep at slot corner and a swingman who can do a little bit of both. Smith and Wright are a lock to remain on the roster due to their large contracts. Young looks safe because of his recent draft investment. If the Ravens elect to bolster outside cornerback depth, Price or Canady would get the nod. The could leave Powers and Arrington in direct competition for a single roster slot. Retaining only five cornerbacks is not out of the question either.
Projection: Arrington is firmly on the bubble. Reading the tea leaves, there has been a good deal of offseason praise surrounding Powers, Young, Price and Canady, while Arrington has been quiet. Coupled with his below average play last season and a limited number of snaps while the Ravens pass defense struggled, Arrington looks like a long shot. The best guess before preseason action begins is that Kyle Arrington ends up on the wrong side of the bubble.