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Sleeper Spotlight: DB Julian Wilson

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When the Baltimore Ravens play against the Saints in Thursday’s preseason finale, the main priority will be giving experience to the young players expected to make the roster. At least 50 of the 53 regular season roster slots have already been decided, with battles ongoing for the final spot on the offensive line, in the secondary and possibly rush linebacker. Julian Wilson is a player who may have a better opportunity to make the roster than many are assuming.

Wilson, a former cornerback from Oklahoma, signed on with the Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent last offseason. He suffered a season-ending leg injury in rookie camp last May. Wilson has come back stronger this offseason, and has worked his way up the depth chart.

At 6-2, 200, Wilson’s size allows him the versatility to play corner and safety. He played 26 snaps in the third preseason game against Detroit, and helped the Ravens defense get off the field on two separate occasions. Against the Lions backups, Wilson made a nice tackle short of the sticks to end one drive and jumped a route to break up another pass on 3rd down. Wilson also provides special teams coverage ability.

The competition for the final defensive back roster spot remains up in the air. Veteran safety Kendrick Lewis has missed the last two weeks of practice with an undisclosed injury, and struggled in coverage when on the field last season. Late round rookie corner Maurice Canady has showed coverage ability in the preseason when available, but has been hampered by a hamstring issue. Recent free agent acquisition Jerraud Powers has also missed time due to injury and has not looked sharp in preseason action.

Pending the health and evaluation of these three defensive backs, Wilson could realistically sneak his way onto the regular season roster. If Wilson does not land a roster spot, he should at least find a place on the Ravens practice squad, where his positional versatility would likely earn him the first promotion if regular season injuries arise in the secondary. Keep an eye on #47 in the preseason finale.