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Ravens Breakout Candidate: CB Maurice Canady

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Promising Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tavon Young went down with an ACL tear in offseason workouts earlier this month, a significant loss. The club’s front office has bolstered their depth at corner beautifully this offseason through the acquisitions of Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey, but both are presently viewed as outside cornerbacks. Enter Maurice Canady, a second-year player who is currently the favorite to start at the crucial slot cornerback position, per Garrett Downing.

Canady was a sixth round pick by the Ravens in the 2016 draft class after starting three seasons for Virginia. At 6’1” 193 pounds, he has ideal size along with good athleticism and ball skills. The knocks on his game coming out of college were a lack of physicality and deep speed. Playing in front of Pro Bowl caliber safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson could certainly help to mask his flaws.

Canady’s rookie season was derailed by a Week 4 hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve. All 62 snaps of his professional career have been on special teams, but he did flash proficient coverage ability last preseason. Canady also brings some punt return ability to the Ravens roster.

Multiple media outlets have named Canady as one of the standouts from organized team activities and mandatory minicamp. Ryan Mink reported that the young corner snared three interceptions in a single practice and has impressed head coach John Harbaugh with his competitiveness. Edward Lee opined that Canady looks comfortable on the field and quoted coordinator Dean Pees saying he has earned the right to run with the first team due to his playmaking. Bo Smokla observed that Canady has been around the ball frequently and made an impact on special teams.

Indeed, Canady has looked impressive in the offseason highlight clips on the Ravens team website. Of course, the situation could change once the pads come on, especially for a player who was pushed around at times in college. Nevertheless, Maurice has been aggressive, quick and confident in coverage so far this offseason.

It is still much too early to anoint Canady as the Ravens third corner. Veterans Lardarius Webb and Brandon Boykin could potentially assume the slot role. Humphrey and developmental corner Sheldon Price will also factor into the mix. Having some decent cornerback depth is a welcome change in Baltimore.

Whether or not Maurice Canady is a Week 1 starter at cornerback, he will most likely be tapped at some point in the 2017 season. Hopefully he is ready to thrive when his turn comes as the next man up.