The 2018 cornerback class for the Baltimore Ravens is deep. Four starters on the squad with multiple depth players is something to be excited about. Unfortunately, one won’t be on the field immediately as Jimmy Smith suffered a torn Achilles during the 2017 regular season. This shakes up the competition right at the top.
Smith isn’t the only one returning from an injury either as Tavon Young tore his ACL during 2017’s OTA’s. Unlike Smith, Young is healthy and participating in the optional team activities.
As I mentioned, this is going to be an interesting competition in 2018. With multiple starters returning from injury, there’s no guarantee at any spot. Jimmy won’t be the star cornerback in the beginning, which creates competition for both Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr. Both were impressive corners last season, and Humphrey is aiming to progress after a strong rookie year.
My greatest interest is in the slot-corner competition. Tavon Young’s rookie year was outstanding. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the third-best rookie corner for the 2016 season. If Young returns to prominence, he’ll lock up the slot corner spot or even fight for the number two corner role against Humphrey or Carr. Though he’s more suited against slot receivers, he’s gone up against bigger and stronger players and won battles, including a goal-line stop against tight end Tyler Eifert of the Cincinnati Bengals.
If it takes time for Young to regain his prior skills, Anthony Averett, Maurice Canady, and Jaylen Hill won’t go easy on him. Even if Young is back and producing, these corners won’t let him off the hook. Though they are teammates donning the purple and black, each player is also in direct competition with one another.
It will be fun to watch as these cornerbacks perform in the next few months before the season begins. With a strong cast of wide receivers and tight ends to play against, these corners have their work cut out for them.