The Baltimore Ravens didn’t waste any time bolstering their cornerback depth chart following yesterday’s Marlon Humphrey news. The three-time Pro Bowler is set to miss “a little over a month” after undergoing surgery to repair a lingering foot injury.
The Ravens brought in a pair of free agent corners on Thursday for visits . According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, nine-year veteran Ronald Darby is signing with the team.
CB Ronald Darby is signing with the Ravens, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 17, 2023
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the deal is for one year and worth up to $3.2 million.
He’s signing on a 1-year deal worth up to $3.2M. https://t.co/9c0kdVVjIb— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 17, 2023
The other player that visited was eight-year veteran Anthony Brown. The Ravens ultimately went with the former second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills and Super Bowl champion, who is now on his fifth team.
The Ravens must be confident in Darby’s health and physical condition coming off a year where his season was cut short by a torn ACL he suffered last October after appearing and starting in five games.
He spent the last two years with the Denver Broncos, 2020 with the Washington Commanders, 2017-2019 with the Philadelphia Eagles where he won a championship in his first season with the team after being acquired via trade.
Darby is an experienced cornerback that has started 88 of 89 career games during his first eight years in the league and according to Pro Football Reference, he has amassed 90 pass deflections, 8 interceptions 8 tackles for loss, 373 total tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery.
New Ravens cornerback Ronald Darby last year for the Broncos pic.twitter.com/9QvT1Hd8yV— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) August 17, 2023
While he has struggled with injuries at times during his career, Darby provides an immediate upgrade over their other contingency plans on the roster at outside corner and will provide quality depth behind or starting opposite of Humphrey upon his return.
The Ravens face divisional opponents on the road in three of their first five games and each of them has two or more dangerous wide receivers that would challenge even the best cornerbacks in the league.
In Week 2, they play the two-time defending AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals who have a three-headed monster in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. In Week 4, they play the Cleveland Browns who have four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore. In Week 5, they play the Pittsburgh Steelers who have Pro Bowler Diontae Johnson and rising breakout star George Pickens.
Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald was asked about the impact of Humphrey’s presence in the secondary and what they’re missing with him out but expressed confidence in some of the players at the position that was already on the roster prior to the Darby signing.
“The expectation is to come in and to produce.”— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 17, 2023
DC Mike Macdonald on navigating without Marlon Humphrey: pic.twitter.com/VC5PvIhkv4
“We’ll see the length of time that he is going to miss and we’ll miss him absolutely,” Macdonald said of Humphrey. “We do have good players in our backend and the expectation is to come in and to produce and execute and play the way that we play.”
One of the in-house returning players at cornerback who has been having a “great” training camp according to multiple reports and Macdonald himself has been eighth-year veteran Kevon Seymour. The former sixth-round pick of the Bills in 2016 appears to have put some of his early career injury woes behind him and is in line for a significant role on the Ravens’ defense this year regardless of who else is healthy or not.
DC Mike Macdonald on Kevon Seymour: pic.twitter.com/pgn9ARaC2z— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 17, 2023
“I think he’s playing more confidently and especially in his man-to-man techniques,” Macdonald said. “He’s a guy that's kind of been in a few places, he’s been a great special teams player, and I’m sure he’d tell you that he’s excited to have an opportunity to expand his role on defense. If an when his opportunity comes, I expect him to be out there making plays just like everybody else.”
The Ravens have historically rewarded defenders that earn their stripes and more defensive snaps by standing out on special teams which is exactly what Seymour has done whenever he’s been active for games the past two years where he’s totaled 28 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 pass deflection, 1 sack, 1 fumbled recovery, and 1 quarterback hit per PFR.
He was one of the brightest standouts during the team’s preseason-opening win over the Eagles last Saturday and could potentially push for a starting job on the outside if he keeps it up with offseason free agent acquisition Rock Ya-Sin still not practicing as he deals with lower-body injury of his own.