The Ravens roster is finally out and mostly everything is cut and dry. Even the roster decision about to be discussed is for the seventh slot on the cornerback depth chart. But it’s still rather curious considering the way the Ravens normally covet their draft picks. But as of right now, Kyu Kelly has been waived and Baltimore has elected to keep Arthur Maulet instead.
This likely has little impact. If Kelly had made the roster, he would have been the seventh option as an outside corner most likely. As a fifth-round rookie who didn’t have a great preseason, he’s probably not going to be claimed on waivers and should go to the Ravens practice squad. Maulet’s role is yet to be decided because he simply hasn’t been on the field for Baltimore. He didn’t play in any preseason games and was absent most of camp. Normally a slot guy as well, his absence allowed Ar’Darius Washington to seize the role with an impressive camp and showing in all three preseason games.
This begs the question, why keep a 30-year-old backup nickel corner when you have a developmental rookie with a press-man skill set? Maulet hasn’t been healthy so it’s not because he’s a reliable presence. He also hasn’t played well in his career. In six years, his highest grade on PFF for a single season was 65.2 in 2019. Other than that his other seasons from 2017-2022, excluding 2019, have been 60.0, 51.9, 49.7, 57.5, and 56.5 respectively.
They also don’t need depth there as there are other defensive backs on the roster capable of playing inside. While this move doesn’t matter for a massive amount of snaps, keeping Kelly on the roster to develop in games and not leave him available to be poached like Tyler Badie was last year would be more beneficial to the long-term, while keeping Maulet doesn’t help the short or the long-term much.
There’s still more than a week until the roster needs to be finalized for the Week 1 matchup against the Houston Texans. Players will need to go on IR, waiver claims will be submitted, and veterans can be signed. Already there are interesting names on the wire and in the market. Veterans Bradley Roby and Desmond King were both released today, could both be viable nickel corner options and are higher-quality players than Maulet. On the wire, young prospects like Darius Rush and Joejuan Williams are quality developmental players whose ceilings would be worth keeping over Maulet as well.
Time will tell how the roster will finalize for a cornerback room that's going to be constantly shifting early in the season.