Do the Ravens have enough depth at cornerback?
That question was supposed to be answered during the offseason, as the Ravens made moves designed to strengthen that position. However, despite signing Kyle Arrington and drafting Tray Walker, the Ravens have just five cornerbacks on their current 53-man roster – starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb, backed up by Rashaan Melvin, Arrington and Walker. Two cornerbacks who had a chance to make the team were cut Saturday – Asa Jackson and Quinton Pointer.
Here are some potential problems with that heading into the Week 1 opener against Peyton Manning and the Broncos:
- Webb is coming off another injury-plagued preseason.
Webb had a hamstring issue, missed a lot of practice time, and didn’t get game reps. Expecting Webb to be in mid-season form Sunday is asking a lot. Smith will be playing his first regular season game in almost 11 months.
- Smith was playing the best football of his career, before an Oct. 26 foot injury that led to Lisfranc surgery. Even if Smith is 100 percent, no amount of practice and preseason reps can duplicate the stops and starts Smith will be making Sunday. It may take time for Smith to perform at the standard he set last season.
- Walker doesn’t look ready for prime time yet.
Walker has ability, which is why the Ravens drafted him in the fourth round. But he looked tentative during the preseason, and clearly could be overmatched covering top receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders of the Broncos. If Walker isn’t ready to play much, it hurts the Ravens’ cornerback depth even more.
It would not be surprising to see general manager Ozzie Newsome make a move to add cornerback depth. And the Ravens expect their secondary to be improved overall, helped by the new starting safety tandem of Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis.
However, the Ravens could still be a Smith injury away from looking suddenly thin at corner. Good cornerbacks are not easy to find. Starting Sunday against Manning, the Ravens’ corners will be put to the test.