The Ravens signed free agent Corey Graham to give the special teams unit a boost, but in the early days of training camp, the former Bears defensive back is also showing he could be a factor in the secondary.
Graham, a former fifth-round draft pick of the Bears, spent five seasons in Chicago and evolved into a special teams ace. He was named to the Pro Bowl as a special teamer last season, and the Ravens viewed him as a major addition for a unit that struggled last season.
He is a dominant kickoff-cover guy. He is going to make a big difference on our coverage teams, coach John Harbaugh said when Graham was signed. But, he is also a heck of a corner. He wanted an opportunity to expand his role on defense, too. We've got a history of that here.
Graham is working to earn that role, too.
Graham, who turned 27 last week, spent extra time at the Under Armour Performance Center this summer, working with some of the Ravens defensive backs to learn a new system. He has made some notable plays in the secondary in the early going, including an interception return touchdown after he stepped in front of a pass from Joe Flacco on Saturday.
The secondary is already crowded, with both starting corners Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams back and with a healthy Jimmy Smith competing for time as well. But Graham, who recorded three interceptions last season and has four in his career could very well find a spot on the field as a nickel or dime back.
We've played him at corner, we've also played him at the nickel spot now, and he's learned the nickel, and I've also told him to learn backup safety, defensive coordinator Dean Pees said.
You've always got to have those guys that are flexible, Pees said, adding, it's early, but he's had a good camp."