Don’t be surprised if the Ravens draft a cornerback in one of the first two rounds. Not only is cornerback a position of need, they have neglected to draft one early in recent years.
Since 2009, the Ravens have only drafted two cornerbacks in the first three rounds -- Jimmy Smith, who was a first-round pick in 2011, and Lardarius Webb, a third-round pick in 2009. Those two have been the team’s best cornerbacks in recent years. However, Webb is 30 years old, and by the end of last season, he was playing more at safety or in the slot than he was outside. If Webb is not a cap casualty and remains with the Ravens, his days as a starting corner appear to be over.
That leaves the Ravens targeting cornerbacks in the upcoming draft, especially with elite receivers like Antonio Brown of the Steelers and A. J. Green of the Bengals playing in the same division. There are at least two cornerbacks the Ravens could target with the No. 6 pick -- Vernon Hargreaves of Florida, and Jalen Ramsey of Florida St.
If the Ravens wait to draft a cornerback, it might not work out. Top cornerbacks don’t stay on the board very long. The Ravens had their eye on Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters last year, but he went No. 16 to the Chiefs before the Ravens could take him with the 26th pick. Peters started every game, tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions, made the Pro Bowl, and was the league’s Rookie of the Year.
Let’s say the Ravens wait until Round 2 to grab a corner. Among those who could still be on the board are Mackensie Alexander of Clemson, Eli Apple of Ohio St., and Cyrus Jones of Alabama.
Drafting cornerbacks later in the draft hasn’t brought the Ravens much success. Last year’s fourth-round pick at No. 136, cornerback Tray Walker, barely played in 2015. Every other corner that the Ravens have drafted later than the fourth round since 2011 is no longer with the team – Chykie Brown (5th round, 2011), Asa Jackson (5th round, 2012), and Marc Anthony (7th round, 2013).
Holding the No. 6 pick, the Ravens have a chance to invest early in a cornerback. Hargreaves or Ramsey might convince the Ravens to do it.
MORE RAVENS: Will Suggs, Dumervil be dynamic sack duo in 2016?