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Ravens Cornerback Recap: Pre-Draft Edition

Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey

In each installment of this series, we will take a look at a Baltimore Ravens position group and review it in preparation for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Coming up next in this series will be the Ravens’ cornerback group.

Check out the other Ravens position group recaps. Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End and Fullback | Offensive Line | Defensive Line | Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Special Teams

Ravens Cornerback Recap: The Players

Marlon Humphrey 6’0″, 197 pounds, 16 games
2019– 15 starts in 2019. 65 tackles, 14 passes defended, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two touchdowns.

Marcus Peters 6’0″, 195 pounds, 16 games
2019– Six starts for the Rams and nine starts for the Ravens in 2019. 53 tackles, 14 passes defended, five interceptions, one fumble recovery, three touchdowns.

Jimmy Smith 6’2″, 210 pounds, nine games
2019- Five starts in 2019. 30 tackles, six passes defended, one interception, one sack.

Tavon Young 5’9″, 185 pounds, zero games
2019– Missed the season due to injury. 17 career starts for the Ravens.

Anthony Averett 5’11”, 178 pounds, nine games
2019- Three starts in 2019. 15 tackles, two passes defended.

Iman Marshall 6’1″, 205 pounds, three games
2019- Zero starts in 2019. One tackle.

Terrell Bonds 5’8″, 182 pounds, zero games
2019- Spent the season on the Ravens’ practice squad.

Group Overview

This is a very, very good cornerback group. The Ravens have three cornerbacks more than capable of starting on the outside. They also have an excellent starting slot cornerback returning from injury. With four starters on hand, the only real questions with this group surround their relatively unknown depth pieces. With Brandon Carr leaving in the offseason, there is room for someone to step up and fill his role with the team. However, you shouldn’t completely rule out a reunion between the two if Carr does not find a home somewhere else.

The Starters

Marlon Humphrey has been fantastic for the Ravens in his career thus far. Earning first-team all-pro honors this past season, Humphrey has quickly developed into one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. A first-round draft pick in 2017, Humphrey has made a name for himself as a very physical cornerback that can make quarterbacks and ball carriers pay for bringing the ball near him. Humphrey will be looking to continue the strong start to his career by taking an even further step this season.

The Ravens acquired Marcus Peters from the Rams for a fifth-round pick and Kenny Young. This in-season trade paid off massively. In his first game for the Ravens, Peters nabbed himself an interception return for a touchdown to make his presence felt immediately. Peters continued his strong play the rest of the season, also earning first-team all-pro honors. An absolute monster in the secondary, quarterbacks have to account for Peters whenever he is on the field. Peters is very good at disguising his intent so that he can jump a route and make a play on the ball. This can sometimes backfire and lead to big chunk plays if there isn’t any help over the top from a safety.

Tavon Young has been a very good slot cornerback for the Ravens when healthy. Initially thrust into a starting role as an outside cornerback his rookie season, Young quickly established himself as a premier slot corner when he was allowed to play inside. He is fantastic at playing press coverage. Young also plays with the anticipation that comes in handy with the shifty route runners coming out of the slot. Although he is smaller in size, Young plays with the physicality that allows him to hang with bigger tight ends and erase them from plays. The biggest knock on Young will be his injury history, having just missed the 2019 season due to a neck injury suffered during the preseason.

The Supporting Cast

It almost seems unfair to put Jimmy Smith down here with the supporting cast. Smith has been an excellent cornerback for the Ravens his entire career. Unfortunately, injuries have plagued his career, having played in all 16 games just twice in his nine years with the Ravens. Up until last season, Smith was always the best cornerback on the Ravens roster whenever he could play. If Peters or Humphrey miss any game action, Ravens fans can relax a little, knowing Jimmy can step in to start whenever he is needed.

Anthony Averett, a fourth-round draft pick in 2018, has steadily earned more playing time as his career has gone on. Earning three starts last season, Averett has flashed potential in his short career thus far. Another fourth-round pick, Iman Marshall, missed most of last season with an injury but was designated to return from injured reserve in November. After his return, Marshall saw some game action, mostly on special teams. Terrell Bonds played for the Alliance of American Football before signing with the Ravens. He shows great potential and could contribute on special teams immediately.

Ravens cornerback stat comparison via Pro Football Reference.
Via Pro Football Reference’s Stat Comparison Finder

Draft Expectations

2020 NFL Draft image

Needs

Cornerback is one of the positions that the Ravens do not need at all heading into the draft. The Ravens have three starters on the outside. They also have a great slot cornerback. With three developmental projects already on the roster, the Ravens could get away with not selecting any cornerbacks in this draft.

What To Expect

The Ravens have long held the philosophy that you can never have enough good cornerbacks. Due to this, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Ravens end up selecting a cornerback in this draft for that very reason. However, you shouldn’t expect a cornerback to be chosen early. If anything, the Ravens will add another developmental piece in the later rounds. The Ravens will likely bring in an undrafted free agent or two as well after the draft is over.

Developmental targets: Bryce Hall, A.J. Green, Amik Robertson, Javelin Guidry

Ravens Cornerback Group Grade

Overall Grade: A+

With four certified starters, the Ravens boast one of the best cornerback groups in the entire NFL. This writer would argue that they are THE best cornerback unit in the NFL. Very few teams can say that they have the stars at the position that the Ravens do. Known for linebackers in the past, the Ravens are making a name for themselves as a team with outstanding cornerbacks as of late. The combination of Peters and Humphrey has to be considered one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL.

The Ravens have to feel very confident in their cornerback room heading into the 2020 season. Marcus Peters is an absolute terror for quarterbacks to account for. Marlon Humphrey has developed into a certified star at the position in just a short time. Jimmy Smith still has starting level talent and will see plenty of game action. Tavon Young has developed into one of the best slot corners in the league. Anthony Averett has a lot of potential. Iman Marshall possesses the size you want from a top cornerback. Terrell Bonds could develop into a strong special teams player.


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Jeff Swartz MMA
Jeff Swartz is an MMA writer for Overtimeheroics.net. With a focus on the UFC, Jeff also covers regional Colorado MMA promotions. Jeff also occasionally writes pieces about the Baltimore Ravens.
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