The Ravens signed veteran Corey Graham this offseason as part of an effort to bolster the special-teams unit.
Through the first week of training camp, however, he's doing much more than impacting special teams.
Graham has been a consistent standout of the defense, working as the nickel and dime cornerback and taking a number of reps with the first team.
He's made several interceptions in practice – including one Thursday that he picked off in the end zone are returned to midfield – and looks primed to take on a valuable role on defense.
"I knew that when they got an opportunity to finally see me play that they would like what I could do out there," Graham said. "It's not something where I didn't know if I could play defense or corner in this league. I knew it from the beginning."
Graham, 27, signed with the Ravens after five years with the Chicago Bears. He played every aspect of Chicago's special-teams unit and was a Pro Bowler last season after recording 22 special-teams tackles and one forced fumble.
But he also wanted to have a chance to play defense, which drew him to Baltimore as a free agent. The Ravens released veteran cornerbacks Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr this offseason, creating an opening in the secondary that Graham thought he could seize.
"I knew what I was capable of doing, but I just hoped that if I got to a team they would give me an opportunity to play," he said.
Graham is competing with Danny Gorrer, Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson for the dime cornerback spot behind Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith. Graham appears to be the leader in the race, as the coaching staff has praised him throughout camp for his leadership and versatility.
"Corey's a really good football player," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said. "He has a lot of savvy, great ball skills, understands the game and what we're doing. You see him in the team situations and he gets around a lot of balls, and when he does, he has the ability to finish."
He is also doing exactly what the coaches expected from him on special teams.
Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg said that during Thursday's practice they ran a kickoff play designed to beat Graham, who was on the coverage team.
It didn't work. Graham read the play perfectly to make the stop, and then called out Rosburg after for trying to fool him.
"He's very crafty," Rosburg said. "He's good to have in the room, too, because he can help a lot of the young players."
Graham says that he still has to "fine tune" some pieces of his game before the start of the season, but is pleased with his start to training camp.
Now he just has to keep it up.
"I've been fortunate to make a lot of plays, so that's a plus," Graham said. "I'm picking up fairly well and I feel like I'm able to make some plays. I just have to continue to play fast."