Last year, Rashaan Melvin got his chance as a starting Ravens cornerback when Jimmy Smith, among others, went down with season-ending injuries.
Melvin's call-up had its ups and downs, ending with a rough night in New England during the divisional playoffs. The secondary gave up a pair of 14-point comebacks to quarterback Tom Brady.
This preseason, Melvin is getting a second chance to prove he can be a starter, and he's determined to make an impression.
With Lardarius Webb sidelined for the first two preseason games by a hamstring injury originally suffered on Aug. 11, Melvin has been plugged into Webb's spot outside.
After Saturday night's second preseason game, Melvin was asked about the potential for being a starting cornerback once the regular season begins.
"I'm extremely thirsty, I'm hungry," Melvin said. "You can't play this game thinking you're a backup corner. You have to come out and compete like you're a starter. I approach my game like I'm a starter, I practice like I'm a starter. In my eyes, I'm a starter."
While the Ravens' starting defense didn't have its best showing in Philadelphia, Melvin came away rather unscathed.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), only two passes were completed in his direction. One went for 7 yards and another for -1 yards when Melvin came up and put a solid hit on Eagles tight end Trey Burton.
"Overall I think I did OK," Melvin said. "There are some things to improve on. Not many too balls were completed, so that's always a good place to be as a cornerback. Made a couple tackles."
In two regular-season season starts and three games played last year, Melvin made 17 tackles, a pass defensed and one forced fumble.
The Ravens like Melvin's 6-foot-2, 193-pound frame and confident mentality. Baltimore employs a lot of man-on-man, press coverage on the outside. Melvin fits that mold with a bigger build and long arms, similar to Smith.
"[At the] end of the day, it's all about competing," Melvin said. "We know what the coaches are looking for and what they expect. I just want to go out there and do my job and contribute to the team the best I can. I'm not too worried about who is in and out."
Melvin's arrow is still pointed up. The 25-year-old Northern Illinois product is only entering his third season and is an undrafted rookie who the Ravens signed off Tampa Bay's practice squad midway through last year.
"I'm very far ahead of where I was last year," Melvin said. "I'm excited for the season to start and see my progress. I've come a long way."