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Cornerback Tray Walker Preparing For His Shot


When the Ravens selected cornerback Tray Walker last April in the fourth round out of small-school Texas Southern, they knew he would need some time to develop.

The 6-foot-2, 199-pound prospect has all the tools. He looks the part.

Now, as the Ravens are out of playoff contention and ready to usher in some younger players starting Sunday against the Chiefs, it may be Walker's time to show what improvements he's made.

He's been preparing for this day for a while.

"It's been mentally tough," Walker said. "There's a group of guys out here in my ear telling me to keep performing and getting better, which I feel like I have been. They tell me to be ready because my name could be called at any time. I am."

Walker has been active for just six of the Ravens' 13 games so far this season. According to Pro Football Focus, he's only played eight defensive snaps (coming in Week 5 against Cleveland), and hasn't had a pass thrown his way.

Walker may be getting a shot because Head Coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens want to move cornerback Lardarius Webb into the nickel position and at free safety. Baltimore likes Webb there long term, and wants to get a look at what it has in Walker.

The Ravens could also move outside second-year corner Jumal Rolle, who they just promoted from the practice squad after signing him on Nov. 20.

Harbaugh said the Ravens are "going to pull the trigger." And once the live bullets of an NFL regular-season game are flying, Baltimore will find out a lot more about its rookie cornerback.

"Tray has been up and down," Harbaugh said of Walker's practices. "There are moments you see his talent and he shines. There's nobody more coachable than Tray. He's a sponge; he wants to learn. Tray's issue is he has a lot to learn.

"He's coming from a very small school. He's very green, very raw, technique-wise and football knowledge-wise, but that just means he's an open book. He's this fertile field. We've got to plant the right seeds into his head."

Walker said the biggest thing that he's had to learn in the NFL is that he can't get away with his college technique.

"It's how to stay in front of guys using my length and strength," he said. "By me being a tall corner, it's kind of hard for me to use the quick feet, so you've got to use your hands. It's trying to get better learning the game, understanding situations.

"For me to come from a small school, I didn't get the same experience and coaching as those guys from Alabama and Division I. Me learning this way, its making me better. Learning from mistakes is helping me and watching other guys and learning from their mistakes helps me."

Fellow cornerback Jimmy Smith was asked what fans can expect from Walker during the final three-game stretch.

"I don't know. We're about to see," Smith said. "He's a big dude. He can play press. He can run. He's very, very fluid to be his size. He's going to get out there and get his feet wet. It's a real NFL, live game, so I'm excited to see what he does."

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