When the Ravens shipped a fourth-round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders for Fabian Washington, they saw more value in the cornerback than any of the remaining collegiate prospects.
Baltimore obviously saw more value than the Raiders, who selected Washington 23rd overall in the 2005 draft.
Now, the three-year veteran wants to show he merits the status of both a first- and a fourth-rounder. As the Ravens prepare to welcome their rookies to this weekend's mandatory minicamp, Washington is looking to become an honorary member of the Class of 2008.
"I felt that I needed a fresh start and I'm happy the Baltimore Ravens gave me the opportunity," explained Washington. "I was just watching and waiting for a call, just like most draft picks. Sunday morning, I got that call from the Ravens."
Washington attests that he foresaw a trade on the horizon, but the warning signs didn't begin when the Raiders signed Pro Bowler DeAngelo Hall in March.
After starting his first two years, Washington was benched in favor of Stanford Routt following two games last season.
Even though he was disappointed with his demotion, Washington could understand why, recalling a Week 2 matchup with the Denver Broncos. He admitted that a lack of total focus led to a lapse in fundamentals.
"They said it was my tackling," Washington said. "That game, I stunk it up big-time in tackles. If that was their reason for benching me, then so be it.
"I also know that I definitely wasn't playing my best ball at the time. I was worried about different stuff other than football. Now, I'm so focused on football that I have something to prove."
Such determination is just what new head coach John Harbaugh is looking to add in Baltimore. Washington also brings blazing speed, shown in a 4.29-second 40 at the 2005 NFL Combine.
After three practices in last week's voluntary minicamp, Harbaugh was pleasantly surprised with the acquisition.
"The thing about Fabian is, first of all, he's very competitive," Harbaugh said about the 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback. "He gets out there during one-on-one drills and he wants to win everything, even individual and the fundamental [drills] he wants to win. He's got tremendously quick feet, he's very fast and he's probably stronger and a little more physical than we anticipated."
The Ravens went into the draft looking for a talented corner to compete for a starting spot, or at least become a solid nickelback. The idea of adding a young - but experienced - defender was more attractive than gambling with a mediocre list of second-day prospects.
"That allows us to have a veteran player, a player that's started games in the National Football League," said general manager Ozzie Newsome. "It brings more depth to our secondary. In the draft, we didn't feel like there was any other player that was comparable to Fabian."
The initial challenge for Washington begins Friday, when every veteran is expected to be on-hand for the three-day camp. Already, he's getting used to a place where "they practice a lot faster" and is "a lot more organized" than his previous surroundings.
Getting acclimated to the locker room is another thing.
"It's difficult going from a team where you knew everyone in the locker room to here, where you only know a few guys in the locker room," he stated. "But, in a few weeks, I'll feel like this is more home."
By then, the Ravens will have an even better idea of what Washington can do.
Said Washington: "Trust me, I'll prove that I'm worth way more than a fourth-round draft pick."
Orders for 2008 first-round pick Joe Flacco's No. 5 jersey are already heating up. After only 10 days as a Raven, 136 jerseys have been bought from the Ravens' online team store…Washington reiterated that he is past a domestic violence charge brought against him from his girlfriend in February. He will avoid prosecution if he completes a 26-week intervention program. "That was a one-time mistake," he said. "I've never been in trouble. That was me letting my emotions get the best of me. It's over and done with. I've moved on from it."…The Ravens' preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons has moved from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.