When the Ravens signed Corey Graham during the 2012 offseason, he came to Baltimore with the label of a special teams ace. As a Chicago Bear in 2011, he was the NFC's Pro Bowl specialist.
But Graham got a chance to be a defensive difference-maker in Baltimore. And he made the most of it.
Now with Graham departed for Buffalo, could safety Jeromy Miles be the next Graham? Head Coach John Harbaugh thinks so.
"He might be another Corey Graham type of guy," Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings.
"Sometimes you play so well on special teams that you get labeled a little bit that way. … He'll have a chance to compete for a starting spot."
The Ravens are looking for someone to step up opposite 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam. Baltimore signed Darian Stewart, who can play either free or strong safety, and Miles is in that same position. He and Stewart, as of now, are the top options for the other starting spot.
Baltimore General Manager Ozzie Newsome said he's looking for a playmaking, athletic free safety. Miles, who is officially listed as a strong safety, could fit the bill.
"Jeremy has a chance to factor in [at that spot]," Harbaugh said. "He's tall and rangy and has good ball skills."
Miles, 26, is a 6-foot-2, 214-pound former undrafted player out of Massachusetts in 2010. The Ravens claimed him off waivers from Cincinnati last September, and Miles ended up playing 12 games and making nine tackles. His eight special teams tackles were tied for third on the team.
Miles' most defensive action came in 2012 when he played in all 16 games and started one for the Bengals. He made 28 stops, but did not get his hands on any passes.
The Ravens have a history of giving special teams standouts an opportunity to shine on defense. Along with Graham, Harbaugh brought linebacker and Pro Bowl special teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo to Baltimore in 2008.
"[Miles will] have a chance to compete for a starting spot, just like Brendon did as the starting dime linebacker when everybody said he was only a special teams player," Harbaugh said. "Corey Graham became the starting corner for us and everybody said he was only a special teams player. Jeremy has the same opportunity with us."