5 Reasons Jerraud Powers Is A Fantastic Signing
Ozzie Newsome took care of business Friday* *with a flurry of moves.
He signed first-round pick Ronnie Stanley, added free-agent cornerback Jerraud Powers and created some room on the roster for future signings by cutting four players (Marlon Brown, Nordly Capi, Jermaine Whitehead and Nick Perry).
Perhaps the most noteworthy move was inking Powers to a reported one-year deal worth $1.75 million.
Here are five reasons why it was a fantastic signing for Newsome.
1) The Ravens found a potential starter … in the second wave of free agency.
Leave it to Newsome to find an accomplished starter this late in the process – someone who can play inside and outside corner no less.
"They may have gotten a potential starter, which never happens in late May," NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said in the video below.
It never happens, unless you're Ozzie (see Daryl Smith in 2013).
Powers isn't the headline-grabbing free-agent signing that say, Josh Norman or Janoris Jenkins was. He isn't a first-round, world-class athlete like Jalen Ramsey. But Powers is a shrewd signing that will likely make an immediate impact.
As a seven-year starter (82 of the last 87 games) for the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts, don't expect Powers to be content with a depth role. He will challenge Shareece Wright for the starting outside position alongside Jimmy Smith. If Wright holds onto the job, Powers can also compete for the starting nickel back role, where he started all 13 games he was active for last year and notched 52 tackles, one sack, nine passes defended and one interception.
"This is one of those underrated moves we'll be talking about well into the season," tweeted CBS Baltimore's Samuel Njoku.
2) Check the calendar, folks. It's no coincidence that the date of Newsome's move came one day after signing unrestricted free agents stopped counting against the compensatory pick formula.
The timing of the signing highlights Ozzie just being Ozzie.
Thursday marked the first day NFL teams could sign free agents without it hurting the formula to acquire future compensatory picks. Friday, the Ravens signed Powers.
It may not seem like much now, but waiting until after May 12 means the Ravens will still likely get a third-round compensatory pick for losing offensive guard Kelechi Osemele to the Oakland Raiders.
3) Powers brings much-needed depth at two spots – on the outside and in the slot – where the Ravens have been hit by the injury bug the past few seasons.
Stop me if you heard this before: You can never have too many corners.
This position has been beat up the last two years, and the recent season-ending Achilles injury to Jumal Rolle underscores how quickly somebody could be lost. Plus, Will Davis is coming off a torn ACL and Smith recently had bone chips removed from his foot, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The Ravens are stocking up for a long winter, as they drafted two corners in Temple's Tavon Young (fourth round) and Virginia's Maurice Canady (sixth round). They also still have veterans in Davis and Kyle Arrington.
Powers has been relatively durable during his NFL career. While he's only played in all 16 games twice in seven years, he has missed just three games in the last three seasons.
"The loss of Rolle] [reinforced the importance of adding depth at the position," wrote Jeff Zrebiec.
4) He was the best remaining free-agent corner on the market.
The $1.75 million for 2016 might have been more than what you'd usually see this time of year, but you also don't usually find starters at this time either. Powers already visited with the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals last month before choosing the Ravens.
"It's a fair price for the Ravens, but a lot more than you would expect at this time of the year for most free agents that are still left on the street," said Rapoport. "He does have a chance now to take this one-year deal and earn himself one more big contract. But for the Ravens, what they care about is a really solid free-agent acquisition pretty late in the process."
At 28, Powers is still expected to be in his prime and brings a boatload of experience with 380 career tackles, two sacks and 11 interceptions.
"Powers] was one of the [more accomplished corners remaining on a thin free-agent market," wrote Zrebiec.
5) Powers brings ball skills to a defense that wants more interceptions.
After finishing last season with a franchise-low six interceptions, the Ravens' goal this offseason was to find players who could boost that number. Adding safety Eric Weddle and moving Lardarius Webb to safety was a start.
Powers can help at corner, too.
"Powers lacks size at 5-foot-10, but he has ball skills, and that is needed for a pass defense that ranked last in the NFL with six interceptions last year," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "In his three seasons with Arizona, Powers had five interceptions and 36 passes defended."
Keenan Reynolds' Next Challenge: Earn A Roster Spot
Ravens sixth-round selection Keenan Reynolds received good news Friday when the Navy approved him to play football this season while fulfilling his military obligation through service in the Navy Reserve.
The Secretary of Defense still needs to sign off, but that is expected to happen.
That means Reynolds can focus on his next big hurdle.
"Reynolds' next challenge will be making the transition to a new position and role in time to crack the Ravens’ regular-season roster, a task that won't be easy with the depth the team has at wide receiver," wrote Zrebiec.
"Just because he was drafted doesn't guarantee that Reynolds will be on the active roster to start the season. A fifth-round pick last year out of Tennessee State, offensive guard Robert Myers was cut before the regular season began. Quarterback Keith Wenning, a sixth-round selection in 2014, was let go before being re-signed to the practice squad. Cornerback Marc Anthony, a seventh rounder in 2013, was let go during his first preseason."
The Ravens are already tight at wide receiver. Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are locks (barring any injuries), which means there will likely only be three more spots.
Reynolds will battle it out with Michael Campanaro, fourth-round pick Chris Moore, Chris Matthews, Jeremy Butler, Daniel Brown and Kaelin Clay. That doesn't even count tight end/receiver Darren Waller.
It seems unlikely for the Ravens to cut Campanaro or Moore, which would leave one more spot in an expected seven-man group.
"By now, it would be foolish to dismiss Reynolds' ability to make the transition," wrote Zrebiec. "He has a lot of ability and all the intangibles that teams covet. The Ravens will give him every opportunity to succeed."
Young Raven Under Pressure: Terrence Brooks
Just as the Ravens added a lot of competition at the receiver position, the same has happened at safety.
Weddle and Webb made the group much more crowded with eight safeties now on the roster, including last year's starter Kendrick Lewis and 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam.
One young Raven under pressure to perform is 2014 third-round pick Terrence Brooks, says CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown.
Brooks suffered a setback in his rookie campaign when he tore his ACL and MCL in December. He spent his sophomore offseason trying to get back to form while showing he deserved a role in the defensive backfield.
"Brooks worked extremely hard at rehab and was back on the practice field by training camp last year," wrote Brown. "But his performance in 2015 was inconsistent, both in practices and in games. He was inactive for four games last season, due to injury (thumb) or coach's decision. As the season progressed, Brooks' playing time diminished.
"[S]ome of the coverage mistakes that Brooks made during his first two seasons will have to be eliminated for the coaching staff to gain more trust in him. Brooks should have more confidence in his knee, after it held up last season. If he stands out during minicamp, training camp, and preseason, Brooks' career could begin to trend upward. But if Brooks' performance remains inconsistent, a roster spot is not guaranteed."