Maurice Canady made three interceptions in Ravens Organized Team Activities Thursday, and it wasn't even his best practice ever.
"You're not going to believe me, but at Virginia, I had seven one day," Canady said.
On that day in college, Canady was a freshman cornerback playing on the scout team. It wasn't long until he was moved up to the first-team defense.
Now Canady is hoping to make the same jump with the Ravens in his second season, and he's earning the chance.
"He has to prove it in games, but he is going to get a chance to do that, because he is earning that opportunity right now," Head Coach John Harbaugh said after Thursday's practice.
After being placed on season-ending injured reserve early in his rookie season, the 2016 sixth-round pick finds himself fighting for opportunities in a deep Ravens cornerback corps. With the injury to Tavon Young, however, Canady is one of the candidates to step into a bigger role.
He put his best foot forward Thursday. After Young left, Canady picked off a long pass down the sideline with a leaping grab, then stepped in front of a receiver for a second pick. Not long after, in 11-on-11 drills, he corralled a tipped pass for a third interception.
In the first week of Ravens OTAs, Canady also had one of the most impressive interceptions as he cut underneath the wide receiver and made a diving pick.
"It's definitely a confidence booster," Canady said. "Being on IR last year, I wasn't in the football swing of things. I wasn't putting my helmet on. So it's good to get back into it."
A hamstring injury knocked Canady out last season after four games. It was a frustrating development after he had a strong offseason, training camp and preseason last year as well.
Canady says he's totally recovered, and he attacked his offseason training. Canady was frequently at the Under Armour Performance Center working out with teammates, which led to him dominating the team's strength and conditioning program and rolled into a hot start in OTAs.
"He does not lose very often. A lot of stuff is very competitive, and he finds a way to win a lot," Harbaugh said. "He has slimmed up a little bit, but he has strengthened at the same time. I just think he is moving really well, and he has a knack for the game."
Canady also has great size at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, and good length. He was a three-year starter at Virginia, made five interceptions and was a team captain as a senior.
Canady still has a lot of competition for playing time. Veteran Lardarius Webb and first-round draft pick Marlon Humphrey could also step in for Young, and Sheldon Price is another young, promising cornerback.
Canady is used to having to prove himself. He still remembers spending two years on junior varsity at Varina High School in Richmond, Va., after many of his friends were moved up to varsity.
"I'm always a player that plays with a chip on his shoulder. I've made my whole career on that," Canady said.
"You can never worry about what the next man is doing. You just have to look in the mirror. If I play well, hey, that's all I can do. So I'm just worried about stacking days on top of each other."