Mike Mayock Downplays Ravens' Cornerback Need


NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock identified cornerback as one of the Ravens' top needs, along with wide receiver and outside linebacker.

But Mayock didn't sound the alarm nearly to the degree that some Baltimore fans have since the season ended, and said he would go with a wide receiver first.

"As far as corner is concerned with Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb, if they come back healthy it certainly takes some of the sting out of needing it," Mayock said.

Mayock added that a healthy Webb and Smith makes the cornerback position look "a heck of a lot better than it did a year ago."

The issue is, those are both "ifs," as Smith and Webb have each battled a variety of injuries during their careers. Smith is coming off a season-ending foot injury. Webb dealt with a back injury throughout the first half of the season or more, and has torn two ACLs.

If the Ravens do opt to go with a cornerback in the first or second round, Mayock pointed to a few options that may be of interest to Baltimore.

LSU's Jalen Collins "is really intriguing" to Mayock. He has limited starting experience, and came out of school earlier than some pundits predicted, but is very physically gifted at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds.

"He's a press corner, not afraid to play in your face, will tackle, understands how to play the game, has some physicality about him," Mayock said. "I think he's going to be a first-round pick."

Florida State's P.J. Williams is another player Mayock sees going in the first round. Mayock said teams will see him as a first-round pick because of his length, adding that he can play outside in the "NFL's continuing quest to get longer."

The Ravens drafted a pair of Seminoles last year with defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and safety Terrence Brooks. Williams is another impact player who made 60 tackles and one interception as a junior this season.

Kevin Johnson is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior who made 44 tackles last year and one interception. He's a local product from River Hill High School (Clarksville, Md.), where he was good friends with Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro. He followed Campanaro to Wake Forest.

Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who tore his ACL before the college playoffs but is considered one of the college football's top corners, would be "quite a steal" in the second round. Quinten Rollins, a former basketball point guard at Miami-Ohio, and Utah's Eric Rowe, a cornerback/safety, are other second- or third-round options Mayock pointed to for Baltimore.

Washington's Marcus Peters is a potential first-rounder, but Mayock didn't link him to the Ravens. Peters is facing questions about his maturity and was suspended twice during his final season. Once was because of a sideline tantrum and the other was for being late turning in a class assignment.

Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes is expected to be drafted before the Ravens are on the clock at No. 26. He's the top cornerback on many pundits' boards.

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