"The Competition" is a series that breaks down every position battle leading up to training camp.
Jimmy Smith (6-foot-2, 209 pounds, 5th season)
Lardarius Webb (5-10, 182, 7th season)
Rashaan Melvin (6-2, 193, 2nd season)
Asa Jackson (5-10, 182, 4th season)
Tramain Jacobs (5-11, 182, 2nd season)
Quinton Pointer (5-9, 194, 3rd season)
Chris Greenwood (6-1, 193, 3rd season)
Kyle Arrington (5-10, 190, 7th season)
Cassius Vaughn (5-11, 195, 6th season)
Tray Walker (6-2, 191)
Smith and Webb are clearly the top two players on the depth chart going into training camp. Both have signed big contracts with the Ravens, and the expectation is for them to be foundation of the secondary. The biggest question, however, is whether they can remain healthy. Both have struggled with injuries throughout their careers, including last season when a rash of injuries was the undoing of the secondary. Webb dealt with back and groin issues last year and Smith missed the second half of the season with a foot injury. Both practiced during minicamp.
Key Role Players
The Ravens brought in Arrington, a former Patriot, to give them a proven slot defender. He's been a quality player throughout his career, and he's expected to be in the starting lineup when the Ravens open the game with three cornerbacks. Arrington also has plenty of starting experience if Webb or Smith were to miss time with injuries.
Melvin and Jackson are also two players to watch in the defensive backfield. Melvin caught the coaching staff's attention when injuries forced him into the starting lineup late last season. He played with confidence and aggressiveness, but struggled in the divisional-round loss to the Patriots. Jackson has shown some bright spots during his first three seasons in the NFL. Like Arrington, his strength is working as a slot cornerback.
Most Anticipated Battle
The top jobs are mostly settled at cornerback, but there will be a fight for the final roster spots. Walker is expected to make the team as a fourth-round pick, which would give the Ravens six cornerbacks. But the Ravens also like the potential of Greenwood and Jacobs, who both spent time on the active roster last season. Pointer flashed during OTAs and minicamp. Training camp and the preseason will be critical in determining who goes into Week 1 on the 53-man squad.
Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb lead the group that will include a tight battle for roster spots.