Too Many CBs Means Days Are Numbered

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It's never a bad thing to have a glut of talent in an NFL locker room, but the Ravens may have too much at cornerback.

With Baltimore's top four corners opting out of this week's voluntary Organized Team Activity (OTA), several prospects stepped up with strong performances.

But unfortunately for them, there are only so many spots on the 53-man roster.

"The problem is they don't let you have too many," head coach John Harbaugh said about the league-mandated limit. "We've probably got more corners than can make our team, if you look at it. But that's a good problem to have."

Fabian Washington, Domonique FoxworthSamari Rolle and Frank Walker were all absent from the most recent minicamp, while Chris Carr is still recovering from shoulder surgery, keeping him limited in practice.

Third-round draft pick Lardarius Webb, a raw but developing prospect, was also limited as he nursed a hamstring injury.

That left Evan OglesbyDerrick Martin and Anwar Phillips to mark the Ravens' receivers, and they turned some heads in the process.

But, the cutoff point is typically set at five or six corners, meaning each one of them could eventually be released by opening day.

"[Chuck Pagano, secondary coach] told us the circumstances from the jump," said Oglesby, who began his second stint with the Ravens in Week 1 last year after being released by the Dallas Cowboys. "He let me know what I needed to do to make this team.

"I can't think about the end of the road, because I have no control over that. I'm just going to have a good time and let the chips fall where they may at the end."

Harbaugh attributed much of their improvement to Pagano, who is very hands-on with his charges.

"That tier has gotten a lot better," Harbaugh noted. "I think Chuck Pagano has done a great job with them. When you look at those guys, they're doing well."

That showed Tuesday, when Phillips came up with an interception of a Troy Smith pass that tipped off wideout Justin Harper, and then broke up another pass two plays later. Oglesby had two passes defensed and has seen his share of picks this offseason. And Martin, who actually started three games for Baltimore last year, quickly closed on a receiver to disrupt a touchdown pass.

While Oglesby, Martin and Phillips are enjoying their chance to shine, the reality of the situation hangs like an ominous rain cloud over their heads.

"I'm feeling good, but I know the situation I'm in," Oglesby said. "I can only go out there and have fun while displaying my talents for all the coaches. I'm learning a lot of nickel, so I have to almost know what everybody's doing, not just the corners and safeties. I'm comfortable with that."

Pagano has made the situation abundantly clear.

The Ravens finished last season with only five corners on their active roster. Phillips toiled on the practice squad, and Martin and Chris McAlister both ended the campaign on Injured Reserve with shoulder and knee injuries, respectively.

In the NFL, there are never enough talented cornerbacks to be had. But there will have to be some massaging of the roster if the Ravens want to keep a large number at that position.

"There will be great competition in training camp, and if we do have some injuries, we'll have guys that can step in and do it," Harbaugh said.  

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