With training camp right around the corner, we’re breaking down each position’s competition. Today we look at the cornerbacks.
In the Hunt
- Anthony Averett, second season
- Justin Bethel, eighth season
- Terrell Bonds, rookie
- Maurice Canady, fourth season
- Brandon Carr, 12th season
- Marlon Humphrey, third season
- Bennett Jackson, sixth season
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste, fifth season
- Iman Marshall, rookie
- Jimmy Smith, ninth season
- Tavon Young, fourth season
- Cyrus Jones, fourth season
When all healthy, the Ravens have had the luxury of rotating three outside starters the past couple years with Smith, Carr and Humphrey. All three would be among any team’s top two starters if they played elsewhere.
Smith is healthy and poised to put it all together. At age 33, Carr is still the model for consistency and durability, and is coming off one of the finest seasons of his career. Humphrey is the young rising star. Last year, he was named the Ravens’ MVP by the local media, and now he’s on the precipice of becoming a Pro Bowler.
Considering how often teams line up with three wide receivers, a team’s slot corner is basically another starter. The Ravens gave Young a sizeable contract extension this offseason because he’s such a big part of the secondary.
The final couple spots in the cornerback corps will be closely contested. Smith, Carr, Humphrey, Young, Averett and Marshall (fourth-round picks from 2018 and 2019, respectively) are all seemingly locks. That’s six, and leaves only one or two more spots available.
Canady has always been a versatile and impressive player, but has struggled to stay healthy. Jean-Baptiste looked like he was destined to make the team last year before he suffered a broken arm in the preseason finale. Jones was the team’s best punt returner last season, but he missed all of OTAs and minicamp with an unspecified medical issue. The Ravens signed Bethel this offseason largely for his special teams expertise, but he still finds himself in a tight battle.
Under the Radar
It’s a longshot, but Bonds stood out during minicamp and could earn his way onto the team with a similarly strong training camp. The undrafted rookie out of Tennessee State played for the Memphis Express of the now defunct Alliance of American Football before the Ravens scooped him up. Bonds has stood out simply by making plays. He picked off quarterback Lamar Jackson twice on red-zone plays during one minicamp practice. Bonds would have to prove that he could help in a big way on special teams if he’s going to make the 53-man roster.