In the weeks leading up to April's NFL draft, I will highlight four players at each position whom the Ravens could target at different stages in the draft -- from their top pick to their Mr. Irrelevant. In this post, I will focus on cornerbacks.
Remember, I'm not saying the Ravens will take a cornerback with their first-round pick, though it's a possibility with Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington set to become free agents. I'm just giving you a player whom they might consider if they decided to go that route. Here are four corners they could have in their sights:
Round 1: Jimmy Smith, Colorado. The draft stock of Smith is the most volatile among first-round prospects. He is a top-15 talent with height, speed and cover skills, but some teams have reportedly removed him from their draft boards after chatting with him about his off-the-field transgressions. That's why Smith might be available when the Ravens are on the clock late in the first round. And if he's there, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. thinks the Ravens would snatch Smith up. "He has a chance to be a steal if his attitude matches his skill-set," Kiper wrote in his latest mock draft. "A burner with shut-down skills, good ball awareness and elite size for the position, he adds immediate depth with the chance to start early."
Rounds 2-3: Ras-I Dowling, Virginia. The Ravens, whose regulars at cornerback last season were all shorter than six feet, must bulk up at the position. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Dowling ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, but he pulled his hamstring, again raising concerns about his durability. If his stock drops, Kiper believes Dowling would be a steal in the third round.
Rounds 4-5: Shareece Wright, USC. Ruled academically ineligible for the 2009 season, Wright bounced back last season, racking up 73 tackles and three sacks for the Trojans. He had a solid Senior Bowl, and there was buzz on the Internet about Wright studying up the night before the game in preparation. The Ravens love players who love football, so Wright's name will be one to remember draft weekend.
Rounds 6-7: DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami. Van Dyke, the other Miami cornerback -- the Ravens have been linked to his Hurricanes teammate Brandon Harris -- ran the fastest 40-yard dash at this year's combine. The Ravens already had Van Dyke on their radar, but that blazing 4.28 probably opened eyes over at the Castle.
OK, your turn: Which player, if any, should the Ravens target at this position during draft weekend?