Chykie, Asa or Player TBD
By Chris Schisler
For the past two seasons theRavens have depended heavily on their third cornerback. Losing Corey Graham now leaves this position up for grabs. The Two frontrunners to be the nickel spot seem to be Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown. Are the Ravens content with these two options, or will they find another replacement for Graham?
Asa Jackson is the better athlete but Chykie Brown is more experienced. Jackson doomed his 2013 season by being suspended for the first 8 games. Jackson is quicker and has better ball skills in my opinion and could generate some turnovers from the nickel position. Jackson showed signs in 2 consecutive preseasons of being an X-factor on special teams as a returner. Jackson wins in terms of upside.
Chykie Brown scares me in man to man coverage- he has a tendency to be more physical than the rules allow. I worry about pass interference penalties with Brown. He was very fortunate not to be penalized on the Steelers two point conversion attempt in the final moments of the Thanksgiving showdown. He was draped all over the Steelers receiver and did not try to locate the ball. Brown’s advantage is being able to get some quality playing time. Brown has been decent but never all that great. The Ravens seem to think he is still developing into a good player.
The Ravens could go an alternative route. For example Asante Samuel is a veteran cornerback on the free agent market. Samuel was once a star but his best days are behind him. He would be an intriguing option to shut down slot receivers and has a knack for interceptions. At the end of the day I don’t see the Ravens signing a veteran defensive back. Nobody they could bring in (Including Samuel) is a significant upgrade to what Baltimore already has. Therefore it’s not worth the investment.
Cornerback, Sammy Seamster was an undrafted free agent signing. The rookie is quick and has tremendous upside. Unless he is amazing in the preseason he won’t beat out Asa or Chykie. Seamster however projects to make the team and could work his way up at some point in 2014.
If you made me guess, I would say that Asa Jackson ends up winning the nickel job. The reality of the passing oriented NFL is that you can never have enough defensive backs. Chykie Brown will get plenty of playing time in sub packages. The third corner position is the only question mark in a strong Ravens secondary; assuming Terrance Brooks is good to start right away at free safety. Ladarius Webb and Jimmy Smith might be one of the league’s premier CB duos. Matt Elam is promising entering his second season.
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