Ravens CB Rashaan Melvin has emerged from obscurity to become NFL starter

First he walked on at Northern Illinois and now Rashaan Melvin is earning his spot as an undrafted free agent.

When the season started, Ravens cornerback Rashaan Melvin was on the bench for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before being cut and being out of a job for five weeks.

Now, the former undrafted free agent from Northern Illinois is starting for the Ravens heading into Saturday night's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Melvin has started two of the three games he's played and has recorded 17 tackles, one pass deflection and a forced fumble.

"It's awesome," said Melvin, who was signed off the Miami Dolphins' practice squad in November. "It's a great feeling to be part of this organization. I just want to be great and help my team win."

Melvin has made progress over the past few games, allowing just five catches on 15 passes thrown in his direction for 67 yards and no touchdowns.

"Oh man, he's been learning really quickly," veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "He kind of had to learn on the job. He's doing a great job being patient and Spags [secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo] has been doing a great job working with him. He's going out, laying it all on the line and competing."

Melvin didn't play in the Ravens' 43-23 loss to the Steelers earlier this season, but has been studying the game video.

"There were a couple of mistakes and blown coverages," Melvin said. "You try not to make the same mistakes twice. You go in confident, believing you're going to be on top of everything."

Although this will be the biggest game of Melvin's NFL career, he says he's not worried about his ability to handle the situation.

"No, there's no pressure," said Melvin, who walked on at Northern Illinois before later earning a scholarship. "I've been through a lot. I've seen a lot. There's no pressure. I play with a lot of confidence. I believe in myself and my abilities. Those other guys, they believe in me, too. There's no pressure."

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