Carroll County Times

Ravens evaluating six free agent cornerbacks, could sign one within the week

OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens have six cornerbacks working out at their minicamp this week on a tryout basis and could sign one within the next week.

"Absolutely," coach John Harbaugh said when asked whether the Ravens could sign one of the corners during the next week or so. "We're going to take the best 90 guys we can to take training camp, and we're going to have the best bullpen that we can for training camp and always have the strongest roster we can."

The Ravens feel good about their starting cornerback tandem of Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, but multiple members of the organization have expressed an interest in adding competition for the nickel cornerback job.

Corey Graham was Baltimore's nickel corner last year, but he signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent.

The Ravens have said young players Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson will get every opportunity to win that nickel job, but they may add a veteran to compete with those two.

Aaron Ross and Drayton Florence are probably the two biggest names among the players working out at minicamp.

Ross was a first-round pick of the New York Giants in 2007 and was a starting cornerback for the Giants as recently as last season.

He is 31 and played in just four games last year because of a back injury, but he has been a starting cornerback throughout his career and has a relationship with Baltimore secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo dating back to when Spagnuolo was the Giants' defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008.

Ross also said his injury last year wasn't that serious despite the fact it landed him on injured reserve just a month into the season.

"[I feel] great," Ross said. "I healed up pretty early in the season. It was one of those calls they had to make because a lot of [defensive backs] were down, so it wasn't really a season-ending injury [like] people would think."

Florence played in 14 games for the Carolina Panthers last year and made five starts.

He will be 34 in December. But like Ross, he has been a starter throughout his career and started games as recently as last season.

The other cornerbacks trying out are former New York Jets and New England Patriots reserve cornerback Marquice Cole, former Atlanta Falcon Dominique Franks, former Indianapolis Colts third-round pick Kevin Thomas and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings practice squad player Bobby Felder.

"I couldn't sit here and distinguish one from another right now," Harbaugh said. "It's just too hard to watch all that with the naked eye. But they all looked good. … We'll go back and look at that tape really closely tonight, take a look at those guys again tomorrow and see where we are."