After all that, the Ravens still need a cornerback

After several months of planning and three days of participation in the NFL, the Ravens still need a starting cornerback.

Despite adding nine rookies over the weekend, the 2015 Ravens look a lot like the 2014 Ravens, the team that had problems matching up against quality quarterbacks, and allowed New England signal caller Tom Brady to chew them up in the second half of an AFC divisional round playoff game.


Unless the Ravens make a trade between now and the season opener, or Brady, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger decide to retire, history could repeat itself.

"We're not done putting this team together right now," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "It's still two or three months — maybe four months — before we have to play Denver. We as a personnel staff, we're still going to be mining for players to make our roster, to make us better."

But teams usually obtain a cornerback through the draft or free agency, and the Ravens still haven't gotten one. They didn't ante up enough money to sign quality free agents like Perrish Cox, Tramon Williams or former Raven Cary Williams.

And they didn't get one in the first three rounds of the draft over the weekend. Trade? Cornerbacks are like quarterbacks. They are hard to find, and no one really wants to give you one.

The Ravens' selections over the weekend were understandable. They took wide Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman at No. 26 overall in the first round because he was the best and fastest receiver left with first-round value.

They took Minnesota's Maxx Williams, who they valued highly, in the second round because all of the top-rated cornerbacks were gone and they needed a tight end. But the cornerback position has been an Achilles' heel the past two years and the Ravens had 10 picks before trading a fifth-rounder to move up three spots to draft Williams, so why not trade up in the first round and get a cornerback like Washington's Marcus Peters of Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson?

Why not solidify a defense that is just one playmaker, maybe just one play, from reaching the Super Bowl?

Instead, the Ravens took a receiver who has problems catching the ball and a tight end who struggles blocking. Both Perriman and Williams might eventually be better than the players they will replace, but not next year.

Perriman is Torrey Smith, super sized. He says he has a chip on his shoulder because he has dropped so many passes. Well, hello. He should, much like a point guard who can't dribble or a strong safety who can't tackle (see the Ravens' Matt Elam).

Williams, meanwhile, has excellent potential, but he doesn't have the experience or the knowledge of the West Coast offense like predecessor Owen Daniels.

So, combined with new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, the Ravens offense will be a work in progress for the first half of the year, and probably not as good as last year. But if they had added a cornerback like Peters or Johnson, they could have helped themselves immediately.

It seems as though the Ravens are content with the secondary — they have certainly spent enough money on it, restructuring Lardarius Webb's contract and signing cornerback Jimmy Smith to a five year, $48 million deal.

But neither Webb nor Smith has stayed healthy for a complete season during the last couple of years. You can count on death and taxes, not Webb and Smith.

Overall, the Ravens appeared to have a decent draft, one we really won't be able to accurately evaluate for three or four years. They selected Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis in the third round, and that addressed one position of concern.


Starting defensive end Chris Canty, a 10-year veteran, is injury prone. Second-year tackle Timmy Jernigan isn't consistent yet. Reserve ends Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore both missed last season with major knee injuries, so the only real star left is third-year player Brandon Williams.

Now, the Ravens at least have another possibility in Davis, who could become a starter sooner than most expect. They also might have added another good pass rusher in Kentucky linebacker Za'Darius Smith, the 122nd overall pick and the first of three fourth-round selections, and a downhill runner in USC running back Javorius Allen, who might be more of a factor as a pass catcher out of the backfield than as a ball carrier.

After every draft, all team officials are giddy about their picks. They always talk about how they filled their needs and how they are a better football team.

The Ravens might be a better team in the future, but right now are not better than they were a year ago. That might change if they add another starting cornerback.

Until then, history is likely to repeat itself.