As the Ravens concluded the draft on Saturday, local receiver Michael Campanaro was throwing a big party after the Ravens selected him with their final pick in the draft. Somewhere Chykie Brown probably should have been throwing a party, too.
That's because the Ravens used none of their nine draft picks on a cornerback, leaving Brown as the presumptive starting nickel back when training camp begins in July.
Ozzie Smith had said at the Ravens pre-draft news conference that, "You can’t have enough corners, especially when you’re in a league now where it’s a passing league with people putting three or four receivers in the games."
But at the moment, it appears the Ravens might not have enough corners.
Starters Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith are back, but after losing Corey Graham to free agency, the only other returning cornberbacks are Brown and Asa Jackson. And Jackson has not played a defensive snap in his two-year career. The Ravens are almost certain to comb the waiver wire for cornerback help, and Newsome said after the draft that, "We’re not done as far as building this football team." But for now, the nickel job is Brown's to lose.
Brown, a fifth-round pick out of Texas in 2011, played 39 defensive snaps this past season, according to Pro Football Focus, and he finished the season with two tackles on defense and eight more on special teams. His biggest play came at home against the Steelers. On a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt with 1:03 left, Ben Roethlisberger went right after Brown, who had just replaced the injured Jimmy Smith. Brown broke up the pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders in the end zone and the Ravens won, 22-20.
In his career, Brown has 19 career defensive tackles and eight pass break-ups. He has yet to record an interception. He has been one of the Ravens top special teams cover players and has 20 career special teams tackles.
Graham went from special teams standout to the Ravens top nickel back, and now Brown hopes to make the same jump.
At the pre-draft news conference, Newsome said, "Every time I walk past Chykie, he’s saying, ‘This is my chance,’ and I say, ‘Yes, it is.’ "