After weeks of speculation over whether they would seek help to boost a vulnerable secondary, the Ravens announced Tuesday evening they have acquired cornerback Josh Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks for a conditional 2011 draft pick, pending a passed physical.
Wilson, a former impact player at the University of Maryland, is entering his fourth season in the NFL and has made 24 career starts. The 5-foot-9, 192-pounder was a second-round choice in the 2007 draft. He had been a starting cornerback for the Seahawks this preseason.
“[Wilson] is someone who has started a lot of games for a young player, plus he has been a good special teams player both as a kick returner and in coverages,” general manager Ozzie Newsome stated after the trade. “He adds depth to our secondary and will help us. Pending his physical, we expect [Wilson] to be taking snaps against the Jets on opening night.”
The conditional pick is reportedly a 2011 fifth-round selection that would become a fourth-rounder should Wilson play enough snaps, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The 25-year-old Wilson had a successful 2009 season in Seattle, starting 12 games and returning two interceptions for touchdowns. The former Terp has also returned kickoffs in his brief NFL career, accumulating 94 kickoff returns for 2,350 yards (25.0 avg.) and one touchdown (89 yards).
“He’s an extremely fiery and aggressive player, and I think he’s very talented,” said injured cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who played with Wilson for three years in College Park. “I know his personality fits into what we’re building here. [Wilson] is a no-nonsense type of guy that fits in with this defense and what it means to be a Raven. Off the field, he is a high-integrity guy. He’s a family man, who is very smart and community-minded.”
Wilson would figure to step in as the team’s nickelback, assuming Lardarius Webb is ready to go by Week 1 opposite Fabian Washington in the starting lineup. However, Wilson might supplant current starter Chris Carr should Webb need a few more weeks to work his surgically-repaired right knee back to full strength.
With the competition at punt returner clouded by the recent injury to Donte’ Stallworth, Wilson’s acquisition affords the Ravens the option of using Carr to return punts, a job he held a season ago. Stallworth, Mark Clayton, Tom Zbikowski, and Prince Miller have all been used as punt returners in the preseason.
The Ravens plan to have Wilson arrive in Baltimore on Wednesday, but it is doubtful he will make the trip to St. Louis for the team’s final preseason contest against the Rams on Thursday night.