The Baltimore Ravens invited a group of six NFL free agent cornerbacks to participate in their mandatory minicamp this past week on a tryout basis. It appears as though they have found some they like enough to keep them around at least through Training Camp.
The team is reportedly set to sign veteran corners Aaron Ross and Dominique Franks according to multiple reports. The players apparently beat out four other corners (Drayton Florence, Marquice Cole, Bobby Felder and Kevin Thomas) for the gigs. Head coach John Harbaugh had indicated Thursday the team planned so sign “a couple of” the corners that had tried out, noting “they acquitted themselves well.”
Both players made the signings official via their own personal Twitter accounts Thursday night.
Franks, 26, is entering his 5th NFL season-each of the first four having been spent with the Atlanta Falcons. He was a fifth round selection out of Oklahoma in the 2010 NFL Draft. Franks recorded three interceptions and made four starts in his first two seasons with the Falcons but did not record either a start or a pick in either of the last two seasons despite playing 32 games.
Ross, 31, is a two-time Super Bowl champion as a member of the New York Giants. Ross played the first five seasons of his career with the Giants after being selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Ross then spent the 2012 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before returning to the Giants in 2013. The Wisconsin native saw his 2013 campaign cut short due to a back injury that forced him to injured reserve after Week 4. The former Texas Longhorn has tallied 11 interceptions (two returned for TD’s) and 2.5 sacks over his seven NFL seasons.
The Baltimore Sun has also reported the Ravens will sign linebackers Austin Spitler and Nick DiMarco. Spitler has spent the last four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, DiMarco was an undrafted free agent out of William Penn.
The team adds what appears to be necessary depth at the cornerback position with the moves but nothing appears to be guaranteed. Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb would appear to be the team’s top corners, but Franks and Ross will likely compete with younger players Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson for the third and fourth cornerback spots. The veterans could end up nabbing the playing time at those spots or could end up being released altogether before the start of the regular season. Injuries and special teams contributions will go a long way towards determining how the position will shape up.
The team is hoping to replace the production of veteran CB Corey Graham, who departed for the Buffalo Bills earlier in the offseason via free agency. Undrafted free agent Sammy Seamster has caught the attention of coaches and media members who have watched practice over the past month. Rookies Tramain Jacobs, Dexter Moody, Ayodeji Olatoye and Avery Patterson are also on the roster.
The team has yet to officially announce any of the four signings but is expected to do so in the coming days.