With the 16th pick the 2017 NFL Draft the Baltimore Ravens select…Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama.

This was not the sexy pick that most Ravens fans clamored for. With 7 of the first 10 selections being on the offensive side of the ball, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome had no choice but to go defense. Most Ravens fans would have preferred an offensive weapon to put around their $100 million arm. Like many other Ravens fans, I suspected the Ravens would snag Alabama tight end OJ Howard.

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It would’ve been nice to have the multidimensional tight end wreak havoc over the middle of the field. But with a plethora of tight ends already on the roster drafting Howard would not address an immediate need.

Last season the Ravens were plagued by injuries in the secondary. The moment Jimmy Smith went down many fans proclaimed the season to be over. Jimmy Smith’s absence undoubtedly lead to a couple of losses…objsmith

With that in mind, the Ravens set out this off-season to improve the secondary and add depth. Injuries are almost inevitable in the secondary. The additions of Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr were huge to help solidify the back end of the Ravens defense. Although Carr has never missed a start in his career, he is 30, and father time could slowly creep up on him.

It was 2011 the last time the Ravens took a cornerback in the top three rounds; they drafted Jimmy Smith in the first round. After last year’s secondary nightmare, the Ravens took necessary measures to ensure that they’re ready when the injury bug bites.

Marlon Humphrey was arguably the best cornerback in the draft. Frankly, I think the Ravens were a little surprised he was there at 16. Humphrey has tremendous size and speed. He has exceptional recovery speed and isn’t afraid to get physical. The Fabian Washington and Frank Walker years are long gone. Jefferson and Humphrey should offer plenty of run support from the secondary. Humphrey is a great tackler and is always trying to rake the ball away from the ball carrier.

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Humphrey does tend to struggle with the deep ball and relies too often on his athleticism to make plays. He needs to work on his footwork and technique. However, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn in a veteran secondary. There’s no pressure for Humphrey to come in and be the No. 1 corner. Overall, this is a solid pick by the Ravens. It can never hurt to have too much depth in the secondary when you play in a division with AJ Green, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant.

GRADE: B+

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