4 Combine Standouts Ravens Can Target to Replace 3-time Pro Bowl CB

Ravens CB Marcus Peters

Getty CB Marcus Peters could be one of many veterans the Ravens might need to replace with younger inexpensive options this offseason.

The Baltimore Ravens chose the lesser of two one-year cap-hit evils when they placed the nonexclusive tag on MVP-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

While they don’t need to clear up as much cap space as they would’ve had they decided to use the exclusive tender, tough decisions and restructures will still need to be made ahead of the start of the new league year on March 15.

One of the difficult choices could very well be saying goodbye to three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career after being traded twice before receiving his first contract extension from the Ravens during the 2019 season.

Given that he is 30 years old and coming off a down year relative to his usual high standard of play albeit in his first season back from a major injury, the team might look towards the draft to address the vital position and use their first-round pick to find a replacement for Peters.

There were several cornerback prospects that helped elevate and even catapult their respective draft stocks with standout performances in either the athletic testing, field drills, or both in some cases.

Here are five candidates that the Raven will likely have their eye on with the 2023 draft less than two months away:

Deonte Banks, Maryland

The former Terppin is one of the fastest risers coming out of the Combine where he dazzled coaches, scouts, executives, and pundits alike with his fantastic outing. He ran a blazing 4.36 in the 40-yard Dash which was tied for the third fastest of any cornerback and fourth-fastest of any prospect regardless of position.

Banks also produced a 42-inch vertical jump which was the highest of any corner and third highest overall and leaped 11 feet and 4 inches in the broad jump which was the second farthest among corners and prospects overall. His field workouts were impressive as well with how smooth he looked transitioning in his backpedal.

He didn’t make nearly as many plays on the ball in college as Peters did at the University of Washington with just two interceptions in four years compared to the veteran stalwart’s 11 in three years with the Huskies prior to getting selected No. 18 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015. However, that is more likely a result of opposing teams opting to throw away from his side of the field but he did manage to record a career-high 8 pass deflections as a senior in 2022 according to Sports Reference.

He’d be an ideal second outside corner to play opposite three-time Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey and would give the Ravens a pair of rarely gifted athletes on the perimeter. Under the tutelage and mentorship of recently hired defensive backs coach, Dennard Wilson, Banks could possibly blossom into a perennial Pro Bowl difference-maker.

Jakorian Bennett, Maryland

If the Ravens miss out on Banks in the first round or opt to take a wide receiver instead, they could still possibly land his college teammate who also had an impressive showing at the Combine. Bennett ran an even faster 40-yard dash than his fellow former Terp with 4.30 which was the second fastest of anyone at any position of the entire weekend and fifth fastest all-time. He also recorded a 40.5-inch vertical jump and leaped 11’1″ in the broad jump and performed well in the position drills.

Bennett was a pass-breakup monster in his last two years of college with 11 in each and 5 interceptions over that span as well. He is an aggressive defensive back with good ball skills and is both willing and effective in run defense which the Ravens love and makes plays on special teams, an aspect they love and value more than most teams.

Prior to the Combine, he was being projected to be a day 3 selection but after he put his elite athletism on full display, he will likely shoot up draft boards and should be a viable option for DeCosta to take in the third round at No. 86 overall.

DJ Turner, Michigan

As fast as both Banks and Bennett were in the 40-yard dash, neither’s speed was comparable to that of the former Wolverine standout. Turner didn’t just run the only sub-4.3 time of the entire weekend, his official mark of 4.26 tied for the fourth fastest in the Combine’s recorded history dating back to the early 2000s.

He also recorded a 38.5-inch vertical jump and leaped 10 feet and 11 inches in the broad jump. While he didn’t participate in any of the field workouts after testing off the charts, Turner’s tape tells the tale of the kind of impact he can have on the field and put his dangerous speed and traits to use.

In his last two collegiate seasons, Turner II recorded 17 pass deflections including a career-high 10 in 2022, 3 interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a pair of defensive touchdowns off of turnovers. He possesses the positional and schematic versatility and the ability to mirror to thrive both on the outside and bump inside to play in the slot at nickel.

Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State

Of all the prospects whose stocks are trending upward on this list, the former Bulldog is the one that most closely resembles Peters when it comes to instincts, ball skills, and a knack for scoring on defense. He holds the record for most career interceptions returned for touchdowns with six and totaled 15 takeaways in his three-year college career.

While he weighed in a lot lighter than many expected at 166 pounds, it was likely a result of his training to run as fast as he could. His strategy paid off as she ran a blazing 4.35 in the 40-yard dash which tied Banks for the third-fastest among corners and fifth-fastest overall.

Forbes is a big play waiting to happen who, like Peters, is a threat to take the ball away on any given possession. He is a long wirey coverman who can use his length, burst, and recognition to sniff out and jump short routes in underneath coverage and take the ball back the other direction.

After being widely viewed as a day 2 pick heading into the Combine, Forbes might have tested his way into first-round consideration. With no second-round pick as it currently stands, the Ravens only shot to land him might be in the first or in a trade-back scenario to collect more picks that could possibly include regaining a second-rounder.

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