Some applaud Arrington's work in the slot after he shut down Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton in two meetings last season, including the AFC Championship Game. Others remember how he let a couple of deep passes go over his head in the Super Bowl to unknown receiver Chris Matthews.
So, what are the Ravens getting in Arrington? There's no one better to ask than ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss, who gave his keen insight in this scouting report on Arrington:
Strength: "Excellent in run support, showing a willingness to take on receivers, tight ends and even offensive tackles at times. In coverage, has done some of his best work against the game’s top players in the slot, such as receivers Hilton (Colts), Wes Welker (Broncos) and Victor Cruz (Giants). Speaking in scouting jargon, I’d say he has a good combination of reactive athleticism and toughness that helps him excel in the slot, where there’s more traffic to contend with on the field. His ball skills are reflected with a league-high seven interceptions in the 2011 season. He’s smart, and he only missed two games because of injury in his time with the Patriots, so durability has been a plus. Will contribute on special teams as he played on the kickoff coverage team, was used as a gunner at times on the punt coverage team, and played the vice role against opposing gunners on the punt return unit. One of the classiest players to come through the Patriots’ locker room in recent years, he’s accountable to teammates and is a team-first type of guy."
Weakness: "When pressed into action as an outside cornerback, Arrington struggled at times. But when the Patriots solely dedicated him to the slot, as they did in 2014 when he had 40.9 percent playing time on defense, that’s when Arrington seemed to be at his best; specifically when matched up against smaller, shiftier receivers. It’s when he’s asked to match up against bigger receivers that can lead to some trouble for him. Specifically, in the Super Bowl, we saw how Arrington’s size (5-foot-10, 190) worked against him in a matchup against a taller, rangier receiver in Seattle’s Matthews (6-foot-5, 218) that led to him being replaced by Malcolm Butler."
Are the Ravens getting a quality nickelback?: "Yes. My feeling is that the Patriots’ decision to part ways with Arrington was more about his salary ($3 million) and cap charge ($4.625 million) than the player himself. Arrington also adds value on special teams, which I don’t think can be overlooked, and in the locker room. I see it as a solid signing for the Ravens and with Arrington growing up in Accokeek, Maryland, they’ll also be getting a player who has an appreciation for where he’s playing because it’s home. Seems like a no-brainer."