Ravens' position analysis: Secondary

The Baltimore Ravens' team page wraps up its position-by-position review and outlook for the defense:


Under contract (2014 salary-cap number): CB Lardarius Webb ($10.5 million), CB Jimmy Smith ($2.3M), Matt Elam ($1.5M), CB Chykie Brown ($681,140), CB Asa Jackson ($604,015).

2014 free agents: SS James Ihedigbo (unrestricted), CB Corey Graham (unrestricted), SS Jeromy Miles (unrestricted), S Omar Brown (exclusive rights), S Anthony Levine (exclusive rights) and Brynden Trawick (exclusive rights).

The good: Jimmy Smith was a full-time starter for the first time in his career and he established himself as the team's best cornerback. James Ihedigbo was one of the biggest surprises on defense last season, finishing second on the team with 101 tackles. Matt Elam, the rookie first-round pick, looked better toward the end of the season and had a game-ending interception against the Detroit Lions. Lardarius Webb led the team with 23 passes defensed, and nickel back Corey Graham topped the Ravens with four interceptions.

The bad: The low point of Smith's season came in the finale when he took the wrong angle in trying to tackle Bengals running back Giovani Bernard on a 27-yard screen pass. That was the key play in a 90-yard touchdown drive that ended the Ravens' playoff hopes. Webb wasn't the same one year removed from ACL surgery, and he was faked out badly for a touchdown in a loss at Cleveland. Elam got lost in coverage at times and made the biggest mistake for a safety -- letting a receiver get behind him.

The money: The Ravens are making it a priority to find an athletic free safety, which means they won't aggressively try to re-sign Ihedigbo. If the Ravens can retain Graham in free agency, they will keep all of their cornerbacks from this year. The Ravens may want to reduce Webb's $7.5 million salary.

Draft priority: Low. There's a need for a free safety, but the Ravens used a first-round on a safety last year. I can't see the Ravens spending a high pick on a safety in back-to-back drafts. The Ravens can get an athletic safety in free agency while adding experience at the position. The Ravens have all but one of their top cornerbacks under contract, so there is no pressing need at this position.