The Ravens just solidified the best secondary in the league. Baltimore drafted USC cornerback Iman Marshall in the fourth round with the 127th overall pick. The Ravens, who already have a stacked defensive back unit, drafted a developmental player that could prove a crucial addition in the near future.
Iman Marshall, aka “Biggie,” was a four-year starter at USC. At 6’1″, 205 lbs, he earned the nickname. Known as an excellent tackler and durable starter, Marshall will be a long term development project for the Ravens. Baltimore already has entrenched starters in Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr, so he will not see much time on the field. However, the Ravens will likely give Marshall time on special teams this year.
Marshall won’t get much time on the field this year, but next year, he could see a larger role. Jimmy Smith is playing on the last year of his contract and could be off the Ravens entirely in 2020. Brandon Carr is getting older as well and may retire in the near future. By taking Iman Marshall, the Ravens are planning for the future of a group that is set for the present.
Marshall is only the second defensive player drafted by Baltimore so far in this draft class. The Ravens, known for their defensive prowess, are focusing on offense. With two picks left, one in the fifth round and one in the sixth, the Ravens still have defensive needs to address. Baltimore could draft an inside linebacker with one of those picks. But regardless of what Baltimore does next, this draft class will be seen as the definitive transition from Ozzie Newsome’s strategy to Eric DeCosta’s. So far, DeCosta wants to add speed on offense, and production on defense. This could prove to be a one-year fling or a long term strategy. Ravens fans can only wait and see.