Ravens excited about fifth-round corner

OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens' quest for sizable cornerbacks didn't end when they landed imposing University of Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith in the first round. Four rounds later, they followed through on secondary coach Teryl Austin's strong recommendation and drafted University of Texas cornerback Chykie Brown with the 164th overall selection.

It didn't hurt that the 6-foot, 194-pound fifth-round pick has run the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds and registered a 39-inch vertical leap at his campus Pro Day workout.

"It's hard to find big corners," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "We've been trying to do that for about five years now. He's a big guy who can run. Unlike a lot of corners, his arms are over 33 inches. He can press, which was attractive to us. Explosive guy, jumps well, we think he's a guy that can get better."

The Ravens covet cornerbacks who are strong enough to square up with a wide receiver, jam him in the chest, backpedal, flip their hips and match their speed downfield. With Brown, they get a cornerback who's well-versed in press coverage.

"Yeah, I pressed," Brown said. "That's one of the strongest parts of my game. I do that pretty much hall the time. Coaches give me the opportunity to do whatever I want to do. So, I choose to press." Brown was known as the most aggressive of the Longhorns' cornerback trio of him Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown as far as run support. He finished his career with 106 tackles, nine for losses and four sacks. Although he deflected 24 passes, he only intercepted two career passes. "Some of them, I got my hands on the ball and got a little too excited and let it go," Brown said. "Most of the time, I didn't get the ball thrown to me at all. If it did come my way, I had perfect coverage and it just overthrown or was too short." Brown has 33 7/8 inch arms with a 78 5/8 inch wingspan. He bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times, one less than the 23 repetitions hoisted by Ravens third-round offensive tackle Jah Reid. Reid is 6-7, 325 pounds.

Brown remains on the mend from a broken forearm suffered last season.

"It's pretty good," Brown said. "It's not 100 percent, but I'm not limited too much. I've still been working and all that. They said it needs a little more time to heal." The Ravens also envision Brown contributing in kick coverage and possibly cross-training at more than one position in the secondary. Some teams projected Brown as a free safety prospect. Growing up in Houston, Brown played all over the place.

The all-state selection lined up at free safety, cornerback, running back and wide receiver, finishing with 120 tackles, 10 interceptions, 19 pass deflections, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

"Chykie is a kid that started at corner, played at safety, brings some versatility," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We think he'll be a really good special-teamer." Brown, whose first name is pronounced Shock-ee, is a former college roommate of Ravens outside linebacker Sergio Kindle.

Kindle missed his entire rookie season with a fractured skull suffered when he fell down two flights of stairs. The Ravens are more hopeful now that Kindle might eventually be cleared medically.

"I just hope he comes back," Brown said. "I hope the old Sergio I know gets his head all straight and just comes back and is the Sergio that you all thought he would be. God knows, he's a great player. So, I just hope he comes back as strong as he ever was."

Brown started 23 of 45 games for Texas, including 11 at weakside cornerback, nine on the strong side and another three in the nickel package. Austin worked out all of the Texas secondary draft prospects and was impressed by Brown. The Ravens drafted Brown for his upside as much as anything.

"We think he's got a skill set to get better," DeCosta said. "When you're picking down in the lower rounds, sometimes you're looking for traits. All those guys are down there for a reason, so you're looking for specific traits. We see some positive traits with this kid that could lead us to think he can become a productive member of our defense."

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