Newsome: Baxter could be shifting positions again

BALTIMORE – Depending upon the Baltimore Ravens' impending actions in the NFL draft, starting cornerback Gary Baxter could be moving again.<br><br> Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said Monday that Baxter's versatility will be factored into the Ravens' decisions on college players.<br>

"Gary gives us a lot of flexibility and, hopefully, this draft will determine what position Gary will be at for the rest of his career with the Baltimore Ravens," Newsome said. "If we're fortunate enough to get a good, young corner that can come in and play, then Gary could be a safety.

"If we get a great young safety, then Gary could be a corner for us. His flexibility is a big bonus for us."
A second-round draft pick out of Baylor in 2001, Baxter shifted to cornerback ahead of veteran Corey Fuller last season after initially working at free safety.

Baxter has said he prefers to play cornerback full-time and envisions himself as a future Pro Bowl selection.

Newsome emphasized that Fuller is in the team's plans, but as a cornerback, not at safety.

"Corey will still be on this football team," Newsome said. "I think we'll play him at cornerback this year. That could change as we get into training camp. As we head into our minicamps, he'll be at corner."

LEWIS' STATUS: Pro Bowl running back Jamal Lewis remains under indictment for federal drug conspiracy charges in Atlanta, and no trial date has been set.

When asked if Lewis' legal situation will affect the Ravens' outlook at running back in the draft, Newsome noted the presence of Musa Smith and Chester Taylor as an indicator that Baltimore isn't in the market for a running back.

"To be able to come away with Musa in the third round, he was one of our top 20 players last year," Newsome said. "Having him here for a year and seeing the toughness that he possessed by his play on special teams, we feel very good with Musa and Chester's ability."

Taylor gained 276 yards and scored two touchdowns last season. Smith rushed for 31 yards and two touchdowns last season.

"If we had Musa and Chester the year that Jamal went down (season-ending knee injury, 2001), the year that we were trying to repeat as champions, we probably would have if we had the caliber of talent that those two guys have," Newsome said.

QB SEARCH: With Kyle Boller installed as their starter and Anthony Wright backing him up, the Ravens still need a third quarterback.

Ravens coach Brian Billick said he will have senior consultant Jim Fassel evaluate second-day quarterback prospects.

"Obviously, we are in the market for a third quarterback," Billick said. "I have Jim as a resource, and we will utilize it as much as possible."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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