Ravens host blue-chip cornerback prospect

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' due diligence in evaluating cornerback prospects continues.

The Ravens recently had University of Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason in for a visit to their training complex, according to his agent.

A consensus All-American selection, Cason won the Jim Thorpe award last year as the nation's top defensive back. Cason visited the New England Patriots on Monday and has several other upcoming visits.

"Antoine is going to do better in this draft than the so-called experts are predicting," said Ron Slavin, Cason's agent. "I think he goes as high as the 11th pick and as low as 30th."

At 6-foot, 191 pounds, Cason is regarded as an ideal Cover 2 cornerback. The Ravens emphasize man-to-man coverage as a rule, but Cason is considered versatile enough to play in most schemes.

If he's still around, Cason could represent a solid fallback option for the Ravens in the second round provided they don't draft a cornerback with their eighth overall pick.

Starting every game since his freshman year, Cason intercepted 15 career passes with 253 tackles and 32 pass deflections. His father, Wendell Cason, played for the Atlanta Falcons and cousins Ken Yon-Rambo and Avieon Cason played in the NFL, too.

Although Cason isn't as fast as some other highly-regarded cornerbacks, including Leodis McKelvin (Troy) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Tennessee State), the Long Beach, Calif., native draws high marks for his productivity, size and toughness.

Cason's best times in the 40-yard dash are 4.45 and 4.42 seconds. He bench pressed 225 pounds for 20 repetitions and registered a 10-8 broad jump and a 36-inch vertical leap.

"I'm a competitor," Cason told reporters at the NFL scouting combine. "I'm ready to prove myself every time I step out on a national platform or just playing anything.

"I wanted to be the best cornerback in college football. I feel very confident in myself in making plays consistently for four years."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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