Josh Wilson is coming back to Maryland… Baltimore, specifically. The former college shut-down corner and second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks has been traded to the Ravens for a conditional pick. The move bolsters a shaky Ravens cornerback unit that was relying only on high hopes for Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, and a host of also-ran cornerbacks hardly worth counting on for a Super Bowl caliber team. At worst this team has answered a glaring hole with a stable placeholder- at best this team has found another turnaround story a-la Fabian Washington. Either way, it is hard to argue that a move like this wasn’t sorely needed and answered well.
The 2007 draft choice, Wilson, has just six interceptions in three seasons, but three of these were returned for touchdowns. At Maryland Wilson was known as a shut down cornerback and explosive return man, though he struggled at times covering tall receivers down the field given his 5’9” frame. However, the former starter gives the Ravens a huge upgrade at nickelback, where Chris Carr simply was not going to do the job.
Wilson is not expected to play in the final Ravens preseason game against St. Louis, but I would be very surprised not to see him on Opening Day. Baltimore needs a cornerback right now, and as a former starter Wilson should should be able to catch on well enough to run the basic defense by then. Not that the Ravens had many other options. Even with just a couple weeks of practice under his belt, Wilson is almost certainly better option than any rookie free agent or aging veteran they could have dug up in training camp.
I love this move for the Ravens, depending of course on how generous the conditional pick was. Wilson is still young at 25 years old and retains the blazing speed that put him on the All-Al Davis team with his blazing 4.39 40-yard dash at the 2007 combine. With the Ravens, Wilson should be able to develop into a solid nickelback without the pressure to take on the best receivers (or tallest receivers) on the opposition. And let’s be honest, it is always good to see a former Terp and Maryland native back playing for the hometown Ravens.