A closer look at the new Ravens

It’s been a busy week for Baltimore as both Fabian Washington and Matt Lawrence are now the newest members of the Ravens’ injured reserve list. As much as you want to talk defensive struggles, Washington’s absence will have a big impact on the defense.

It looks like Lardarius Webb will now step into his spot at corner, but CB Cary Williams has been signed to take Washington’s spot on the roster.

Williams, as talked about in one of Dan Kolko’s earlier posts, was drafted by Tennessee in the seventh-round of the 2008 Draft, and has played in five NFL games. He has been up and down between the Titans’ active roster and practice squad over the last two seasons.

William had an impressive college career playing for Division II, Washburn College. In two years there he started all 23 games, collecting 94 tackles, 11 interceptions, 12 passes deflected, and one fumble recovery. He also returned 27 kickoffs for 689 yards and two touchdowns. As a senior, Williams was sixth in Division II with seven interceptions returned for 164 yards and a touchdown. As a kick returner he was named All-MIAA with 487 yards and two touchdowns.

As a pro, Williams is viewed as a speedy, athletic cornerback with good size and instincts. He caught NFL scouts eyes’ at his pro-day workout, running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. Unfortunately, he hasn’t seen much game play since he got into the NFL in 2008. He has only participated in five games and has reported only 12 total tackles, with five coming from special teams.

The other addition to the Ravens is free agent FB Charles Ali. Ali spent this year with the New York Sentinels of the UFL after playing his first two pro seasons with the Browns.

In college, Ali studied criminal science at Arkansas-Pine Bluff and actually started his football career as a linebacker. He made the switch to fullback as a redshirt freshman and in 32 games he rushed 41 times for 158 yards and one touchdown and caught 12 passes for 71 yards.

As a pro he is known as a strong, pounding lead blocker who has soft hands out of the backfield. He joins the Ravens having played in 28 career games. With Cleveland in 2008, Ali saw action in 15 games, paving way for 1,605 rushing yards, including the 1,000 yard season of RB Jamal Lewis. His first NFL start was actually against Baltimore on November 2, 2008.

It’s not known at this time how Williams and Ali will fit in on this team, but my guess is mostly on special teams. Both players have some experience in that aspect of the game and the lower roster spot players usually get their playing time on kickoffs.