One month after losing a University of Maryland cornerback, the Ravens helped replace him by acquiring another one.
The Ravens traded a conditional fifth-round draft pick in 2011 to the Seattle Seahawks for speedy cornerback Josh Wilson on Tuesday. This anticipated trade for a cornerback upgrades the Ravens' defensive backfield, which lost its top cornerback, Domonique Foxworth, to a season-ending knee injury at the end of July.
Wilson, 25, is considered a significant upgrade at nickel back for the Ravens. There's a chance he might start opposite Fabian Washington early this season if Lardarius Webb (who is coming off season-ending knee surgery) isn't ready to handle a full workload.
The move came as a surprise to Wilson, who was informed of the trade after being pulled from the end-of-practice huddle.
"I couldn't be happier," Wilson told The Baltimore Sun in a phone interview Tuesday night. "You never expect it, but you know it always can happen. But if it had to happen, you're going to a Super Bowl contender and play on a defense like this. If it has to happen, I don't think I can get a better situation."
A starter in 12 games for the Seahawks last season, Wilson has playmaking ability, returning two interceptions for touchdowns (a 61- and a 65-yarder).
"He's an extremely fiery and aggressive player, and I think he's very talented," said Foxworth, who played with Wilson for three years at Maryland.
"I know his personality fits into what we're building here. Josh is a no-nonsense type of guy that fits in with this defense and what it means to be a Raven. Off the field, he is a high-integrity guy. He's a family man, who is very smart and community-minded."
The Ravens gave up a conditional draft pick -- likely a middle-round one -- for Wilson. That means the more Wilson plays, the higher the pick becomes.
Seattle was willing to part with a cornerback because it has depth at the position and because two of its starter-quality corners (Wilson and Kelly Jennings) are entering the final year of their contracts.
Wilson is expected to arrive in Baltimore today, but he isn't expected to play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Rams in St. Louis.
The Upper Marlboro native understands he only has two weeks to learn the system before the Ravens open their season at the New York Jets.
"I'm going to do whatever I can do to fit in with them and try to make it better," Wilson said. "They hope to get me in there and learn the system as quickly as I can. I need to do it in record time."
In addition to his play on defense, Wilson can make an impact on special teams. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown as a rookie and averaged 25.4 yards on kickoffs in 2008.
Although he is not very big (5 feet 9, 192pounds), Wilson is known as a speed corner. At the 2007 NFL combine, he had the fourth fastest time of all defensive backs (4.39).
"He adds depth to our secondary and will help us," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Pending his physical, we expect Josh to be taking snaps against the Jets on opening night."
Wilson acknowledged "it's bittersweet" in some ways to part with the Seahawks.
"You think about what more could you have done for Seattle," he said. "Maybe it's my time to move onto bigger and better. And I feel like I am moving on to something bigger and better."
The Ravens were expected to make a move for a cornerback.
Their fourth cornerback, Cary Williams, has been suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the season, and their fifth corner, Travis Fisher, has been inconsistent this preseason.
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