OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens landed the reinforcement for the secondary that they’ve been coveting, trading a conditional fifth-round draft pick Tuesday night to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for cornerback Josh Wilson.
The Ravens have been searching for help at cornerback ever since starter Domonique Foxworth was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament one day before the start of training camp.
A former University of Maryland standout, Wilson has intercepted six passes in 24 starts since being drafted in the second round by Seattle three years ago.
“Oh man, I’m excited, I’m ready to go,” Wilson told the 24×7 in a telephone interview. “I get to go back, right down the street. It’s a comfort zone. I couldn’t be happier.
“It’s a great situation: great team, great defense, great opportunity. As a player, you couldn’t write your own story any better. With the Ravens, you can compete for a championship.”
Wilson is expected to assume nickel back duties immediately and could eventually compete for a starting job. If he plays a lot, then the Seahawks will obtain the Ravens’ 2011 fourth-round draft pick.
Wilson, 25, is known for his speed and kick return skills. He returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns last season and has returned three for scores for his career.
“Josh is someone who has started a lot of games for a young player, plus he has been a good special teams player both as a kick returner and in coverages,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “He adds depth to our secondary and will help us. Pending his physical, we expect Josh to be taking snaps against the Jets on opening night.”
Heading into the first game against the New York Jets, the Ravens have been planning to start Fabian Washington and Chris Carr.
Cary Williams is suspended for the first two games for violating the NFL personal conduct policy.
And veteran Travis Fisher hasn’t had a steady preseason.
Wilson is undersized at 5-foot-9, 192 pounds, but has a reputation for speed.
The Upper Marlboro native ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at the 2007 NFL scouting combine.
“I’m going to bring whatever they need me to bring and do it full speed and the way they want me to do it,” Wilson said. “I’m going to bring my aggressiveness, playmaking ability and love for the game. They hope to get me in there and learn the system as quick as I can. I don’t have much time. I need to do it in record fashion.”
Wilson is expected to arrive in Baltimore today. He’s not expected to play in the Ravens’ preseason finale Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams.
“He’s an extremely fiery and aggressive player, and I think he’s very talented,” said Foxworth, who played with Wilson for the Terrapins. “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.”
Wilson has recorded 124 career tackles, 24 pass deflections, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He started 12 games last season and registered 44 tackles and 14 pass deflections.
He has averaged 25 yards per kickoff, running one back 89 yards for a touchdown as a rookie.
He’ll need to learn the Ravens’ playbook in rapid fashion.
“They hope me to get in there and learn the system as quick as I can,” Wilson said. “I’m all about getting going. I don’t have much time I need to do it in record fashion. As soon as I get there, Domonique is going to talk me through everything.
“When I was a young guy at Maryland, he led me the right way and gave me the assistance I needed. Hopefully, I can lean on him again and he already said he would help me out. This gives me enough time to know what I need to know to perform at a high level.”
Wilson’s late father, Tim Wilson, played fullback for the Houston Oilers as Earl Campbell’s blocking back.
“Off the field, he is a high-integrity guy,” Foxworth said. “He’s a family man, who is very smart and community-minded.”
Although Wilson was a bit surprised to be informed during practice that he had been traded, returning to his home state and playing for a contender has him excited.