Nate Wiggins is the newest Baltimore Raven. 

Last night, the Clemson cornerback was selected by Eric DeCosta with the Ravens’ 1st round pick in the 2024 draft. That selection was perhaps due in part to the urging of Wiggins’ college coach, Dabo Swinney. 

According to Jamison Hensley, Swinney was texting DeCosta last night pleading with Baltimore to take Wiggins. Swinney mentioned that “Nate is as talented as we’ve ever had come through here at his position from a skill set standpoint.”  

Swinney has been the head coach of the Clemson Tigers since 2008; coincidentally when John Harbaugh assumed the same position with the Ravens. In that time, the Tigers have had five cornerbacks drafted to the NFL—all within the Top 100 picks: 

  • Andrew Booth, 42nd overall (2022) 
  • AJ Terrell, 16th overall (2020) 
  • Trayvon Mullen*, 40th overall (2019) 
  • Cordrea Tankersley, 97th overall (2017) 
  • Mackenzie Alexander, 54th overall (2016) 

(*Mullen is a current Raven, and also cousins with Lamar Jackson ) 

Who are the Ravens getting in Wiggins? A blazing fast, ultra-competitive cover corner that’s expected to start by the time Week 1 kicks off. He ran the 2nd-fastest 40-yard dash at this year’s combine (4.28 seconds), behind Xavier Worthy’s 4.21 40-yard dash (Worth was drafted by the Chiefs). Perhaps that’s an additional reason the Ravens drafted Wiggins—to keep pace with Kansas City. 

Long story short: Wiggins plays like a Raven. Speed is only useful if a player doesn’t give up on the play, and so many of the plays he made in college were effort plays. He will get beat, but he has exceptional ability to makeup ground and contest the catch point. 

Watching his attitude and play style, I’m reminded of Marcus Peters. Where Marlon Humphrey will usually align at the line of scrimmage, Peters usually played 5-6 yards off the line. Despite getting beat at times, Peters would make numerous interceptions and pass breakups using his instinct and effort. I see Wiggins as a similar (but much faster) player. 

When he pressed receivers in college, he would grant them access into their routes. However, when he played off a bit, he seemed much more “in phase” and comfortable to either drive on the ball or turn and run downfield. 

Statistically speaking, Wiggins was elite at Clemson. In three seasons, he allowed an average opposing quarterback rating of 56.5. He allowed 50 receptions in 109 targets (45.9  percent completion). On the whole, it was a solid move by Baltimore. Coupling Wiggins’ rare athleticism and mental toughness with the Ravens’ league-leading pass rush (60 sacks in 2023) was a combination too tempting to pass up. 

As for who’s next, the Ravens hold picks 62 (2nd round) and 93 (3rd round) tonight. There are so many good players left. Let’s take a look at who could join Wiggins in purple and black. 

Cooper Beebe (Kansas State) and Christian Mahogany (Boston College) are both interior offensive line prospects I like a lot. Either of them could be the choice at No. 62 and slot in at right guard. Wide receiver is still a need as well. Malachi Corley would be a perfect fit in this offense if he remains available until the end of the 2nd round. He reminds me of Michael Crabtree, Deebo Samuel, and Steve Smith, Sr. Corley’s physicality, leg churn through contact, and sideline balance are all valuable traits to have (especially in the AFC North). 

I’d like to think that in no particular order, the Ravens will come away from tonight with a new offensive lineman and a new wide receiver. Then, on Day 3, they can fortify their depth and perhaps acquire an additional starter. I’ve often said that the first three picks of any draft will tell the tale. So far, the Ravens are in good shape. They seem to have gotten a very good player that they rated much higher than where they got him without having to trade up. From their standpoint, last night was a big win. 

Today is a new day. If they stay the course, the Ravens will head into the weekend in great shape. Who knows? Maybe they’ll take Cooper DeJean in Round 2 to go along with Kyle Hamilton, Marcus Williams, Marlon Humphrey, Arthur Maulet, Brandon Stephens, and Nate Wiggins. 

I don’t think that’ll happen, but if it does, would there be a better secondary in football? Probably not. 

Michael Fast
Michael Fast

Born in Baltimore, Mike had long been drawn to sports of all kinds. Growing up watching Cal Ripken play ever day gave him a great example for which to attack every endeavor he undertakes.

When the Ravens came to town, though, that’s when Mike found his passion. Since that time, he’s tried to gain every bit of knowledge he could. Now as a high school coach, Mike is able to take his film study and appreciation of the game to a new level.

To engage with Mike on social media, follow him on Twitter @MikeFastNFL.

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