New Ravens cornerback Nate Wiggins: ‘I’m about to make everybody pay who looked over me’

OWINGS MILLS —Ravens first-round selection Nate Wiggins, a cornerback from Clemson, doesn’t lack confidence. Neither does his new defensive coordinator, Zachary Orr. Both spoke with conviction Friday at Wiggins’ introductory news conference, a day after the Ravens chose him with the 30th pick in the first round of the NFL draft.

Wiggins, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, was among a number of gifted defensive players who had to wait their turn as 23 offensive players were taken among the 32 picks, including six quarterbacks. The 6-foot-1, 173-pound defensive back made a point with his words.

“I’m about to make everybody pay who looked over me,” Wiggins said, “They’re going to see what they passed up. … I’m happy to be here. I’m a passionate player. I love the game of football. I feel like this program, this organization, is about passion and winning. That’s all I care about.”

Orr was pleased to have another potential playmaker after the Ravens demonstrated their commitment to a talented and hard-hitting defense leading up the draft.

One of the biggest offseason moves was reaching a four-year, $98 million deal with defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who had a breakout season with 13 1/2 sacks and was named an All-Pro. The Ravens have two other Pro Bowl players in the middle of the field — inside linebacker Roquan Smith and safety Kyle Hamilton.

They re-signed linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Malik Harrison, defensive lineman Brent Urban, cornerback Arthur Maulet, and safety Ar’Darius Washington, and added a pair of free agents — inside linebacker and special teams ace Chris Board and cornerback Ka’Dar Hollman.

Then, general manager Eric DeCosta selected possibly the best cornerbacks in the 2024 draft. Orr was delighted.

“I think it’s coming along well,” Orr said on Friday. “We just added what we think is one of the top defensive players in the draft. Obviously, we signed ‘Beeks’ back early in the offseason and had some other signings as well. [Wiggins] is going to be a great addition to our talented secondary and he’s going to make us better.”


The Ravens are optimistic that outside linebacker Odafe Oweh can make an impact, and that third-year David Ojabo is ready to bounce back from two injury-plagued seasons and become an effective pass rusher. Several young linebackers –Trenton Simpson, Tavius Robinson, and Malik Hamm — have flashed potential and will get more opportunities next season.

It was Simpson, a teammate of Wiggins at Clemson, who greeted him and his family when he got out of his shuttle on Friday. Diggs appeared eager to join his news teammates.

“[It’s] just my speed and my instincts and my physicality,” Wiggins said in a conference call with reporters after he was drafted. “Just being on that island … It’s man-to-man. I feel like I’m the best man-to-man corner. I’m the best corner in the draft, so yes. The tape speaks for itself.” 

At Clemson, Wiggins had 24 pass breakups, and three interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns in 34 games. Wiggins also had two forced fumbles, a sack, and a blocked field goal.

“We just think that he is a ridiculous athlete – very, very quick-footed, efficient. He’s fast. He’s tough. He’s competitive” DeCosta said on Thursday night. “In our division, we play a lot of really good receivers, and you have to get off the field on third downs. And, we were blessed last year to have a lot of depth in the secondary, and it really helped us quite a bit. And this is a guy that can come in here and play meaningful football right away for us. We’re excited about that.” 

Last season, the Ravens became the first team in league history to finish a season ranked No. 1 in each of the following categories: points allowed (16 1/2 points per game), sacks (60), and takeaways (31, tied with the New York Giants).

Orr was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator to replace Mike Macdonald, who was hired as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

“We definitely want to build on that,” Orr said about last season’s performance. “That’s a scheme that we helped build here for years. We’re always looking to get better. I think that’s why you’ve seen great defenses here in the past. That’s what we’ve got to continue.”

Both are confident Wiggins will help the Ravens do that.


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