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Expect Lardarius Webb to only get better in 2012

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(Credits: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

As Lardarius Webb gets set to enter his fourth season in the NFL, there’s no reason why he can’t continue to grow and develop.

Webb, 26, has quickly put his name in the discussion of the league’s top cornerbacks. He’s also helped solidify the Ravens’ secondary.

Webb is becoming a big-time playmaker who can help the Ravens in a number of ways.

The Ravens are going to boast one of the league’s most formidable secondaries this year and for years to come. They’ve got a future Hall Of Famer in Ed Reed, plus players like Bernard Pollard, Cary Williams, Jimmy Smith, Danny Gorrer and Webb. That’s a good foundation.

While the clock is ticking on Reed’s career, it’s not farfetched to think he could still play another several years.

However, for those who might be expecting Webb to fill the shoes of Reed in some capacity when he eventually retires, that’s asking quite a lot. As I said, Reed is a Hall of Famer. There is no replacing him.

Webb, though, is going to be a major part of the defense for years to come. Many people tend to be mesmerized by statistics. For a player like Webb, the experts and analysts will always look at interceptions and passes broken up.

But the numbers rarely tell the story for cornerbacks. Webb is starting to become one of those corners team don’t want to throw at. If that trend continues, he won’t have the chance to put up gaudy numbers.

If Webb continues to make the strides this year the way he did last year, he’ll help the defense remain at an elite level. For young players like Webb, it’s about getting better and not regressing. He’s done that in each of his first three seasons in the league.

As a result of Webb’s steady play and upside, the Ravens rewarded him this offseason with a five-year, $50 million contract extension with more than $20 million guaranteed.