Baltimore Ravens: Is Anthony Averett ready for the limelight?
A once deep cornerback group for the Baltimore Ravens is starting to get thinner after key injuries, but can Anthony Averett step up with the pressure on?
Going into the 2019 season, the Baltimore Ravens appeared to have the best secondary the league had. The cornerback depth was particularly intriguing, seeings how guys like Brandon Carr and Anthony Averett would see inconsistent time despite being capable starters for other teams. This is more so true for Carr, but Averett has always been an interesting prospect.
Unfortunately, Averett now faces a sink-or-swim situation following an untimely injury to starting cornerback Jimmy Smith. Smith, the undisputed no.2 corner on the team, was clipped in his right knee by his own teammate and now has an MCL sprain. His timetable for return has yet to be determined. The secondary will face a big test while Jimmy Smith is out.
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This wouldn’t be so bad if slot-corner Tavon Young wasn’t also lost for the season earlier this summer. Now, Baltimore will roll out Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr on the outsides, while Anthony Averett takes the slot duties. Is he ready for this much responsibility, however?
The simple answer is we aren’t sure. What we do know is that this secondary is talented enough to mask him if he proves to be a weak-link.
With future Hall of Fame safety Earl Thomas playing center fielder for the Ravens, Averett now has the best safety blanket in the league. Upfront, he has help from a solid front-seven and another talented safety in Tony Jefferson. Life is about as easy as it’ll get for Anthony Averett in a time of need.
What Baltimore needs from him is the bare minimum. So long as the rest of the secondary does it’s part, and there’s little reason to believe they can’t do that, then Averett only needs to play OK. No one should be asking a second-year depth player to immediately be a star. In fact, we should realize that Averett is likely to struggle at first. Thankfully, he should be able to adjust and realize that he’ll be tested repeatedly. Still, I have faith that he will step up to the occasion.
The life of Anthony Averett has just become a lot tougher, but he’ll have enough help getting starting reps, or at least more than he’s used to, to be successful. Averett doesn’t need to be a Pro Bowler from day one to replace Jimmy Smith, but I believe that he can ease the suffering without Smith and prove his worth in a talented secondary.