Baltimore Ravens: Tavon Young’s return could be huge for secondary
Tavon Young missed all of 2019 with a neck injury, but he seems to be all good to go for 2020. If he is 100%, his presence will be massive for this defense.
The Baltimore Ravens enter 2020 with the league’s best secondary. The unit features three Pro Bowlers from 2019 (Earl Thomas, Marlon Humphrey, and Marcus Peters) as well as the return of key players like Chuck Clark, Jimmy Smith, and Anthony Levine. Lost in all those big names is nickel cornerback Tavon Young, who missed the entirety of the 2019 season to injury.
It’s easy to forget about Tavon Young, who’s missed two full seasons in four years to injury. Young also missed the 2017 season after tearing his ACL. In his two healthy seasons (2016, 2018), however, he’s been a massive difference-maker for the Ravens defense.
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2016 saw Young, a rookie, become Baltimore’s top corner with the position marred with injuries. Young recorded 55 tackles, eight pass deflections, and two interceptions. Young garnered some serious hype entering 2017 before losing it to injury. After that, Young began to fade from fans’ memories…
2018 was a special year for Tavon Young, who was fully recovered from his knee injury. Young bounced back big time, recording 37 tackles and a single interception. Where Young shined was when the ball was in his hands. Young recovered three fumbles that year and returned two of them for touchdowns. It seemed like Young’s future was bright and that injuries were a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t true, as Young subsequently missed all of 2019. Now headed into 2020, there are serious question marks about Young’s reliability and health.
I’m here to tell you that if Tavon Young is 100% and ready to go, his impact on this secondary will be astronomical.
Young has shown off serious play-making ability and terrific coverage skills from inside the slot. While he’s likely the team’s fourth cornerback on the depth chart, the slot position is his to lose. Yes, Marlon Humphrey was terrific inside in 2019, but he’s much better suited to return outside and follow opposing team’s top receivers. Jimmy Smith may get some love to move inside, but Young should be a favorite if he’s healthy.
Tavon Young’s ability to mirror and match against opposing slot receivers while also having good speed and instincts makes him one of the league’s better nickel corners. With his ability to make plays as well, the upside is there for him to reassert himself as an elite nickel.
The jury is out on whether or not Tavon Young can be relied upon to remain healthy, but there’s no denying how talented he is. When he’s on the field the defense is simply better. Young’s return to this defense is getting severely overlooked, but he’ll remind everyone how good he is in 2020.