Every week we will spotlight one Baltimore Ravens player, in particular, to keep a keen eye out for. To kick off the season, we look at DeShon Elliott.
Entering the 2020 season the Baltimore Ravens secondary looked untouchable and was far and away the best in the league. This backfield was returning three Pro Bowlers, including safety Earl Thomas. In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Thomas is no longer with the team due to disciplinary reasons. This leaves a massive hole in the back end of the defense, but the Ravens seem to have a lot of trust placed in third-year man DeShon Elliott to step up.
Elliott, who has missed all but six games in his career since coming into the NFL in 2018, has become one of the most important players for the Baltimore Ravens to start off 2020. Elliott’s play will dictate how opposing offenses want to attack this still loaded secondary. If Elliott shows any forms of weakness early on, teams will single him out and pick on him.
Thankfully for him, he’s playing next to two All-Pro cornerbacks in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Elliott also has a partner in crime in the form of Chuck Clark, who has become one of the bigger voices of the defense. Clark will be able to direct Elliott where he needs to be and set him up for success.
The bottom line here is that DeShon Elliott is certainly a raw player, so easing him into his profoundly important role is key. Unfortunately, that can’t and won’t be the case thanks to no preseason and now going up against a talented offense in the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have three Pro Bowl pass catchers in the forms of wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and tight end Austin Hooper. These three are terrific receivers in their own right and there’s going to be some scenarios where Elliott has to match up against one of them from time to time. Will he be up for the task?
It’s hard to definitively say that DeShon Elliott is not ready for this responsibility, just like it is to say he’s going to pass with flying colors. If it weren’t for the guys around him being so good I’d be much more worried. However, he’s playing next to two of the game’s best cornerbacks, two more studs behind them, and a team captain across from him. Elliott may be the weakest link by default, but that is a blessing in disguise. Teams will take him for granted as an easy target and it could be a fatal mistake to do so.
You truly couldn’t have asked for a more perfect game for DeShon Elliott to be thrown in to. He’ll be tasked with some incredibly talented opponents, but Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is turnover prone. If there’s one thing that sticks out with Elliott’s game, it’s that he’s a ball magnet. Look for Elliott to make some plays on the ball throughout the game.
No one is expecting DeShon Elliott to seamlessly replace Earl Thomas with such little time to do so. There are going to be some major growing pains for a player who’s missed the majority of his career due to injuries. But the stars have aligned for Elliott to debut in a big way, and we can’t wait to see how he performs.