CORNER BACKS: Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, the Ravens’ cornerback group is really, REALLY good. In the first installment of the wish list we had Anthony Averett sliding over to play safety in his contract year, simply due to the depth the Ravens have at this position. However, the team re-signing Anthony Levine a few weeks ago changes that decision, which is probably for the best given what we’re about to address.
Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are the best cornerback duo in all of football, but the ultimate success of this unit could hinge on the long-term health of Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young. The injury history of both players is well documented, and seemingly inevitable in at least a minor way, but having them both on the field for the majority of the season would all but ensure the Ravens will be among the top five at the position.
Should the Ravens be unable to bring in any of the top available pass rushers left on the market (or spend any high draft capital at the position), this unit will be relied upon even heavier in the 2021 season. Regardless of the talent around them, they should be more than up to the task.
SAFETIES: Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott, Anthony Levine, Caden Sterns
The top of the depth chart, as with cornerback, is locked in heading into 2021 for the Ravens. Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott have all the makings of players who could be wearing purple and black for years to come, and after both took firm steps forward in 2020, the Ravens would likely be happy to have them.
As we just mentioned, the Ravens re-signing Anthony Levine keeps not only a secure piece of rotational depth behind those two, but also one of the most integral figures of the Ravens locker room right where he belongs. Alongside Co-Cap in that role, the Ravens should look to integrate a new young talent. Enter, Caden Sterns.
Caden Sterns out of Texas is a bit of a dice roll, but one that could pay off handsomely for a team so adept at developing defensive stars. Sterns has everything the Ravens covet in their safeties, he’s aggressive and has no problem sticking his face into things at the line of scrimmage to make a play in the run game. He makes life tough for opposing pass-catchers in a similar fashion, however, his penchant for big hits can cause him to over-pursue from time to time.
After a stellar freshman season for the Longhorns, Sterns was a bit hampered by injuries during his final two years before opting out prior to the end of this past season. However, with so many players making a similar decision at different points in time during 2020, it’s tough to blame Sterns for playing it safe in that regard. He’s a raw talent as it stands today, but one with the explosive game film and athletic potential to be the next guy the Ravens turn into a stellar pro.