Stuck behind the likes of Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Tavon Young, and Jimmy Smith on the depth chart, Averett is a talented player who could even push for a starting job on other teams.
And that’s exactly how the Ravens feel about him.
Per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, the Ravens believe that they have a “starting-caliber” cornerback in Averett. High praise for a player with just seven career starts under his belt.
The Ravens are evidently very high on Anthony Averett.
A fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Averett has played sparingly in his three years in the NFL, but seen an uptick in playing time with each subsequent season.
As a rookie, Averett played just seven percent of defensive snaps and was more frequently seen as a regular on special teams. His role increased slightly in 2019 as he was on the field for 22 percent of defensive snaps.
That included his first three career starts, although his performance was subpar at best. While Averett didn’t play enough snaps to qualify, his 44.6 Pro Football Focus grade would have ranked among the worst in the NFL.
It was in 2020, however, that Averett finally emerged as a somewhat regular contributor on defense.
Filling in for multiple injuries, Averett started four games and played a career-high 33 percent of defensive snaps. It would have been more too had a shoulder injury not sidelined him for six weeks of the season.
Averett rewarded the Ravens for their patience by playing some of the best football of his career. The former Alabama star finished with a PFF grade of 64.5 that ranked 50th among all NFL cornerbacks.
Of course, Averett still finds himself buried on the depth chart going into the 2021 season. But the Ravens genuinely believe they have five starting-caliber cornerbacks in Humphrey, Peters, Young, Smith, and Averett.
Most teams could only dream of having a player like Averett as even their fourth-best cornerback. With the Ravens, you could easily argue that he’s the fifth-best player at his position.
With Averett entering a contract year, it’s far from a guarantee that the cap-strapped Ravens are able to bring him back next offseason.
Not only do they have bigger priorities (Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Bradley Bozeman, etc.), but Averett could look to cash in and compete for a starting job elsewhere provided he plays well in 2021.
But for now, Anthony Averett is a part of the deepest cornerback room in football. And the Ravens couldn’t be happier about that.