Ravens sign Brandon Stephens, all 8 draft picks now under contract

Ravens, Brandon Stephens Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Brandon Stephens Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens have officially signed the final member of their 2021 NFL Draft class, that player being third-round pick Brandon Stephens.

The Ravens announced on Wednesday that they had signed Stephens to a standard four-year rookie contract one day after signing their other third-round pick, Ben Cleveland, to his deal.

And with that, all eight members of the Ravens 2021 NFL Draft class are under contract before training camp officially begins next Tuesday.

Rookies reported to camp on Tuesday which is likely why the final two contracts were signed so quickly. It’s much easier to negotiate deals when players are in the building.

The Ravens are high on Brandon Stephens as a long-term building block.

Stephens, the 104th overall pick in this year’s draft, will be expected to play a depth role early in his career. But long-term, the Ravens do see him as someone who could develop into a future starter.

It’s just going to take some time. That, of course, should be expected for a player who’s only been playing on the defensive side of the ball for a couple of years.

Stephens was a standout running back in high school and even played the position at UCLA. He transferred to SMU after three uneventful years on the West Coast and made the switch to cornerback at the behest of his new coaching staff.

The switch proved to be the right decision as Stephens went on to become one of the best cornerbacks in his conference despite his inexperience.

Now, in the NFL, the Ravens will once again be asking him to switch positions. Although the change won’t be nearly as drastic this time around.

Stephens is being asked to switch from cornerback to safety where he will compete for playing time as a reserve behind starters Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott.

His most impactful contribution, however, will likely come on special teams. Stephens played quite a bit on special teams in college and could carve out a role in Baltimore early on as a result.

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Long-term, the Ravens would love to see Stephens develop into a starting-caliber safety. But for now, he’ll have to settle for a backup role as he continues to learn the position.