Ravens: The return of Tavon Young is huge for Baltimore’s defense

Ravens, Tavon Young (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens, Tavon Young (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens are looking forward to the return of Tavon Young in 2021 almost as much as he is.

Few players have been the victim of more unfortunate injury luck than Young has throughout his career. But now healthy once again, Young is looking to pick up right where he left off three years ago.

That was before injuries began to define his NFL career. Before multiple devastating injuries wiped out essentially two full seasons of his career.

For the sake of the Ravens defense, they’re hoping to see a healthy and effective Tavon Young in 2021.

The Ravens defense needs a healthy Tavon Young.

A fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Young put together a productive rookie season before an ACL injury forced him to miss the entire 2017 season.

He returned in 2018 and played the best football of his career. The Ravens were so pleased with his play that they handed him a hefty three-year, $25.8 million contract in the 2019 offseason that made him the highest-paid nickel cornerback in the NFL.

Unfortunately, since signing that contract, Young has played just two regular-season games.

An August neck injury kept him sidelined for the 2019 season and another torn ACL suffered in Week 2 of the 2020 season forced him out of action again.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a healthy Tavon Young on the field. But the Ravens defense is certainly looking forward to his return.

With Young sidelined last year, star cornerback Marlon Humphrey was forced to play a large portion of his snaps from the slot. Humphrey spent over 40 percent of the time in the slot and, while he was very effective, it wasn’t the best use of his skill set.

Baltimore would much rather have Humphrey matching up against opposing top receivers on the outside while Young could handle slot duties.

Young is at his best when covering opposing slot receivers and tight ends while doubling as an effective nickel blitzer.

His return not only provides further depth to an already stacked cornerback room, but it allows the Ravens’ best defensive player to play his natural position.

It’s a domino effect — one that should have defensive coordinator Wink Martindale excited for the upcoming season.

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Tavon Young is an important part of the Ravens’ defense in more than one way. His return is one of the more underrated storylines of the summer.