Ravens: 3 players who must step up following the Marcus Peters injury

Ravens, Marcus Peters (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens, Marcus Peters (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Ravens, Anthony Averett
Ravens, Anthony Averett Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Anthony Averett, CB, Ravens

The Ravens have privately and publically stated for a while now that they believe Anthony Averett is a starting-caliber cornerback. But he’s never really gotten the opportunity to prove that over an extended period.

That will most certainly change now with Marcus Peters sidelined for the season.

A fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Averett played sparingly as a rookie before seeing his playing time increase in each of the next two seasons.

He’s started seven games over the last two years and played a career-high 33 percent of defensive snaps in 2020. Averett has been buried on the depth chart to this point, but that won’t be the case this season.

The former Alabama standout is the most likely candidate to step into a starting role while Peters is out. That’s especially true with Jimmy Smith expected to be sidelined for Week 1.

Averett will be given the opportunity to prove the Ravens right and show that he is a starting-caliber NFL cornerback. And it’s all going to happen in a contract year too.

Averett will be a free agent at the end of the year making the next four or so months an audition for the other 31 NFL teams as much as it is for the Ravens’ front office and coaching staff.

Next. Ravens: 3 players to extend after the Mark Andrews extension. dark

If Averett can prove that he’s fit to be an NFL starter, he should cash in big time this offseason. Either way, the Ravens will be counting on him more than ever in 2021.