Ravens: 5 players who must step up following the DeShon Elliott injury

Ravens, DeShon Elliott Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, DeShon Elliott Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ravens, Jimmy Smith Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Jimmy Smith, CB, Ravens

Jimmy Smith might not be the most obvious choice to step into a prominent role with DeShon Elliott injured, but he’s not an option that should be overlooked either.

The Ravens have shifted Smith to more of a hybrid cornerback/safety role late in his career and that trend has continued this season.

Smith has played exactly one-third of his 108 defensive snaps at free safety, at least heading into Week 9. The only position he’s seen more time at is outside cornerback, per Pro Football Focus.

But even still, Smith has only played 13 fewer snaps at safety than he has cornerback. The Ravens clearly like Smith in that hybrid role where he can be used to cover opposing tight ends.

That role will only expand with Elliott out.

At 33-years-old, the days of Smith being a regular starter on defense are in the past. Especially when coupled with his injury issues, it’s clear that Smith’s best days are behind him.

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t still an important part of the Ravens’ secondary.

Smith’s versatility is crucial at a time like this when the Ravens need experienced bodies in the secondary. And with Chris Westry set to return in the near future, Smith will likely be needed a lot more at safety.

Westry can fill that big-bodied outside cornerback role that Smith does, allowing the veteran to spend more time in the defensive backfield.

Expect to see plenty of Jimmy Smith at safety going forward.