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, Brandon Stephens
Ravens, Brandon Stephens Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Brandon Stephens, S, Ravens

Brandon Stephens is the de facto next-man-up following DeShon Elliott’s injury. We’ve already seen that twice this season when Stephens stepped into a starting role in Weeks 4 and 5 while Elliott was temporarily sidelined.

Now, that role will become permanent.

A third-round pick in this year’s draft, Stephens was playing running back just a few years ago before making the switch to defense. However, that switch didn’t involve him playing safety.

Instead, Stephens started at cornerback at SMU and was drafted as somewhat of a cornerback/safety hybrid. He’s played almost exclusively safety in Baltimore and that will certainly continue with Elliott injured.

Stephens has been hit-or-miss as a rookie this season. Which, given his lack of experience at the position, should have been expected.

The 23-year-old had played a whopping 48 percent of defensive snaps going into Sunday’s game which is likely a higher percentage than the Ravens expected when they drafted him this year.

Stephens was supposed to be somewhat of a project. A player the Ravens could stash and develop in their deep secondary while he continued to learn his new position.

But neither player nor team will be afforded that opportunity now.

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It’s Brandon Stephens’ time to shine. No player will be counted on more with DeShon Elliott out than the third-round rookie himself.