4 players who must step up for the Ravens to make the playoffs

Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Ravens, Anthony Averett Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Anthony Averett, CB, Ravens

Anthony Averett has been thrust into the spotlight more than anyone could have expected coming into the season. The former fourth-round pick has started all 12 games he’s played in 2021 after starting just seven games in his entire career before this year.

First, it was Marcus Peters who went down to a torn ACL in the summer forcing Averett into the starting lineup. Now, with Marlon Humphrey out for the season, the Ravens’ secondary is in rough shape.

All of a sudden, a player who most expected to serve as the Ravens’ fourth cornerback this summer finds himself as their No. 1 option. It’s an unenviable position to put him in, but it is reality.

And with Averett set to be a free agent at the end of the year, now is the time for the former Alabama standout to earn his new contract, whether from the Ravens or another team.

Averett has had his struggles this season. His 54.7 Pro Football Focus coverage grade ranks 98th out of 120 cornerbacks and he’s allowing over 60 yards per game.

The Ravens need a better performance from him over the final month of the season if they’re going to survive the injuries in their secondary.

This entry could also be dedicated to players like Chris Westry and Brandon Stephens who also find themselves in unexpected starting roles due to injuries.

But no defensive player on the roster faces more pressure to succeed than Averett.