How Baltimore Ravens playing Brandon Stephens at safety impacts Kyle Hamilton

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big surprises after the 2023 NFL Draft was how thin the Baltimore Ravens looked at cornerback. One big issue is that the team could not get enough draft capital to fill all of their holes, but they also passed on the position a few times during the draft.

They did sign Rock Ya-Sin, and they drafted Kyu Blu Kelly, but the big question that came out of those moves is what the team plans to do in the slot. Last season they had Kyle Hamilton hold down the slot, and they have not done much to change that.

How Baltimore Ravens playing Brandon Stephens at safety impacts Kyle Hamilton

The Baltimore Ravens traded Chuck Clark in a move that was supposed to flip Hamilton from the slot to the outside. However, John Harbaugh may have confirmed that Kyle Hamilton will be sticking in the slot when he noted that Brandon Stephens will be moving back to safety.

Last season the team was deeper at safety, so they asked Stephens to make the switch to cornerback. Now, this year, they lack safety depth, and if they are going to keep Hamilton in the slot, then they really need someone like Stephens in the mix.

When the Baltimore Ravens run two safety looks, you should expect to see Marcus Williams as the free safety and Kyle Hamilton in the box as the strong safety. However, when they go to nickel looks, you could get Brandon Stephens playing strong safety, and then Hamilton will go back into the slot like he did last season.

As Harbaugh noted, Stephens can play all five spots, so there will be times when the Ravens can line up Stephens in the box, and Hamilton in the slot, then they can rotate pre-snap to confuse quarterbacks.

Beyond that, when you look at the outside cornerbacks, they have Marlon Humphrey, then Kyu Blu Kelly, Jayln Armour-Davis, Trayvon Mullen, and Rock Ya-Sin are all options. These are not elite names, but they have plenty of options. Meanwhile, they are much thinner on the inside. Stephens would have been lost in the shuffle if he stayed on the outside.

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Beyond that, Hamilton would have been limited to one role, and his playmaking versatility can now be a highlight of his game in the slot. The move makes too much sense.