The first-year defensive back could carve out a niche for himself in Baltimore’s secondary.
Since the Baltimore Ravens are deep on both sides of the ball, they don’t necessarily need many of their rookies to become starters in 2021. Still, they are expecting most of them to contribute regularly, at least in rotational roles at their respective positions.
Here is the fourth piece in a seven-part series breaking down bold predictions for each member of the Ravens’ 2021 rookie class.
DB Brandon Stephens
Bold prediction: Integral piece in dime and other sub packages as a matchup chess piece
The Ravens drafted the former SMU Mustang with the second of their two third-round picks in this year’s draft. Selected at No. 104 overall, the converted running back turned defensive back is expected to see the field early and often in Year 1.
With three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters out for the year with a torn ACL, it’s up to the collective Ravens’ secondary to make up for his loss in the ball-hawking category. Stephens was already slated to be part of the equation before Peters’ injury. Now, he could be more involved even more than originally planned given all he can do in the backend.
The Ravens said that they envisioned the rookie as a free safety at the next level. Although he is listed as the primary backup to DeShon Elliott on the depth chart, his role will be multifaceted. He won’t be confined to just roaming the deep middle or boundaries.
Since he can line up at both corner and safety, expect to see Stephens lined up all over and being sent to apply pressure in blitzes. He also saw a lot of playing time in the slot during the preseason. Stephens broke up 22 passes in his two years playing defensive back in college, splitting time between the positions. He even came down with an acrobatic interception.
The play everyone loves to talk about for Brandon Stephens. SMU had him with a good bit of boundary reads like this. Keeps vision on the QB and maintains himself inside to go be an outstanding athlete.
Such a natural, smooth mover. If you can backpedal, you can get paid. pic.twitter.com/ryAMwyFsOb
— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) May 10, 2021
Final stat prediction: 35 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 10 pass deflections, three interceptions, 2 sacks and 3 quarterback hits.