The slot cornerback role has been a revolving door in the Baltimore Ravens secondary since Corey Graham went back home to Buffalo. Over the last two season, the Ravens defense has tried many players in the slot - veterans Lardarius Webb and Kyle Arrington, true safeties Terrance Brooks, Matt Elam and Anthony Levine and journeymen Rahsaan Melvin and Asa Jackson - and none have proven capable at the position. Enter Tavon Young, a fourth round pick tailor made to cover the shifty, quick pass catchers who populate slot receiver depth charts across the NFL.
Hailing from Temple, Tavon Young is listed at 5'9", 183 pounds with sub 4.5 second speed and long arms for a man of his stature. The first line of nearly every scouting report reads that Young plays bigger and more physical than his measured size. Young's positive attributes include toughness, quick feet, above average agility and awareness.
At a minimum, his skill set should be a boon to the special teams coverage units. At best, he could provide long term stability to a position that is becoming very important in a league the utilizes three receiver sets on the majority of snaps.
What should make Ravens fans most enthused after an abnormally low interception totals in 2015 are Tavon's well developed ball skills. Over Young's final two collegiate season, he accumulated some impressive coverage statistics including four interceptions and sixteen passes defensed. He actually did not squeeze an interception during his senior season because the opposition rarely targeted his assignments, a trend he should certainly be able to rectify in the NFL. Many expect the Ravens interception totals to return closer to the norm in 2016 because of the inherent randomness in turnovers, Young could be the recipient of some lucky bounces going the Ravens way for a change.
Young has made a great first impression on head coach John Harbaugh. "Tavon has looked really good. He's been quick, he's played the ball really well. His speed has shown up - changing direction. He's had a good start and I'm really impressed by what we've seen so far," praised Harbaugh after the Ravens rookie minicamp last weekend.
Tavon Young is a polished product who is ready to compete immediately and well equipped to break the string of middle round corners who did not become key contributors for the Ravens. He has a reasonable chance to start for the team in the first game of his rookie season, a rare feat for a fourth round selection. Even if Kyle Arrington, Will Davis or a player yet to be added beat him out for the nickel role, Tavon Young will have an opportunity to make his mark sooner rather than later.