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Is Eric Weddle’s replacement already on the roster?

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After spending his entire rookie season on IR, safety DeShon Elliot could step into a large role in 2019.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Given the pending free agency of several starters and key role players on defense, such as C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith, and Terrell Suggs, among others, the NFL’s #1 ranked defensive unit could be in for an overhaul this offseason.

Ideally, Eric DeCosta will find a way to utilize available cap space to retain these players, along with Michael Pierce and Patrick Onwuasor. There’s also two potential cap causalities in the form of Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith.

However, it’s almost a given that several of these players will not be back. Baltimore will reload in the draft and free agency, but young players already on the roster need to compensate for the loss of production the Ravens figure to endure.

One of these young players is DeShon Elliott, whom Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens selected in the sixth-round of last years’ NFL draft. Elliott, a safety out of Texas, suffered a broken forearm in the preseason and missed the entire 2018-19 season.

Therefore, many people forgot that Elliott was billed a draft steal when the Ravens selected him, and for good reason. As we saw in the preseason prior to his unfortunate injury, Elliott possesses serious talent and athleticism.

In four games, he recorded seven combined tackles, six of which were solo tackles, and a forced fumble. These stats don’t jump off the page, but Elliott routinely jumped off the screen by showcasing end-to-end speed.

Elliott’s twitter feed suggests he has high expectations for this upcoming season, as well. When Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice proclaimed he would win comeback player of the year, Elliott chimed in.

Elliot is probably more of a natural strong safety as opposed to a free safety, which is where Tony Jefferson slots on the defense. Barring any unforeseen changes, Jefferson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but Elliot has the talent and skills to mold into a free safety and play well there.

Weddle’s future in Baltimore is clearly up in the air. If he’s not released this offseason, he figures to play out the remaining season on his contract before retiring. Nevertheless, there will be a hole at the free safety position this upcoming season or the next.

It’s possible that the Ravens could look to draft a safety this year, but given they’ve selected Chuck Clark and Elliot in back-to-back drafts, they will likely look to give either one of them a shot at a starting role this year, should Weddle and Baltimore part ways.

Should he enter OTA’s and training camp fully recovered from his forearm injury, Elliot has a good shot to solidify himself as an impact player on the defense. With athleticism, range, and ball skills, Elliot could be in store for a breakout sophomore campaign.