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Ravens 2021 Position Review: Cornerbacks

The position group was hit the second hardest by injuries but was consistently burned more by miscommunication.

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After a turbulent 2021 season that was ravaged and ultimately derailed by injuries, the Baltimore Ravens are fully focused on moving forward. Before we completely turn the page to the 2022 offseason, let’s look back at the overall performance of their cornerback position group from this last year. It was one of many that was decimated by injuries and the most glaring weakness on defense throughout the year without Marcus Peters in the fold.

Marlon Humphrey

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2021 stats: 12 starts, 12 starts, 58 total tackles, one quarterback hit, one forced fumble, one interception, and 13 pass deflections.

Even before he was lost for the remainder of the year in Week 13 with a torn pectoral muscle, the two-time Pro Bowler was having an uncharacteristically inconsistent and poor season. In just a dozen games, Humphrey was targeted 84 times and gave up career highs in receiving yards (665), yards per target (7.9), yards per completion (14.8), touchdowns (6), and an opposing passer rating of (98.6) on just 45 completions.

It wasn’t all bad for the former first-round pick in 2021, he made his fair share of plays in big games and clutch moments. The pressure that came with trying to fill the playmaking void left by Peters wasn’t adequately filled by Humphrey and Co. After leading the league in forced fumbles in 2020 thanks to his signature ‘Fruit Punch’-out, he only dislodged one ball for a turnover in 2021. The Ravens will need him to return to form and get back to being the defensive cornerstone that they’re paying him to be in 2022.

Anthony Averett

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2021 stats: 14 games, 14 starts, 54 total tackles, three interceptions and 11 pass deflections.

A chest and ribs injury caused him to miss the final two games of the season. Prior to that, the former fourth-round pick was taking full advantage of his first extensive opportunity as a full-time starter in the final year of his rookie deal. While he was relentlessly targeted at times and gave up some plays, Averett played well for most of the year.

He led the team in interceptions, finished third in pass deflections, and allowed only 55.4 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed. Even though he has provided quality depth and stepped up for the Ravens for stretches during his four years in Baltimore, Averett might have done just enough to price himself out of a reasonable re-signing range. He might want to be a full-time starter for the long haul not just on a stop-gap basis.

Tavon Young

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2021 stats: 17 games, 7 starts, 35 total tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, three quarterback hits, one interception, and three pass deflections.

For just the second time in his career and the first since his rookie season in 2016, the six-year veteran played a full season. It marked the first year that he didn’t spend time on injured reserve since his breakout 2018 season. After a rocky start to the season, Young knocked off the rust and was resembling his old self down the stretch.

He is still one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league when healthy and one of the most respected players in the Ravens’ locker room. His name has been floated around as a potential salary-cap casualty unless he is extended or takes a pay cut but I doubt that the team will want to commit the often-injured nickelback beyond 2022 if he does return.

Jimmy Smith

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2021 stats: 10 games, 2 starts, 18 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and three pass deflections.

In what was likely his last year with the team and in the league altogether, the 11-year veteran defensive back provided decent depth at corner when he was active and even played some safety early on in the year. Smith made it clear at the end of the season that if he does choose to continue his playing career that it would only be in Baltimore. However, as the team looks to get younger on defense, his return would likely take an injury in training camp or during the season to happen.

Chris Westry

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2021 stats: 6 games, 2 starts, 17 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and three pass deflections.

The third-year pro has all the physical tools and athleticism to excel on the perimeter and gained some invaluable experience in 2021. While Westry gave up more plays than he made in the most extensive action of his career to date, he also flashed the potential to develop into a quality depth piece with more refinement and experience. His presence won’t deter the team from adding more high-end talent to the position this offseason via the draft or free agency, but he did show that the cupboard behind their starters isn’t bare by any means.

Kevon Seymour

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2021 stats: 9 games, 2 starts, 25 total tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, one quarterback hit, and one pass deflection.

Of the reserve cornerbacks that the Ravens recycled through and signed off the scrap heap during the second half of the season, the six-year veteran showed the most promise and looked the most competent in coverage. Even though he was re-signed almost immediately after the season ended, Seymour will likely be a long shot to make the final 53-man roster come early September.