Along with two new defensive playmakers in safety Kyle Hamilton and cornerback Demarion Williams, the Ravens’ 2022 draft class supplied Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald with two highly versatile defensive backs who will add to the growing state of “position-less” football in the modern era. According to Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz, this is becoming key on defense.
“I think, again, versatility is key, especially on defense – on offense, too – because there are so many different packages that offenses bring out. You’ve got your two wideouts and two tight ends, you have two backs, but then you start getting the four-wides and three tight ends,” Hortiz said on Wednesday. “You’ve got to have versatility, and you have to be able to adjust, and you really don’t want to be subbing and matching every single time. If you’re doing that, heck, you’re playing another game between running on and off the field. So, having position versatility on defense is key, and it’s critical, and I think it could potentially lead to more success. So, defense is definitely a matchup game, and if you have guys that can fill different roles depending on what offensive formation is in there, I think that helps.”
Williams and Hamilton join a defense already boasting said versatility, with cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who is adept in both outside and nickel cornerback snaps, along with sophomore cornerback Brandon Stephens, who was utilized as a safety throughout the 2021 season.
According to Hortiz, the strengths of Hamilton excel past the defensive back role and could even shift him into a linebacker role.
“Different type of versatility, but Kyle [Hamilton] is the type of guy you can literally throw at WILL ‘backer, because of his size and his length and his range and his strength to take on players. But then you can also have him cover slots. You’ll see it on film – he can cover a slot receiver, and he can cover a tight end.”
Now, with four defensive backs who can be used to defend against various offensive personnel, the Ravens are hoping to propel from their last-ranked passing defense of 2021.
“So, I think it just allows you to do so many different things and be creative,” Hortiz said. “You can put three safeties on the field but play one of them as a nickel, and you’re in your nickel defense. You can put four safeties on the field and be in a dime defense and have confidence that two of them can cover.”