BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Coming off a very un-Ravens-like season where the defense surrendered a league-worst 4,742 yards through the air, head coach John Harbaugh is feeling good about his secondary.
And he has plenty of reasons to be. Starting cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are both expected back in 2022 after serious injuries — Humphrey’s a torn pectoral that cost him the final five game, and Peters’ a torn ACL that sidelined him the whole year.READ MORE: Star Spangled Celebration: Fourth Of July Fireworks Light Up Baltimore's Skyline Once Again
And executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta used the he 14th overall pick in the NFL Draft on the versatile safety Kyle Hamilton out of Notre Dame. He followed that up with the selections of Alabama cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis and Houston cornerback Damarion Williams in the fourth round.
“I feel really good about that group back there, I mean really good about the secondary personnel-wise,” Harbaugh said at voluntary OTAs.
He suggested the Fuller signing completes the team’s overhaul of the defensive backfield.
“He’s a proven corner, knows how to play the game, fits what we’re trying to do in the secondary right now really well,” Harbaugh said. “I think his veteran presence is going to add a lot to our defense.”
But hedged to allow for the possibility of future acquisitions: “Never say never, right?”
Two other players in the backfield should provide the Ravens some options, veteran safety Chuck Clark and second-year hybrid defender Brandon Stephens.
Even with such a crowded depth chart, Harbaugh figures there will be plenty of playing time to go around, nodding to crush of injuries last season.READ MORE: Bacteria Levels Prompt Recreational Water Advisory At Cox's Point Park
“Oh yeah, there will be plenty of snaps for these guys,” he said. “We found that out last year.”
Stephens can play just about anywhere — inside, outside, back in coverage. Harbaugh labeled him a “corner-safety” rather than the other way around.
“We’re not so much trying him all over, we’re playing him all over because he can. He’s very versatile,” he said.
Although the signing of Marcus Williams and selection of Hamilton seemingly make Clark an odd man out on paper — and the subject of trade rumors — the 27-year-old participated in the voluntary spring workouts.
“He picked up right where he left off and was Chuck Clark, and running the defense,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not surprising at all.”
So, too, did Humphrey, eliciting a smile from his head coach.
“Yeah, it’s a big deal,” Harbaugh said. “I could sit here and try to play it cool on that, but it wouldn’t be real.”
Humphrey, entering his sixth season, quipped he was in attendance because the team pays him “a decent amount of money.”
He went on to say, in all seriousness, that showing up for the workouts helps build chemistry with his teammates and the coaching staff. And he’s excited about the team’s newfound depth in the secondary after seeing how new coordinator Mike Macdonald’s defense at work.MORE NEWS: Mother Of Abandoned Newborn Receives 18-Month Sentence
“We want to have it to where any DB can play any position at anytime,” Humphrey said, adding he’s been getting reps in the slot and at safety and that Clark has lined up at corner. “I think that flexibility is going to make us be able to do a lot of good things in the secondary.”