It was just last year that the Baltimore Ravens made Tavon Young the highest-paid nickel cornerback in the NFL. He proceeded to suffer a neck injury that would sideline him for the entire season, the second year in his young career in which he would miss in its entirety due to injury, having also suffered a torn ACL in 2017.
A fourth-round pick out of Temple in 2016, Young got on the field quite a bit that season, in part due to injuries, but also in part because he was performing. He ended up starting 11 of 16 games, including many on the outside, despite being 5’9”, simply because they had no better options, picking off two passes with eight passes defensed.
By the time he got back on the field in 2018, the Ravens loaded up in the secondary and his role was reduced, but he still played in 15 games and started five, posting a well-rounded stat sheet with two sacks, five tackles for loss, an interception, and three fumble recoveries, two of which he returned for scores.
The Ravens like him, they like him a lot, and so they’re excited to get him back. So excited, in fact, that pass defense coordinator Chris Hewitt recently said that his return was “like having another first-round draft pick coming back inside of your room”.
Baltimore, of course, already has a number of first-round picks in the secondary, in Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Jimmy Smith. That group up until very recently also included Earl Thomas, whom the team recently released for what can basically be described as conduct detrimental to the team. But that’s in the rearview mirror, and they’re looking forward with the players they have.
“He looks to me like he picked up right where he left off before,”, said his head coach, John Harbaugh. “He’s really trained hard, and you can see that. He’s moving great. He’s a very good football player, and he’s playing very well. So, I can’t wait to see him play this year. I’m excited for his season. He’s a special kind of guy”.
Young is basically their Mike Hilton, and he’s a good one. Like Hilton, he has a well-rounded game, with the ability to play the run and to blitz as well, not just limited to covering shifty players out of the slot during passing downs.
“I’m excited to be back with my guys”, he said for himself. “Second time doing this, but every time I come back, it’s just a blessing. It’s just another day to step on the field; another day to just compete, have fun, do what I love the most”.