Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tavon Young has had a snakebitten career. there is no doubt about that. Drafted in the fourth round in 2016, he has only played in 33 career games since then, missing the entirety of the 2017 and 2019 seasons due to injury. He only played in two games last season after tearing his ACL.
Defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale, though, is optimistic about his future. While he acknowledged that the defensive back is not cleared to go full-speed yet, he did say that he should be ready by training camp, and hopefully sooner, adding that “he looks great”, via the Baltimore Sun.
Young earned a starting job as a rookie in 2016, ultimately starting 11 of 16 games, before getting the opportunity to settle into the slot role, in which he is more comfortable. But he suffered a torn ACL in the summer of 2017, causing him to miss all of his second season. He would play 15 games the following year, recording an interception, three recovered fumbles (two returned for touchdowns), and two sacks, with 37 tackles, the following year.
He then missed all of the 2019 season due to a neck injury, which at the time it was wondered whether it might be career-threatening. But he ultimately persevered and was able to work his way back to the field — only to suffer yet another torn ACL on the third snap of the second game of the 2020 season.
“He’s going through some of the toughest things you can do as an athlete with the freak injuries that he’s had the last two years”, the defensive coordinator said of Young. “There’s nothing worse for a player to sit there and rehab an injury and not play the game that he worked so hard for to play, and I just think he’s one of the toughest players on the team”.
Even though he has played just 18 games over the course of the past four years, Young has remained an integral part of the Ravens’ locker room, a player who is beloved by everyone within the organization. They have stood by him throughout his many ordeals, and have always spoken of the slot position as his.
“He’s our nickel. He’s quick”, Martindale said. “He’s a playmaker for us. And I can’t wait to get him back on the field. And just like I told him… you control the narrative. Nobody else does. So you get your mind right and say, ‘this is what I’m going to do this year’; that’s what you’re going to do. And he’s worked way too hard not to have any success. I’m just telling you that now, so I can’t wait for him to come back, and we’re definitely expecting him to come back sooner than later”.
The Ravens, though, do not have a pressing need a cornerback. They have Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters in the starting lineup as a pair of All-Pros, with veteran Jimmy Smith capable of backing up and also playing inside. They added Shaun Wade out of Ohio State in the 2021 NFL Draft.