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10 Questions: How Will the Secondary Come Together?

CB Pepe Williams
CB Pepe Williams

The Ravens have one of the most talented safety duos in the league and an elite cornerback in Marlon Humphrey.

However, it remains to be seen how all the pieces will fit together during training camp.

"We'll be looking in the secondary; we'll be looking to kind of firm up our different roles back there – corner, inside and outside," Head Coach John Harbaugh said during minicamp. "That will be something that will be important."

Here's where things stand now:

The No. 3/slot cornerback has yet to emerge.

The Ravens know their starting cornerbacks in Humphrey, who is coming off a Pro Bowl year, and Rock Ya-Sin, who the Ravens signed this offseason and has looked good in summer practices so far. The identity of the No. 3 cornerback and who will play in the slot, however, is unknown.

Jalyn Armour-Davis is a talented fourth-round pick from last year, but he played sparingly in just four games last season and has been sidelined almost all summer. Pepe Williams is more suited for slot duty and saw more action (14 games) as a rookie, but he's also been sidelined during OTAs and minicamp. The Ravens have several veterans, including Trayvon Mullen, Kevon Seymour and Daryl Worley, but could add another in free agency before the season starts, especially if nobody clearly grabs the No. 3 cornerback spot that is critical in any NFL defense.

The Ravens have two premier starting safeties.

Baltimore inked Marcus Williams to a hefty contract last offseason and he got off to a blistering start with three interceptions in his first two games before a fractured wrist sent him to the shelf. Had it not been for that, Williams may have been a first-time Pro Bowler.

Kyle Hamilton was the highest-graded safety in the entire league, according to Pro Football Focus, though he doesn't put much stock into that considering he played mostly as a big slot corner. With Chuck Clark now in New York, Hamilton will step into a starting job and further show why the Ravens made him the 14th-overall pick in 2022.

Hamilton and other safeties could have hybrid role.

While Hamilton will step into a different role in 2023, he still could see some similar assignments to what he had last year. Hamilton and the Ravens like his versatility. If they need or want him to go down to the line of scrimmage to match up against a big tight end or receiver in the slot, defend the run, or blitz the passer, they'll do it. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens marry what Hamilton was so good at last year with the more traditional back-end safety role he'll step into this season. Hamilton was a rangy ball hawk in college, so he's capable of doing a lot.

The Ravens also have a couple other versatile defensive backs in Brandon Stephens and Ar'Darius Washington who could see hybrid action. Stephens was a solid starting cornerback late last year, replacing the injured Peters, but is now getting most of his practice snaps at safety. Washington is listed as a safety but played most of his offseason reps as a slot corner. If the Ravens lean on three-safety formations a lot like last year, would Stephens or Geno Stone be the third safety inserted?

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