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News & Notes: Brandon Stephens Will Focus on Playing Safety 

DB Brandon Stephens

Brandon Stephens has played both cornerback and safety during his two-year career, and the Ravens have not settled on a starting cornerback opposite Marlon Humphrey. However, Head Coach John Harbaugh said Stephens would begin the offseason playing safety.

"We're going to start him off at safety and work as a safety-corner combination," Harbaugh said. "The versatility again, we love it. He's going to focus more on safety; he's gotten a lot of reps at corner so far. One of his superpowers is going to be he can play all five (secondary) spots."

Kyle Hamilton was used in a variety of ways as a rookie, but he could play more of a traditional safety role in 2023, after Chuck Clark's trade to the Jets. Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald likes to take advantage of positional versatility, and the Ravens will keep exploring different ways to use Hamilton and Stephens.

"The versatility again, we love it," Harbaugh said. "Those guys become interchangeable if they're playing the nickel spot, and we probably more than anybody played a three-safety-type grouping out there in our nickel package. I would think he (Stephens) could do the same type of thing."

Zay Flowers Has Positive First Impression of Todd Monken's Offense

When the Ravens drafted rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers in the first round, it gave first-year Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken another dangerous weapon to deploy. Monken's offense has been described as playmaker friendly, a system that consistently provides opportunities for yards after the catch.

Flowers got his first taste of Monken's offense at rookie minicamp. 

"Oh, I love it," Flowers said. "It's kind of like some of the stuff I ran at B.C. [Boston College]. I love it. I think it fits my style perfectly.

"Running, getting open, being able to create space, deep balls, short, intermediate – do it all." 

Flowers is eager to show he's a receiver who can threaten opposing defenses whether he lines up outside, or in the slot. 

"I feel like I'm a complete receiver. I can do it all," Flowers said. "You name it, I'll be able to do it. 

"I honestly don't have a preference, because I feel like I can run every route on the outside, and I can run every route on the inside."

Acquiring Rock Ya-Sin Doesn't Rule Out Signing Another Cornerback

Signing Rock Ya-Sin earlier this week added depth to Baltimore's cornerback rotation, but Harbaugh would not rule out the Ravens adding another veteran corner.

Marcus Peters, who has been a starting cornerback with the Ravens since 2019, remains a free agent as does Kyle Fuller, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 last year.

"I don't think you ever really close the door on any personnel move," Harbaugh said. "Whoever it might be. You'll probably ask me about Marcus. You don't close the door on good players. We'll see how it goes."

The Ravens drafted Kyu Blu Kelly in the fifth round, and he will join Jalyn Armour-Davis and Pepe Williams as young cornerbacks vying for playing time. However, the Ravens have always valued depth at the position and Ya-Sin is a versatile cornerback who has started 38 NFL games in four years playing in different systems.

"He's a young, veteran corner," Harbaugh said. "We've always appreciated the way he plays. He's a very diligent player. He can run. He's a good tackler. He's a tough, good man and zone player both. We were impressed when we talked to him and happy to get it done."

Flowers Testing Waters as Punt Returner

Flowers is expected to be one of Lamar Jackson's primary targets as a rookie, but the shifty wide receiver could also help Baltimore on special teams. Flowers returned seven punts for Boston College in 2022 and averaged 6.1 yards per return. Fielding punts would give the speedy Flowers another way to use his speed and elusiveness.

"He caught punts yesterday, looked really good doing it," Harbaugh said. "Absolutely, we'll take a look at that."

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