DeShon Elliott has a definite swagger. Nicknamed "The Joker," he talks a big game and is eager to back it up in NFL games.
Asked if he's always had such confidence in himself, Elliott said, "Always."
"I got it from my dad," Elliott said. "He said, 'Shoot, if you believe in yourself, show it.' So that's what I do."
Earl Thomas III and Tony Jefferson will give the Ravens arguably the best safety duo in the NFL, but Elliott has stood out in the pack as well. Now he's just trying to find where he fits into the mix.
"I'm a dog, and I can play, so eventually, [when it's] my time to play, I'm going to be ready," Elliott said. "I respect those guys in front of me. I know they're ballers, too. Coach always says if you're a baller, he'll figure out a way to get you on the field, so hopefully we can do that."
The Ravens have a spot open with Tavon Young sidelined by a neck injury, and Elliott could factor into the rotation.
His best position seems to be as a rangy safety on the back end, but he's improved his speed and can play near or far from the line of scrimmage. Like veteran Anthony Levine Sr., Elliott shows a versatility that could prove quite valuable.
"Shoot, I try to be a playmaker, so wherever coach wants to put me, whether it's corner, safety, nickel, linebacker, shoot, rusher, wherever it is, I just want to get on the field, no matter where it is," Elliott said.
Elliott made five tackles in Philadelphia and provided a highlight-reel hit that drew a penalty. After seeing the replay, the official told him he got the call wrong. In practice, Elliott has made some of the most impressive interceptions of any player on the team.
Elliott was a big-time playmaker in college at Texas (six interceptions, three forced fumbles, two interceptions his junior year), which led him to declare early. He was shocked when he wasn't selected until the sixth round.
Elliott flashed last offseason as well until he broke his arm almost exactly one year ago (Aug. 25) in the team's fourth preseason game in Miami, ending his rookie season prematurely.
"I was hungry," Elliott said. "That hung with me a lot, getting hurt last year, so for me to go out and be healthy, be ready to work every day nonstop, even to this moment, feels great."
Elliott has also caught the attention of NFL Network film analyst Brian Baldinger, who called him the "future" of the Ravens defense.
"I kind of just pride myself on trying to be a great safety overall – not just a big hitter, but ball skills, come out of my break, everything. If big hitting comes along with it, then I'm with it," Elliott said.
"He sees what I know, and so, I'm just going to keep building on that. He's right. I'm going to prove him right."