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Ravens 'Feel Great' About Ar'Darius Washington's Ability to Step in at Safety

S Ar'Darius Washington
S Ar'Darius Washington

When news that Geno Stone signed with the Cincinnati Bengals reached Ar'Darius Washington, it was bittersweet.

On one hand, Stone is a friend now gone. On top of that, he went to a rival. On the other, it meant Washington was in line for a promotion.

The Ravens have a competition for the No. 3 safety spot – a highly-used position in Baltimore's defense – following Stone's free agency departure, but the clear leader is Washington.

"Ar'Darius has looked really good. I feel great about him," Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the end of minicamp.

"He's already established himself. He's played in the games – every game he's played in – he's played well. He's looked great in practice, and let's get him out there and get him in some more games. That's the goal."

Check out who stood out on the practice field during the Ravens' mandatory minicamp.

Washington was a major part of Baltimore's defense at the start of last season.

He played 78% of the defensive snaps in a Week 1 win against the Houston Texans. He played 95% of the snaps in a Week 2 win in Cincinnati. That was just seven fewer snaps than Geno Stone played those two weeks.

Stone went on to lead the AFC with seven interceptions. Washington went on injured reserve due to a chest injury suffered in that September game against the Bengals.

Through those first two games, Washington had tallied 11 tackles, one sack, two quarterback hits, and two passes defensed. He was the Ravens' fifth-highest graded defender against the Texans, according to Pro Football Focus.

But the chest injury derailed his hot start and was another punch in the gut. After making the Ravens' roster as an undrafted rookie in 2021, Washington suffered a season-ending foot injury in November. He spent his second season mostly on the practice squad.

"You kind of question God at times. You're like why now? I'm out there performing at a high level and doing what I'm supposed to do," Washington said. "But maybe He had better plans for me. That's how I looked at it. I'm doing the extra things to stay healthy."

Like Stone, Washington has a knack for being around the ball, which he showed during Organized Team Activities and minicamp. Washington is also versatile. He said he's mostly focused on learning first-year Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr's defense – both at safety and nickel.

In games where Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams both started last season, Stone played 68% of the defensive snaps. Washington may not play that many assuming both are healthy, but it will still be a significant role.

"It's a big opportunity to go out there and compete with the guys to find a spot. It's going out there doing what I'm supposed to do," Washington said. "Whatever opportunities I get, I'm going to enjoy it and be out there and have fun with the guys."

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