There are certain players who just seem to be magnets for the football.
Ravens rookie cornerback Tavon Young is looking like that kind of player, which has made the defense's smallest player emerge in the NFL's No. 1-ranked unit.
In the last three games, Young has recorded a blocked field goal recovery that he returned more than 60 yards for two points in Cleveland, a critical fourth-quarter interception in Jacksonville and a fumble recovery against the Raiders.
Three games, three times with the football in his hands. That's not bad for any defensive player, let alone a fourth-round pick out of Temple.
"As a defensive back, that's the way you have to be," Young said. "You've got to be a guy that wants to take the ball back."
The Ravens signed veteran cornerback Jerraud Powers to be their primary nickel cornerback this season, but the strong start from Young combined with Powers' ankle injury that knocked him out of the first three weeks has made it a split role.
Sunday against the Raiders, Young played 20 of the 63 defensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Powers also played 20 snaps. Powers allowed two catches for 13 yard while Young surrendered two for 21.
"I thought they both played well. Jerraud played solid; he did OK. We will see where it goes," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "They were in different personnel groups that we had. We are trying to play as many defensive players that we can."
In 48 college games, Young knocked away 21 passes, made seven interceptions, forced two fumbles and scooped up three fumble recoveries. As a junior, he had four interceptions for a conference-leading 157 return yards, including a 93-yard touchdown.
"My senior year, I didn't have any interceptions, but I always had my hand on the ball," Young said. "Now I'm back to getting the ball.
Young gained a lot of experience over the summer in Organized Team Activities, minicamp and training camp. Powers' injury gave him even more hands-on training.
On the season, the 5-foot-9, 177-pound prospect hailing from Oxon Hills, Md., has given up just four passes for 29 yards. He's only been targeted four times, however.
Young gave credit for his interception to defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who tipped the pass. The fumble he pounced on was ripped out by defensive end Lawrence Guy. Young says the fast start has been great, but he knows there is a long way to go.
"All the fun is over. All the stuff about being proud to be in the NFL is over," Young said. "Now I'm here and it's time to go get it. It's a business, and I need to become the best player I can."