Tavon Young Is 'Ready to Go' And That's a Big Deal

CB Tavon Young

The Ravens secondary was already arguably the most talented in the NFL, and it's going to get even stronger in 2020 with the return of Tavon Young.

Young has flown under the radar this offseason, but his comeback from neck surgery that knocked him out for the entire 2019 season is a big deal for the Ravens defense.

"He looks healthy on the computer," Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said last week. "He says he's healthy. He's ready to go. Tavon is ready to go, and if he tells me he's ready to go, I believe in him 100 percent. And he'll be ready to go, so I'm excited about that."

Last offseason, the Ravens signed Young to a three-year contract extension worth an average of about $8 million, making him the highest-paid slot corner in the NFL at the time.

Young was coming off a very strong 2018 season in which he made 36 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks and returned two fumbles for touchdowns. He earned the nickname, "The Scoop-and-Score King."

It was clear how much Young meant to the Ravens defense by comments made in the press conference after he signed his deal.

"If you have a versatile player that can play in there, can cover receivers, but is also willing to blitz, also willing to go in there and make tackles against the run like this guy is, it's a big plus for you," Harbaugh said last February. "We want to run a diverse defense. We want to bring guys, we want to cover guys, we want to change things up. You need versatile players that can do a lot, and that's Tavon."

Unfortunately, the injury bug bit Young again (he also missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL). Young had a disc issue in his neck that was worse than originally thought. There was a chance that they could wait and let it heal for a return later in the season, but instead opted for surgery.

The Ravens were still very multiple on defense but couldn't be quite so versatile in their secondary. After trying out some other slot options, Marlon Humphrey became the Ravens' primary corner inside. A physical corner with great awareness, Humphrey excelled in the role (he made his first Pro Bowl), but it's not his strongest suit.

Thus, the return of Young not only gives the Ravens one of the best natural slot corners back, but it also allows Humphrey and Baltimore's other cornerbacks to return to their best spots. Martindale will still mix things up, but Young is a Swiss-Army knife that shouldn't be overlooked.

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