Last Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens clashed against the Detroit Lions, the Ravens lost their best cornerback Jimmy Smith to a torn Achilles which will end his season.
This will definitely hurt considering the Ravens are facing division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers in a bout which could decide the Raven’s playoff status.
But it can also be thought of as an upbringing of possible young stars or even no-name guys who could emerge to show their true skill.
So, without further ado, here is a look at five players to step up their game and fill Jimmy Smith’s spot.
5. DB Chuck Clark
The former Virginia Tech Hokie saw an increased snap count last week. Clark took his increased role and showcased his skill while even getting some love from John Harbaugh.
THE REAL #DBU 🔥
John Harbaugh has been impressed with @ibring_DBoom 💥
Keep up the good work, Chuck Clark!
— VT Football (@VT_Football) December 5, 2017
There is no doubt that Dean Pees picked up on what Clark did, and with Jimmy Smith out this is one of the best times to let the 22-year-old Chuck Clark impress the coaching staff and the fans.
Despite being a safety Clark should find a way to turn the loss of Jimmy Smith into an increased role for himself.
When tuning in this Sunday make sure to look for Number 36 and keep a close eye on him because his future could be bright with the Ravens.
4. CB Jaylen Hill
Jaylen Hill was an undrafted player the Ravens picked up in May. After playing in some preseason games Hill got admiration from players, fans, and the coaching staff, after having phenomenal numbers in those games.
But after suffering a hamstring injury which forced him to miss the final preseason game and the first four games of the regular season, it seems Hill has been buried in the Ravens depth chart.
The undrafted signing has only seen 16 snaps this entire season. But, this is the game where all of that will change. Hill is listed as one of the starting four corners and will undoubtedly see work against the Steelers offense.
This game will also prove if Hill’s impressive preseason was just a fluke, or if he may have been the needle in the haystack. This should be fun to see how Hill plays and if he is a future option in the Ravens secondary.
3. CB Brandon Carr
This is an obvious one. But, for a player who has been already playing great as the second cornerback a promotion to the “top dog” could drive his numbers up even more.
He will not have an easy matchup, to say the least as he will mainly have to take on one of the NFL’s best wide receivers in Antonio Brown. But it can be debated that Carr who is having the best year of his career and having the 12th most interceptions in the entire NFL.
This will be a big test for Carr, who as it stands now is the Ravens top cornerback for the rest of this year and a portion of next year because of the length of Jimmy Smith’s Achilles injury.
2. CB Marlon Humphrey
A big headline coming into this showdown is of how the Ravens first round pick this year will react to the high-pressure game this Sunday. Considering he is facing one of the best offenses in the NFL, while also not being able to lean on the presence of Jimmy Smith.
Humphrey acknowledged the fact that the Steelers will try to target him saying this Per Ravens.com “I’m sure if there’s a weak link they have to pick out, it would definitely be me,” “Ben likes to throw it up, he’s a great quarterback, so I’m sure if he has to take those shots, it will probably be at me.”
Humphrey hasn’t seen to much time on the field due to the great performance by other players on defense and bringing Humphrey along “slow and steady”.
Will the rookie’s expectations help him prepare to play the Steelers or will he crumble under the pressure of being in the spotlight?
1. Maurice Canady
Before the of the season the player I thought was going to have the biggest breakout season for the Ravens was going to be Canady. The former sixth-rounder who was forced on to the IR last year with a hamstring injury and this year with a knee injury was activated in early November.
Since being activated, Canady has made an instant impact on special teams making big plays and laying down big hits. But, the biggest thing was last week despite only playing 36 snaps or a little over half while still being able to muster out five tackles.
The shelf life of a sixth rounder who hasn’t played relatively well isn’t long. That is why Canady must know this is a big game for him and to play his heart out.
Without a doubt, Canady will see an increased role and will have the best game for the Ravens secondary stepping up in a big way on the grand stage of Sunday Night Football.