Averett Seizes His Opportunity Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk Averett Seizes His Opportunity

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“I think he has All-Pro talent.”

That’s what Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale said of one of his players just before the season started. Was it about Marlon Humphrey, already an All-Pro? Nope. How about either Marcus Peters, Chuck Clark or Tyus Bowser, veterans who’ve all recently signed extensions? Not them either. Maybe young up-and-comer Justin Madubuike or talented rookie Odafe Oweh? Nope.

It was fourth-year cornerback Anthony Averett that Wink referred to.

In the absence of Peters, lost just days before the season-opener, Averett has filled the void left and emerged into not just one of the team’s, but one of the league’s, best cornerbacks.

Only two cornerbacks (Jalen Ramsey, Eli Apple) have been thrown at more than Averett while allowing fewer yards per target. Entering Week 5, here are Averett’s ranks among cornerbacks with at least 25 targets:

SIS glossary for total points saved description: https://www.sisdatahub.com/glossary

After a look at the film, we can see both Averett’s true talent and how much he means to the defense as a whole.

Starting with the most recent game in Denver, Averett showed great ball skills, awareness of his coverage assignment and where pass catchers are and how he can stick to a receiver like glue.

This first play was one of my favorites of his this past week, and it’s one of his three pass breakups this season. You can tell off the bat the Ravens are in a zone look since every member of the secondary’s eyes are on Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Denver runs a route concept that would typically beat this coverage, but Averett quickly realizes this and makes an adjustment.

Running down the field, he lowers his hips and comes to a stop when he sees tight end Noah Fant is about to be open. The processing speed it takes for Averett to stop, turn and get in position to make a play on the ball is elite. The only thing left to do is make the play, which he does against a man with a five-inch, 70-pound size advantage over him.

The next play came in coverage of Broncos wideout Tim Patrick. Patrick averaged 58 yards per game over his first three games and finished this one with just 39, with none of those coming with Averett in coverage. Averett did struggle a bit with Courtland Sutton later on in this game, but shut down Patrick and Kendall Hinton well.

Averett is all over Patrick on this one and was unphased by his head fake. Watching Bridgewater’s eyes, it seems like Patrick was the third read in his progression. Neither of the first two were open, so after he sees his receiver blanketed by Averett he took his eyes down to leave the pocket but was quickly swallowed up by Tyus Bowser.

The Ravens were able to get home with just three rushers on this play, in large part due to Averett and the secondary eliminating all of Bridgewater’s options.

The next and final notable play from the Broncos game is his game-sealing end zone interception.

Nothing to analyze or break down here. just wanted to again show off Averett’s ball skills. He does a good job of getting good positioning on Sutton, times his jump perfectly to high-point the ball and come down with it. How did this guy have no career interceptions before this season?

Another area of value Averett brings to a Juice Man-less Ravens secondary is allowing some other cornerbacks to rest, specifically the often injured Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith. It was assumed the two would have an increased role without Peters, but it’s been the opposite thanks to Averett. This will be key in keeping the two healthy moving forward.

Cornerback snap counts

Week 1: Averett 85 (99%), Young 24 (28%)

Week 2: Averett 51 (100%), Young 40 (78%)

Week 3: Averett 60 (95%), Young 35 (56%), Smith 19 (30%)

Week 4: Averett 59 (97%), Young 29 (38%), Smith 24 (49%)

Getting back to more film and jumping back a week to the win in Detroit, Averett made his presence known — and felt — early.

Playing in a soft coverage, he plants his back foot and launches forward as soon as he sees Lions quarterback Jared Goff load to throw. He gets there just in time to make a big hit and force an incompletion.

Another nice play from Week 3. Averett stays step for step down the sideline with Kalif Raymond, who he was manned up with frequently in this one. A 4.34 runner, Raymond is unable to get over the top of Averett. He leaves Raymond no room to make a play on the ball and lets it drop for an incompletion.

Unfortunately we don’t have the All-22 film from the first two weeks of the season, but there’s an Averett play from Week 2 that’s too good not to include. I think you know which one I’m referring to.

An absolute lockdown of one of the best wide receivers the NFL has to offer. Late in a close game, Averett sticks right by Tyreek Hill’s side. Running with him step for step, he’s in perfect position to bat the pass away and force a Kansas City punt.

“I definitely think I’ve made a name for myself,” Averett said to reporters Friday. “I’m just going to keep stacking, keep working, and keep getting better with it honestly. That’s it.”

After getting his biggest opportunity as a pro in a contract year, the 26-year-old former fourth-round pick has finally put it all together. He’s proven to be an excellent number two corner and is invaluable to the Ravens secondary in more ways than one. We’ve seen multiple mid-season long term extensions recently, and Averett could be next in line.

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About Taylor Lyons

Taylor is a lifelong Baltimore Ravens fan born and raised in Maryland. He is currently a sophomore at the University of Maryland studying journalism More from Taylor Lyons

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